It’s the time of the year where we remember what we are thankful for. While Thanksgiving itself is a controversial holiday, the idea of giving thanks is quite nice. So, in honor of this, I want to talk about gratitude toward yourself, others, and what we each have.
Personally, I have much to be thankful for. I have a roof over my head and live with great friends who love and appreciate me, and I feel the same about them. We laugh with each other constantly, and I feel fortunate that this past year has been spent with them.
To my family, I’m fortunate that I have the one that I do. They are my greatest supporters and have always worked tirelessly to give me the strength to follow my dreams.
Additionally, I’m thankful for myself. It may sound odd to say that, but I think it’s important to remind ourselves of how special we are. It’s true that we all have different lives and experiences, and maybe my aforementioned thankings don’t relate to you. So, if you can’t find fortune in externals, be grateful for yourself. Appreciate yourself.
This point in the year is a time of reflection, and with that can come both good and bad memories. Our minds naturally teeter toward the negative rather than the positive, so, please remind yourself of how fantastic you are. All of the good that you’ve created for yourself and for others is important to note.
While completing this exercise, also tell yourself that you are worth thanking. Tell yourself that you’re proud of who you are. If that’s hard, try and remember a moment when you were proud of yourself and embrace that memory.
It can be easy to stay focused on the times when we didn’t meet personal expectations, wish we acted differently, or said something differently. But, there is still so much good that you have done for yourself. There are many moments when you’ve treated yourself with care and acted lovingly.
As people, we constantly want to improve who we are. That’s a great deterministic trait, but sometimes it’s good to slow down and meditate on the moments that have made us smile and feel genuinely happy.
When’s the last time you felt contentment?
When’s the last time you told yourself, “I love you?”
When’s the last time you felt proud?
If anything in your life has caused you personal appreciation, remind yourself of how that felt and sit with it.
It can be difficult to think of happy moments, especially if the holidays are a hard time for you. So, if there are difficulties in your life, think about how well you are handling them. There is no rush to feel good. It’s not a competition. What you are doing is absolutely fine.
I may not know any of you, but I want to expel gratitude this year. I want people to know that there are things worth smiling about, and you are one of them. It’s been an incredibly difficult year in so many ways: constant bombardments on the news and social media and all around us. If you can, I hope you can take the time to reflect on all the wonderful aspects of yourself and what you have.
If you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I understand. But, maybe this day can be separated from the controversy and be about reflecting on what makes each of us thankful. I think that if we are to keep any tradition of Thanksgiving, it should be that one.
To everyone out there, I want to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving and I hope you get to share it with the ones you love.
About the Author
My name is Cole Swanson, I’m a young creative who loves to follow my passions and aims to make a mark on the world around me. Through my love of writing, I have paved myself a path that allows me to always tell stories. With each blog post, I desire to share a story in hopes that it allows others to find the courage to share their own.
I’ve been actively working on my own mental health for the past three years. During that period, I learned of the struggles of wanting to give up trying to improve myself, as well as of the joy I feel when I know I’m becoming healthier.
At NAMI, I act as a volunteer for their Ending the Silence program where I talk to students about the power of vulnerability, empathy, and self-advocacy, so they can find the power to redefine the stigma of mental health.
The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of NAMI Eastside. NAMI Eastside will not be held liable for false, inaccurate, inappropriate or incomplete information. The content should be used for general information purposes only.