“Are you fond of lobster salad?” asked the hostess of the doctor. “No,” he replied, “I’m not fond of it but I’m grateful to it.”
With the approaching holiday for giving thanks it is a good idea to take a look at what we are thankful for. Pity that for many this only occurs when it is forced like on that holiday.
There are, of course, people who are thankful every day for something. Look at the news and you can see why many are grateful just to return home at night!
We all show or do not show appreciation in many ways and at various times.
One of the hardest and best is to accept and respect another’s right to behave differently than what you might like or prefer.
How many do that? Even in the best of relationships there are areas of disagreement and contention.
What is interesting is that if you begin to practice certain behaviors, over time, they can become automatic. For instance, if you start or end each day or week, or whatever with saying something positive and kind about the person, or persons you care about, it will become a habit. That behavior will trigger good feelings and positive reactions.
The opposite is also, unfortunately true. Keep picking on the negative aspects and that will also become habit. You choose!
Everyone contributes to the whole. It can be like bacon and eggs. They go together. The chicken contributes to be sure BUT the pig sacrifices!!
At that Thanksgiving table much goes on. The old patterns and feeling are there. They do not vanish. The bad ones resurface.
With alcohol often, the outcome is not pleasant.
Many times, there is a peace-maker who tries to keep things going along in a good way.
Sometimes this just buries the real feelings. Real feelings cannot be denied.
What you do about them however is the bottom line.
At my own such dinners I asked each family member to say what they were thankful for. Every year they did it until one year they rebelled. Most said the same old hackneyed remarks about family and so on.
Some even mentioned being lucky and thankful for being an American. Whatever. It just got to be anticipated and routine.
Then I decided to be a ‘counselor’ and be creative. I found nice cards that said, ’I am thankful for…’ and I gave everyone one to write something; anonymously. They did and then we guessed who had written what. Some were clever, funny, or sarcastic. Most were guessed correctly.
After that they all agreed NOT to have to say anything, so I alone made my little speech about what I was thankful for. Too bad; my house, my rules!
Being ‘family’ correct is a lot like being politically correct. You think you have to say the ‘right’ thing.
What we are thankful for does change with years. The twenty somethings see things very differently than the seventy somethings. Wisdom? Experience?
Another aspect of being grateful is that the recipient of the gratitude then comes to expect it and might feel awful if they do not continue to live up to that standard. That can be a burden.
If you are always thanking someone for something that can get to be a bit much. Also, what do you give back?
Are you the chicken or the pig?
Basically, we should all deliver what we want to. We should feel free to be ourselves.
If, however you are a ‘taker’ and do not give back or show appreciation that can be a problem. It will not lead to happiness and feeling good about yourself.
There are all levels of takers and givers.
This holiday will be a good time to take stock and see where and how you fit in. Give thanks then and more…….
“It is a great mistake for men to give up paying compliments, for when they give up saying what is charming, they give up thinking what is charming.”- Oscar Wilde