Norton: The spirit of Thanksgiving (column)
With the Thanksgiving holiday only a couple of weeks away, it is probably time to start thinking about all of the people in our lives who we are so grateful for and who we appreciate so very much. And maybe we should start thinking about all of the other areas of our lives where we can show gratitude as well. After all, it is that time of the, year isn’t it?
And we know that the question will be coming, someone will ask us what we are thankful for, so why not think about it right now and be prepared as much as possible?
Now some of us will say that we don’t need any extra time to prepare as we already know who and what we are so thankful for. Our attitude of gratitude shows in all that we say and do and it shows all year round, too, not just at Thanksgiving. Awesome.
Others of us will realize that although we think we demonstrate our gratitude and appreciation, we probably still have a little more work to do in this area. And then there are those of us who will be asked the question, “What are you giving thanks for this year?” and the blank look on our faces and our mumbled reply will hopefully become muted in the call for anyone wanting more pumpkin pie.
Regardless of which group you may consider yourself a part of, or whether you fall somewhere in between, the reminder here is that it is never too early to celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving.
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As a matter of fact, we can probably all relate to witnessing ingratitude or seeing a lack of appreciation at some point in recent days or weeks. In last week’s column I talked about how trust was being eroded and the damage that it is causing in so many areas of our lives. And if trust is so very important to a healthy relationship, then having an attitude of gratitude is its close cousin.
Let’s think about this for a minute, we are already seeing and hearing advertisements for the upcoming Christmas season, aren’t we? They actually started a couple of weeks ago or more. So hopefully a gentle reminder to start to get our hearts and heads around the spirit of Thanksgiving a couple of weeks in advance is acceptable. Again, many of us live with the gratitude and appreciation all year and Thanksgiving is just one more day where we get to share our thankfulness with others. For some of us, it is even our favorite holiday.
Message from a Reader
Last year, one of our readers had initially taken a little exception with a column I had written about gratitude. He had recently lost his spouse, and he was also diagnosed with an illness. He shared with me that he chose not to send me the email he had written, but he kept it in his draft messages. After he read it a few times and made some edits and changes, he found himself changing the tone and meaning of his message completely.
You see, he initially was angry and upset and was going to send me a message that was not very nice. But as he read his own words and thought about it more and more, he started thinking about all of the people who stood by him during his wife’s illness. He thought about his family and friends that were taking care of him now and he thought about the incredible job he held for more than 30 years and how proud he was of his accomplishments and all the people that contributed to his success. His gratitude bucket was filling up.
The title of this column comes from his words in the email he sent to me. In the subject line were these words: “The Spirit of Thanksgiving.” He encouraged me to never stop beating the drum of gratitude and appreciation because “some of us get so focused on ourselves and our own problems, that we have forgotten all of the things we have been blessed with throughout our lives.”
So how about you? Are you someone who lives all year round with an attitude of gratitude, or could you use a little early reminder about what you are truly thankful for? Either way I really would love to hear your gratitude story at email@example.com, and when we can live with a “Spirit of Thanksgiving” it really will be a better-than-good life.
Michael Norton is the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.