When it’s Hard to be Thankful

Thanksgiving is over and it’s hard to get back to work after a long weekend! How do we keep up an attitude of thankfulness?

They say gratefulness is about being thankful for what you already have. Frankly, I’ve always struggled to understand what that means, let alone, be thankful. By nature, I am not spontaneous. I seldom live in the moment. My life is mostly chaotic. I mean, I’m one of those who drags myself out of bed every morning after I’ve hit SNOOZE several times. I don’t usually wake up early in the morning, watch the sunrise, and intentionally think of the things I currently have and be thankful for them. In fact, the first thing I usually do in the morning is rush through life’s routines. And I often feel behind.

But in the rare moments when I do purposefully stop everything that I’m doing and take in the present moment, I realize the value of doing so, and why it is important.

Life is like a burning candle. Eventually, it will burn out. But while the flame is burning, it does two things: it warms those around it. It also gives light around it. In your presence, whom do you give warmth to around you? Whose lives do you light up?

The world around us hardly encourages us to value the present. Packed in our little smartphones are the constant messages and updates about what others have that we don’t have. Look, your friends on Facebook just came home from yet another vacation! Oh, your cousin just graduated from University and landed this high-powered job with some global company. And your friend’s friend just got married and now they’re buying a fancy house in some fancy area.

You’re constantly reminded of what others have that you don’t have. It drives you to want what you don’t have. What you have is never quite good enough. So you keep reaching. And you think that if you just have this, or that, you’ll be happy and content. But the reality is, that next thing will never make you happy or content.

Just think about something you now have that you used to want: your current job, someone you’re currently seeing, a game you really wanted to have, your smartphone, your car, your house or apartment. When was the last time you were eyeing another job, another partner, another game, another smartphone, another house, another car? It’s just human nature. We weren’t built to want to stay in the present. We’re always reaching higher and higher, but we will never be satisfied even when we’ve reached that goal because at the end of it all, the candle burns out. So while we are in the present, the here and today, let’s appreciate what we are and have, and those around us, right here and right now.

Because “better” is not a destination, but an ongoing journey. So at this point in your journey, you might as well give thanks for the now and light up the lives around you before moving on.