During this holiday, festive season, many people are practicing gratitude because this is a time of thanksgiving. But, do we really have to wait until we reach a certain time of the year to be grateful. Also, when we reflect on the cruel origins of the holiday, Thanksgiving and its glorification of colonialism, slavery, and offensive to indigenous people, we might pause before using it as an excuse to express gratitude.
You see, we have endless opportunities to express gratitude multiple times every day of the week — 52 weeks out of the year. Do you find it difficult to think about the good things in your life and be grateful?
This was the case of Keza, she lost her fiancé in a car accident only a few months before their wedding. Soon after, she lost her teaching job at a well-respected private school. She was devasted. In the following months, she lost over 30 pounds and could barely get out of bed to feed and dress herself. Everyday, she focused on what she had lost, not what she currently had nor the opportunities in front of her. Eventually, Keza sought treatment to get the help she needed to move past the pain of losing her fiancé and disappointment of losing her job.
When you experience negative thoughts there is a tendency for you to focus your attention on these and let negative emotions such as anger, fear and anxiety take over your life. Keza, has not stopped loving her fiance, but now when she thinks of him, she remembers the good times with deep appreciation for the love they had and warm memories. She had many transferrable skills from her teaching career that she used to pursue a career in online gaming, a passion she never considered a viable option as a career because of family pressure to get a ‘traditional’ job.
Of course, sometimes negative emotions are helpful to us by protecting us from real danger but often they are irrational, or meant to keep us living in fear. The trick here is to not let them dominate you so that they become the driving force in your life and what you will experience.
In order to overcome this challenge, you will should try to put in some consistent effort to break negative patterns and introduce positive ones that will give you a new perspective on life. It is going to take time to do this. You wouldn’t expect to go on a diet for a day and lose all of the weight you want, and keep it off, would you?
We are talking about long term changes here. I am asking you to challenge yourself to commit to these changes so that you can develop a practice of gratitude, with regular practice you can make the changes in your life that you need and they will then form a new habit which you will then have on auto pilot.