Are you thankful?

[thangk-fuh l]  


feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.

I spend a fair amount of time contemplating life as well as the consequences of my actions.  A few years ago I realized that my thoughts had a very negative tone.  Most people wouldn’t have guessed this because of my innate ability to keep a relatively happy exterior, but the truth is; my own harsh personal criticisms (which I’m sure we are all guilty of) and the doubt and  guilt over bad decisions really didn’t add value to my life, in fact, it did the opposite.  All of this contemplation and internal reflection on my missteps fueled my personal insecurities, which led to an ego issue (I had to over compensate with an external “everything is great” appearance) and then this manifested itself into an ever-present level of internal frustration which I have affectionately pushed out on those closest to me; my family.

So why do I share all of this?  I share this with you because I’ve worked very hard for 2 years to realize that the internal punishment some people may put themselves through is worthless.  Yes, life can suck from time to time and yes, work might be a pain in the ass and yes, the kids may have a really busy schedule, but I realize that the more I focus on the negative, the more negative I experience.  My focus (as of late) has been to appreciate and accept what life might throw at me.  In short, I’m learning to be thankful again, which is something that is easy to forget with the pace most of our lives take.

I am thankful that I have been surrounded by friends and family who have helped me through some of these challenges in life.  I am thankful that I have been able to recognize that these “challenges” are actually pretty common and we can get through most of what life throws at us.  I am thankful that I have been able to work at shelving my ego (for the most part) and work on sharing some of my issues so that others might identify with these challenges and learn that they aren’t alone in what can feel like a real battle some days.

I’m thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to me (personally and professionally) and even though I might not always act appreciative, I am learning to recognize how special each of these opportunities has been.  For each “check” you could put in the thankful column there may be one that you could put in the “could have done without that column”, so do yourself a favor today and put those frustrating areas of life away.  Clear the negativity and reflect a bit on what it really means to be thankful.

Don’t forget to keep your reflection simple too.  Focus on the areas that we tend to take for granted.  The furnace that keeps your house warm, the roof over your head, the food at your table, the company of the friends and family you might see this weekend and the air you breathe.

I think we can all find something to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!