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Focusing Tip #821 – To the part that resists being thankful… you’re welcome too

What if you don’t feel like being grateful on the day when everyone is supposed to feel grateful? Read on…


Dear Readers:

I love gratitude. When I nab a parking place right in front of the store I’m going to, I say “Thank you!”

Who am I thanking? I’m not sure… but being grateful feels good, and prevents me from falling into a “So now what’s going to go wrong?” kind of thinking.

I’ve got a pretty great life, so there’s lots of gratitude rolling around. At the same time, life is hard out there, and when I hear about the tough times so many people are facing, I’m swept with sadness and anger at the injustice of it all.

I’m lucky, privileged in so many ways. And when I think of all that, my feelings of gratitude fade into a sense of responsibility, and the wish to contribute, to give something back. So I do. I do what I can.

And now we come to Thanksgiving, the American holiday with deeply suspect roots that is supposed to be for giving thanks for all we have. It’s kind of nice to sit in a group and each say what we’re thankful for. I’ve got a long list!

But what are those growls and rolling eyes coming from the far end of the table? This person doesn’t want to be thankful on demand. That one resists having a feeling just because he should.

And you know what? I’m completely in sympathy. I don’t want to feel anything just because I have to. I’m not even sure I can feel things on command… which means that, told to be thankful when I’m not, I’m now inauthentic, faking it. And nobody wants to be around people who are faking it.

I’ve learned that I don’t enjoy what happens when I tell people what feelings to have, or blame them for not having the “correct” ones.

So rather than “Be thankful now,” I say, “Notice how thankful you are, or are not.” Or “Maybe you can be open to any thankful feelings you might have, and any other feelings that are there too.”

Even the part that resists being thankful is welcome at my table. And even that part has a good reason, and something to contribute. It’s the radical acceptance of everything. And I’m so thankful for that!

 


 

For a great read, check out this emotions on the holiday article by my friend Larry Letich: https://helenebrenner.com/lower-the-emotional-temperature-this-thanksgiving-in-six-steps/

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