Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a national holiday I’ve only recently been involved with since my arrival in the U.S. in 1996. I don’t have any romantic or historic attachment to it. After years of working in retail, I’ve developed more sensibility to Black Friday than the day prior. I just never got into the whole Thanksgiving thing. I don’t even enjoy turkey, or football. I appreciate that this is an important day for a lot of people and I’m personally all about Gratitude!

I see a lot of posts and references to Gratitude.What brings me to pause is the idea that a lot of individuals will mention gratitude, however, they won’t feel grateful. The words are there, the intention is not. Gratitude can be a foreign concept for some. We’re brought up to say thank you, and in the U.S., we’re brought up with Thanksgiving. Gratitude could be assumed to be as natural as brushing our teeth, I know for a fact that it’s not. We say the words, however, the feeling is missing.

There are side effects to gratitude: joy, satisfaction, awareness and peace. With 70% of the U.S. population unsatisfied with their job alone, it is safe to assume that the gratitude factor is low. Considering the current political climate, it’s safe to say that joy and peace are pretty low as well. The eternal optimist in me refuses to bow down to the current events though, and I will stick to my silver lining attitude. That includes gratitude for living in a country that has carried so many inspirational individuals and still does. I want to focus on that.

I know we can shift from grim to grateful. I know it because I taught myself to do it. I know it can be done!

As I reflected about the feeling of gratitude, the closest model that came to mind was apologizing. As children, we’re taught to apologize if we were involved in a situation that had a negative impact on others. We’re taught to be accountable and to recognize the consequences of our actions. In the U.S., we even apologize for other people’s negative experiences we were not involved in. We do it out of sympathy. That’s nice, although empathy would be more productive in my opinion.

As we learnt to apologize as children, we may have been reminded to “mean it”. The words we use to apologize only carry so much weight, fully appreciating the situation and its consequences is what matters. Gratitude works the same way. Saying “thank you” is nice, meaning it is what really matters. Being able to be grateful as many days out of the year as possible is where magic happens.

Today, tomorrow, and the days after, I’m grateful for the people I met in my life that inspired me to tap into my inner strength to become the happiest version of myself to date.

Reach for the greatest version of yourself!

Paola

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