Lest you read on and think I’m the Grinch who stole Thanksgiving, let me assure you that I’m truly glad a day is set aside each year to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for.
Stopping to “count our blessings” is a profoundly good idea. The simple act of expressing gratitude for family, provision, health, spiritual well-being, and other substantive components of life is healthy for body and soul.
So, yes: pausing to be thankful, as the season calls us to do, is a majorly good thing.
Dare I suggest, though, that we shouldn’t let a dark side of giving thanks overtake us?
Being thankful should make us truly appreciate where we are in life, but we shouldn’t use it to relieve ourselves of the responsibility to move ahead with something better. We shouldn’t hide behind the good feelings of being thankful and accept a life or lifestyle that’s less satisfying than we know it could be. We shouldn’t allow thankfulness to make us complacent.
If you arrive at a list of things to be thankful for “in spite of” some parts of your life that you’re truly not, then those “not thankful” elements may signal areas waiting for positive change.
So, to add a different depth to your giving of thanks this time around, ask yourself a few questions to help you overcome the in-spite-ofs.
Are you building a life you’re thankful for? Evaluate whether or not you’re on a path that will bring some regrets—if you don’t start a business, make a move, improve your relationships. Make changes now to avoid serious regrets later.
What would you like to be thankful for next Thanksgiving that you were bold enough to do between now and then? Pick one thing you’d love to accomplish and determine to make it happen in the next twelve months, so next year at this time, you can rejoice in having done that.
What do you wish you could be thankful for, but you don’t have it yet? Think about what you’ve dreamed for your version of Different. After all, something motivated you to read a “Different on Purpose” blog. You’re hoping for something you don’t have or aren’t doing right now.
What do you need to do to have that become part of your life? Write a note to yourself describing what you thought of when you answered #3. Solidifying your dream is the first step in making it happen. After you determine what it is, think of one concrete step you could take to start making it happen. Then take that step. Then, to get to the ultimate goal, repeat that process—one step at a time.
Get yourself on track with the answers to these questions, and you’ll have something else to be thankful for next year at this time: That you’re capable and willing to do what it takes to satisfy the life-of-your-dreams part of you.
BONUS THOUGHT: Look for obvious options if you want to make a change. The answer might be right in front of you. (For more on this, see my post "Seeing What Others Miss: Discovering Different Right Under Your Nose.")
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