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Taking on Thanksgiving

You arrive at the front steps of the house you come to every holiday season with your family, and you endure the same routine of the excitement and the bear hugs all while your entire family is huddled outside in the the brisk cold. Finally entering the warmth of the house, you brace yourself for the long awaited annual embraces of the family members who live half a world away, while simultaneously cringing for the criticisms and the dis/approvals from your elders. This rendez-vous surpasses the grumbles of your empty stomach, when suddenly the announcement of the completed meal is declared throughout the throngs of people. There is an uproar of appraisal throughout the house and everyone prepares for the long awaited meal.

When you inhale the scents that arise from the plate in your hand, they prove to be impetus. You begin to map out your beeline to your designated seat at the dinner table, when all of a sudden your cousin Jenny comes up to you and makes remarks on your loaded plate. Ignoring her you continue on only to be stopped by aunt Mary who questions your life decisions and expels her ideals she has for your success. Annoyed, you finally get to your seat around the same time the whole family gets around to following suit for the family gratitude sharing and/or prayer session before everyone commences in eating. You see your brothers, cousins, and their friends across the table snickering and smirking at you in hopes to pester you. And then you suddenly remember that the dinner has just begun, and based on the past 18 or so years of enduring the familial traditions you estimate the time it will take you to leave; which is not in your near future.

Some of you may relate more or less to this scenario with the different personality encounters within your family. However, the majority of us all fall into the trap of simply going through the motions and losing the sparkle in our eyes and our hearts. That sparkle can vary for each person in many different ways, for some it may be appreciation and for others it might be caring and gratitude for this particular holiday. How does one escape the common ultimatum of apathetic passivity? How do you break the cycle, how do you bring about that positive change?

“Be the change you want to see” is a common maxim we hear a lot and we can often overlook the meaning and undermine the application in our lives. Being the change in the previously mentioned scenario entails encapturing the reason of the holiday. Which is based on openness and vulnerability and a result of gratitude (this characterizes one major aspect of Thanksgiving). Applying these behavioral tactics to your encounter with family members and people in general will help change your perspective and opinion of the holiday season and ultimately the views of those around you.

This thanksgiving don’t be the person who is unappreciative of the eccentric personalities who you get to call family. Don’t be the family member who has relationships that aren’t going the way you would like for them to go and doesn’t speak up and initiate a change. Don’t be the daughter or son who sits back and complains and bickers. Instead be the person who is thankful, be the person who stops and looks around and sees all of the things that you have and how far you have come in life. Be the family member who wants to get to know a new family member genuinely and cherish the conversations. Be the son or daughter who steps up with a serving hand, whether it be food preparations, cleanup, serving, or any other act of kindness.

This Thanksgiving, see your faults and your strengths, notice the changes you want to make and strive to retrain your mind to make those changes. This Thanksgiving, thrive on the spirit of thanks and giving and spread it around.


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