Gobble-Gobble Season: My Thoughts on Gratitude

As cliché as it may initially appear, practicing gratitude and appreciation are both virtuous values—a beautiful characteristic that the ones I love wholeheartedly embrace. Unfortunately, what oftentimes remains most salient—what seems most vivid and prominently resides within our consciousness—is the dark: our fears, insecurities, and, even, the traumatic experiences we, as humans, have unfortunately witnessed and/or personally underwent. To combat this seemingly inherent, instinctive disposition, it is of the upmost importance we practice gratitude. Surely, being grateful and appreciative will, in turn, help switch the conscious focus from what is seemingly dark, undesirable, and painful onto the more positive aspects of our beautiful lives.

Indeed, Oliver Sacks, an author and neurologist, upon learning of his cancer diagnosis, said: I cannot pretend I am without fear. But, my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much, and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written.

He continues, Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.” 

Gratitude helps open the gates to happiness and self-satisfaction—it is the closest thing to pure bliss and heaven on earth, if you will. It pleasantly paints our planet with strokes of love and joy. 

Residing in what is seemingly a hostile and vile contemporaneous sociopolitical climate, I encourage everyone to practice gratitude and appreciation—indeed, a sentiment of thankfulness will undeniably benefit us all, at large.

With that being said, I must offer a minor forewarning. Yes, gratitude is indeed important—it is a beneficial tool too few actually possess. However, it is important to note that gratitude itself does not equate passivity. Gratitude is not meekness. Gratitude is not submissiveness and weakness. It is not mere acceptance. Nor does it entail a somber reluctance towards change and improvement. Rather, gratitude is a form of self-perception and awareness, enabling us to appreciate the lovely features of our surrounding environment. Simply put, gratitude opens the floodgates—those of which allow for happiness, contentment, love, warmth, and connection.

Gratitude, surely, does not stand in the way of improvement and empowerment—rather, it colors our world in all that is positive in our quest towards self-improvement and social justice.

As it appears appropriate, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I encourage everyone to actively remind themselves of what they ought to be thankful for, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. More so than anything, I hope that these thought processes allow for happiness and empathy. 

What are you grateful for today? No matter how seemingly irrelevant or potentially trivial, list them all. 

Seasonal gratitude—active recall solely in the month of November—is certainly insufficient. Let’s practice gratitude as frequently as possible. 

                                                                                                          (Photo Credit: Healthy Happy Human Beings)