The holiday season is upon us, and it has the wonderful effect of making most of us more emotional as the events, the family members and friends we engage with remind us of our joyful traditions. We are taught from a very young age that holiday times are happy ones. The television conveys to us that miracles happen, relationships blossom and families are loving and get along.
Tables are set at Thanksgiving with a celebratory feast, and at least on the holiday itself, everything is supposed to be “right” in the world. It’s a lovely and picturesque view, that most people only have moments of in reality.
So, if you are lucky enough to have one of those moments, be thankful. If you have ever had one of those moments, be thankful. If you’ve never had one of those moments, be thankful anyways – the opportunity still exists.
But, for such a happy time of year, it is amazing how many people are depressed!
Often holidays remind us of goals or expectations that have not been met in our lives and the season takes on a judgemental element as a marker of time. So this time of gratitude for some, becomes a reminder of our imperfection in this world – goals unmet, challenges failed, relationships lost…
Most of us get so wrapped up in who and what we should be, that we forget about being grateful for who we are and the life we have. We can get so caught up in wanting, that all that “want” consumes us, and everything else fades into the background – making us feel that we have less, or are less than the people who surround us. The holiday season is labeled as a giving time, and that naturally kicks the “want gene” into overdrive. When we spend our time focusing on all the things we don’t have, there often isn’t enough energy left to recognize all the things we do have.
Break the cycle
It’s a vicious cycle, but there is a rather simple solution. This holiday season, be thankful for the life that you have. It may not be perfect, but it’s yours. Allow yourself a moment of quiet to just take in who you are at this moment in time, and let your mind revisit the journey that brought you here. Every action, every interaction – all of it has shaped you, formed you and brought you to now. Some memories are pleasant – that you may long to relive. Other memories will be painful, but embrace them anyway. Pain is the greatest teacher any of us will ever know. Be thankful for the lessons you’ve learned in your past and choose to remind yourself that you must first know heartache before you can experience joy.
Think about your life as if it were an unfinished picture on a computer screen – or a canvas. Every pixel (stroke) that makes up the image is an experience you have already had. Out of the millions of pieces that are there, if you try, you will find that there is plenty to be grateful for. And because the picture isn’t complete, you have the opportunity to reflect on a more perfect future.
Perhaps this year, instead of taking on a list of New Year’s reolutions, swap out your to-do list for the simple act of daily Thanksgiving. Take a moment each day to recognize that the ups and downs of life aren’t what hold you back – they are what propel you forward. Appreciate the life you have lived and the years you have to look forward too, and you may find that the lessons of this Thanksgiving will bring you closer to the life you wish to achieve throughout the year.
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