Next month, because of the impending day of Thanksgiving (which I refer to as “Practice Christmas Dinner a Month Early), Facebook and many websites will be flooded with people giving thanks and finding something to be thankful about on a daily basis.
Many people will complain about this, saying we should be thankful every day, so why wait until Thanksgiving and November to do so?
I encourage everyone to be thankful each day, though.
Gratitude is its own reward.
I don’t want to be someone who complains about how so many people take things for granted because psychologically, humans seem to be wired that way. We adjust to a certain level of comfort, a certain level of quality, and we take that level as the base level of things.
In other words, our brains just do that. If you come each day from work and have a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, you’ll come to expect that each day. The cup of coffee won’t be something for which you’re specifically grateful.
(I use that example because that would apply to me and my father both.)
I’m also not saying people don’t take things for granted. We do. All of us. Somewhere, we take something for granted.
I’m also not saying that there is nothing worth criticizing in life. There are plenty of things we can criticize and about which we could complain.
The big question is this: are we grateful more than ungrateful?
Do we feel gratitude more than criticism?
Another big question: do we feel gratitude even as much as we feel criticism?
Humans also seem to be wired to see negative things instead of positive ones. So we have a kind of default brain setting to do this.
I don’t encourage people to dismiss negative or terrible things. I encourage people instead to appreciate and show gratitude for small things and build up from there.
I appreciate my bed and all the pillows I have on it because I like to sleep. If I don’t sleep, I become a grumpy panda, and then no one’s happy.
So, today, I’m grateful for my family- both my fiance and our child as well as my parents and little brother and extended family.
I’m grateful for my faith and religious traditions- both the one that fit with more orthodox Christian teachings and the ones that extend outside of that into more mystical realms.
I’m grateful that I’m able to do what I want with my life (homemaker at the moment) instead of living a life where the culture makes demands that my personality structure can’t properly fulfill.
I’m grateful that I was born and raised in the South and basically on a farm with my babysitter, Ms. Alice, and her husband, Mr. Charlie, because that gave me insight into how food is cooked from scratch and the fact that humans are dependent on farming for survival- that crops, animals, and people go together somehow in a big puzzle of life.
I’m grateful for all of my grandparents who all had very distinct personalities. I’m also grateful that my maternal grandmother (Mama Lay) visits me in my dreams so often.
(As a side note, I saw her the other day in a kind of vision before I fell asleep; she resembled herself, but she was young, like maybe 18 or 19, maybe even 20. There’s no doubt that the Dead are almost more Alive than we are.)
I’m also grateful for benadryl and coffee that have helped regulate my sleeping cycles so I can be asleep during the day and awake at night so as to match my schedule with Chris’s.
And so there you have it- a beginning of a day of gratitude. I don’t usually just state it openly, but there we go!