As we approach another Thanksgiving holiday, you can’t help but feel thankful for the blessings life has given. Time with family, the best meal of the year, and laughter that brings holiday cheer is what we all are looking forward to. This does, however, highlight a looming question: Why do we hyper focus on being thankful ONLY during Thanksgiving? In my opinion, “thanksgiving” should be a spirit, posture, and attitude that we exemplify at all times. In an effort to keep gratefulness at the forefront of our minds, we’re going to reflect on 3 ways to maintain an attitude of gratitude.
Gratitude of Speech
Simply put: our words matter. If we aren’t careful, we can talk ourselves and others out of being thankful. What kind of communicator you? Are you a complainer or an encourager? Complainers focus on negativity, circumstances, and self. Encouragers focus on positivity, intentionality, and others. With the words you speak, choose to be an encourager, not a complainer.
Gratitude of Thought
Long before words come out of the mouth, an all out war is raging. There’s a war of thoughts with thankfulness and selfishness jockeying for position. When it comes to our thought life, we get to “choose what we think.” We must learn to put the selfish thoughts on trial. Selfish thoughts don’t add value to others. Having dealt with a good bit of self centeredness in basketball, Hall of Fame NBA coach Pat Riley defines selfishness as the “Disease of Me.” We should rather spend time counting our blessings. Here are some examples of what we ought to be reflecting on: things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
Gratitude with Actions
We are what we think. Furthermore, we are what we DO. In this “age of me,” it’s very easy to forget about the impact we can make on others. With Thanksgiving around the corner, generosity comes into the limelight. Beyond the holiday, I personally believe being generous is the highest calling we have to each other. Generosity positions one to serve, not to be served. Here are three areas of your life in which you can intentionally practice selflessness: with your time, with your talent, and with your money. Go spend time with a friend, family member, or co-worker. Tell them how much they mean to you. Go exercise one of your talents and make someone’s day brighter. Find a homeless person, orphan, widow, single parent, service person, or first responder and give them a financial blessing.
We all have several things to be thankful for. Let’s put gratitude into action. Based on the 3 ways to maintain an attitude of gratitude, what do you need to act on, change, or teach someone else? Oorah!