I am grateful for the holidays because they give me some downtime for reflection. I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately and how it seems we've gotten it all backwards.
Who got some form of shaming in an effort to produce gratitude growing up? Maybe a parent telling you how hard they work so you can have what you do, in their effort to muster up a little gratitude in you? Or maybe you were told that people are starving in Third World countries, in an effort to get you to be grateful for the food in front of you so you would eat it?
Be grateful for what you have because there are others less fortunate is what was preached. The flip side is others using your misfortune as a springboard for their gratitude. Isn’t this the equivalent of saying, “I’m grateful I’m not you?" That can’t be right.
Maybe someone else’s journey isn’t mine but I'd like to think it's not bad, just not mine. I'd rather say, "I honor your journey" than "I'm glad I'm not you." Several years ago a friend’s daughter did an “Engineers Without Borders” project. One of the things she couldn’t get over was how happy the people were. We've all got dark and light.
This is my new favorite quote: "Those who understand see themselves in all, and all, in themselves." ~Bhagavad Gita
Love does not make contrasts, fear does. Love shows how we are similar. I see myself reflected back to me through others—dark and light. It allows me to do better and be better. It increases my capacity to love and for love. It encourages forgiveness and humility. It deepens intimacy. For all this, I am eternally grateful!
You, just being you, is a gift. In case you forgot, this post is reflecting it back to you.
And to those who compared themselves to those less fortunate in search of gratitude, I thank you for prompting this exploration. I've done it too.
Wishing you a love filled Thanksgiving!
You know me; I always like to give you something low calorie to chew on.