Hello everyone! I am so happy I’m writing for the ECHO again! I have so much to share with you.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I want to take a look at what it’s all about with new eyes and understanding. Don’t worry. I’m not going to give a treatise on the origin of our Thanksgiving holiday. Today, I want to talk about thanksgiving. Yes, that’s thanksgiving with a lowercase T. I want to talk about feeling thankful, grateful, appreciation and abundance. But before you groan and go read something else, stick with me. You might be surprised.
Since this article is about emotions, let’s start with several definitions so we can all be on the same page.
First, thankful is a feeling or emotion we’ve all experienced and being thankful is part of the Thanksgiving holiday. The Merriam-Webster dictionary at merriam-webster.com defines thankful as, “conscious of benefits received.”
We feel thankful when we have the perception of receiving something of benefit or worth. Thankful is a feeling experienced as a response or result. You get a present, then you feel thankful. On occasion, the expectation of being thankful can seem obligatory. “Thank you,” is the customary response after someone uses the magic word. People often feel thankful after avoiding something bad or unpleasant, such as narrowly avoiding a car accident. On the other hand, people can feel thankful after something great has happened, such as a wonderful harvest. Thankfulness is most often directed at someone or something specific.
Grateful and thankful are very closely related. These feelings get tossed around interchangeably. However, I think that when it comes to emotions, grateful is a better feeling for me than thankful. Let me explain. The Latin origin of the word grateful comes from the word gratus or grace. I think grateful is an emotion we feel when we receive a gift or benefit that is freely given or that the universe just drops in our laps from out of the blue. Grateful is often a state of emotion full of happiness, contentment, and a warm sense of being pleased that isn’t directed to anyone or anything in particular. In contrast, thanks is ordinarily offered or directed toward someone. I often feel grateful and thankful at the same time and that’s the best.
Appreciation is a close cousin of thankful and grateful. Appreciation is an awesome emotion to feel. I practice feeling appreciation every day. OxfordDictionaries.com defines appreciation as, “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.”
Appreciation is a feeling we create when we are grateful and thankful. We can feel appreciation when we are looking for and focusing on the good we see around us. If you want to up-level a relationship you have, start keeping a list of qualities and attributes you appreciate about that person and the relationship you share. It will not be too long before you are seeing them in a whole new way.
Appreciation is very “now” focused. When we practice appreciation, we step into the present to notice what’s actually happening around us. When I teach my clients about appreciation, they often say, “Oh, you mean look for the silver lining.”
There is something to appreciate about everyone you meet and every situation you find yourself in, always. Don’t wait for bad or substandard circumstances to look for the silver lining. Pause and take a moment to appreciate what’s happening in good times as well. Practicing appreciation just makes every good experience great and every great experience phenomenal.
My practice of appreciation looks like this: Most mornings, I pull out my list of appreciation worksheet and make a list of what I appreciate that day. Here’s a sample list: my pillow, clean water to drink, the dishwasher, my husband, Bill, living in Alaska, my daughter, Josie, living in America, gas heating, fuzzy blankets, puppies.
I write down about 20 things, people, places or ideas I appreciate. The list can contain absolutely anything that pops into my head. I try not to repeat list items week to week. This practice makes me think beyond what I see in front of my face.
On the other side of the worksheet, I make another list. This is a list of things I have that I want or wanted. For example, I wanted to be married to Bill. He’s the best human being I know and I love him madly and dearly! I want to be married to him right now. So guess what? He’s on my list of items I want that I have. My children are on that list as well. I wanted children. I have 5 wonderful kids. They go on the list. I have a beautiful home in the Eagle River valley. I wanted it as soon as I saw it. My home is on the list. You get the idea.
This daily (almost daily) practice of appreciation has changed my life for the better in so many ways. I make my lists in the morning before I launch into the busyness of my day, I am intentionally thankful, grateful and full of appreciation.
Dictionary.com defines abundance as, “an extremely plentiful or over sufficient quantity or supply.”
When we live our lives from feeling thankful, grateful and appreciation, we are living from abundance. From abundance, we see the many, many people, blessings and gifts we have to love, enjoy and treasure. We live life from a mindset of plenty instead of the mentality of lack. When we live from the feeling of abundance, we are resilient, future focus and expectant of all the wonderfulness yet to come.
Of course, I highly encourage everyone to practice appreciation all year long, not just at Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, Thanksgiving is a great season to start your daily practice of appreciation. I’d love to hear about what you appreciate.
Happy Thanksgiving one and all! I wish for you and your family, all the blessings and abundance possible.
Elizabeth Peach is a Master Instructor and Certified Professional Weight Loss and Life Coach. To reach Elizabeth, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.