Our mindsets totally dictate to us how we think, how we act and most importantly how we react to every situation and circumstance in our life. Those mindsets are formed through a compilation of thoughts and experiences we've accumulated throughout our existence since birth. We can tell ourselves to exhaustion that they are of our own making and choosing, but that's just one of the dozens of lies we tell ourselves everyday. We have this obsession to try and understand the world around us, but our efforts are in vain. No matter how much we think we know - there's a large vastness of the things we don't know or understand.
In the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday I've been thinking about those people who've been lucky enough to be "Thanksgiving-minded". I'm not talking about being mindful of the holiday. Most of us don't even give a second thought to the yearly event until the day after Halloween. Much like I try not to even delay the concept of Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving (though that gets harder and harder to do when commercials, stores and businesses all around me start advertising, celebrating and reminding us earlier and earlier each year.)
Being Thanksgiving-minded is having a mindset and a spirit of being 'thankful' everyday. Having grown up in a large family that never said the words "thank-you", either as a polite courtesy or attitude of gratitude, to one another or anyone else. It took me a few years on my own as an adult to formulate the habit. The words felt strange on my lips and often came as a gesture long after an appropriate action that granted its favor thereby never reaching it's intended target. I've had many people comment to me in my past how 'ungrateful' they thought I was because I never said the words.
I can understand their sentiment, though I disagree. I've always been a very thankful and grateful person. I'm a giver, a helper, and have sacrificed my own wants and needs for others on countless occasions. I just didn't know how to express myself through two simple words. I don't say words just to say words. I only say what I truly mean. Often times it gets me into trouble because I'm not perfect and my speech reveals that imperfection. I show my gratitude by my actions and my deeds.
I'm learning to say thank-you more often. I say it when someone does something for me out of the goodness of their heart, or just out politeness. I say it even when I'm the one who offers help. I say it when someone has wronged me or set themselves to discredit or injure me - often reflecting blame of an indiscretion to preserve the peace over non-sensible issues. I don't accept responsibility for things I'm not guilty, but when feelings are involved - I choose to keep the peace and apologize despite my innocence or guilt. I say thank-you when a door is open for me or when I open one for someone else. I say thank you for a word of encouragement or of rebuke. Both are equally important and beneficial. I say thank you to strangers, friends and family. I say thank you to the cashier at the grocer store even though they're just doing their job. I say thank you to the drive-through employee as they take my money and hand me my food. I say thank you to the clerk at the tax office as I hand over my payment. I say thank you to the parking attendant as I pay my fees. I say thank you to the waiter who fills my drink. I say thank you the husband who holds the umbrella over my head. I say thank you to the daughter to who puts away the dishes. I say thank you to the son who stopped by the store and grabbed a last minute item on his way home. I say thank you to the writers club member who pointed out an error in my latest chapter. I say thank you to the mother-in-law for their 10th reminder of upcoming holiday plans. I say thank you to my God for all He has done for me.
I don't say thank you to receive one in kind, yet I hope that I can inspire the practice. I've noticed that this world is getting more and more 'un-thankful' and turning to a more "entitled-mindset". I find that sad. That makes me even more thankful that I'm not a part of it.
Don't just let Thanksgiving be the only time you give thanks. Let it be a time to celebrate that you're able to give thanks at all times.
Till next time,