The Power of Saying ‘Thanks’
On ‘Thanksgiving Day’
It has now become a ritual, a feast… than an opportunity to celebrate and reflect!
I know little or nothing about Thanksgiving Day that’s celebrated in America. But I love the idea of it!
I wish we in India had such an explicit celebration. Maybe many of our festivals got intertwined by religious rituals that we could’ve possibly forgotten what it was originally intended to be…
Whatever it maybe, saying thanks, showing gratitude is not just for a day to be remembered. But an act of humanity that needs to be practiced. Almost a habit/ a routine that needs to be done pretty consistently.
Not just for the benefit of the relationship. That makes the relationship a bit transactional. But in the spirit of enriching our mental/ emotional well-being as well.
As they say, the giver of ‘Thanks’ is even more blessed as much as getter.
With that sentiment, I offer you a heartfelt ‘Thank you!’
Yes, thank you for reading this article, when you might be doing million other things with your life. But you took the time to come here, to read this article, to read my words — that’s appreciative for both you and me.
But I do sometimes feel odd while saying ‘Thank you’ or thinking about the practice of ‘gratitude’. Why should I be thankful for this stuff or that stuff? Don’t I deserve them.
Then my other brain says that’s exactly why you should be thankful. Not everyone in this world have been gifted with exactly what you have. In fact, if I had the pleasure of writing these damn words, that means I have the luxury of having electricity, a computer, an internet connections and more importantly the time to write out my heart — without the pull & pressure of mere survival. I have been given a comfortable house to stay and sleep in, availability of food (just had a sumptuous dinner!) and a bunch of people whom I can call my family and my friends! There ARE people who genuinely care for me!
That is a gift! That puts me… I don’t know top 10% of the entire human population.
I’m not sure if I can say this… But happiness seems to be rather an outcome of accepting what is given to you. But ‘accepting’ is just doesn’t do enough service to the things I’ve received in my life.
With all the shortcomings, stupid fights, a few things that I may not be able to afford… my life is still pretty good. Maybe I would feel ‘not enough’ when I see someone else has something that I may not have… But you know I never wanted it in the first place. That sort of kills the happiness. But I can’t regulate that envy, life has been too good for me too!
On the contrary, if I can think of the all the stupid/ dangerous things that could’ve happened to me, but didn’t, the level of gratitude does go a notch up!
I don’t want to list those stuff and jinx it. But I hope you see where I am going with it.
But my other brain says maybe I’m just less ambitious, that I’m just playing dumb and fooling myself to believe that this is enough. This ain’t. Or that I’m reducing the scope of success that I can get. I’m worthy of it. Ain’t I? If I can work hard enough or plan smart enough or know enough people, I can get there…
Yup! I see that absolutely a fact. But you know what I’m too lazy to do all that. I am content with what I have. My only purpose then is to use my existing opportunities to ‘give’. There seems to be more joy in giving than leeching. The equation like this also works better, as I can keep myself busy in contributing, being useful, being worthy… rather than thinking worth of just having stuff. I think I am better off earning my worthiness by doing something worthy. I wish I was son of Odin, or had a serum injected into me that makes me worthy (If you didn’t get it, that Marvel Universe reference to Thor and Captain America!).
That seems like a fair deal. But am I getting ahead of myself? Am I then not going to do anything or wanting anything more or course correcting the few shortcomings, few discomforts & pains that I’m going through now? Am I simply going to sit here & chill?
I guess not. That’s not the point of being gratitude. That’s not the point of feeling thankful that I’m pushed to the edges of complacency. I think that I feel so grateful for the the life that I have (even while I write those words, I feel good)… for my family, for my friends, for the opportunity, for the brain and heart I’m gifted, for the good health, etc… (Thank you God!)… That I feel so blessed that I want to be a reason for someone else to be grateful for.
I think of my father. A man of values. A man of few words. A man of discipline. A man of sacrifice and respect. I really feel grateful that he’s my dad. That I’m not taught, but got a role-model of how to live a life of deep committment and ethics — for one’s family, for the society. For that I feel extremely thankful. And I do wish that my little girl feels the same way about me.
Yes! My dad — he has his own weaknesses and his own shortcomings. But hey, he’s my dad! And that’s the best dad I could ever ask for.
I remember the story from the book, ‘I Can See Clearly, Now’ by Dr.Wayne Dyer, about his father. He talks about despite all the lack of care and love that his father was, he says how that was exactly what he needed for his spiritual maturity. Dr.Dyer says that it was in the moment of forgiving him that he graduated to the next level of personal growth. And his father, his father’s soul, accepted this true assignment for this sole reason to help one of his sons to reach in his life. What an interpretation!
If I were to think like that…. I shouldn’t just be grateful for just the good things in my life, but also bad things. Wow! That’s a revelation.
Can I be grateful for bad things — event, people, incident or accident, in my life?
Tony Robbins asks this in his one of his wonderful seminar… “What’s the best thing that has come out of the worst thing that happened to you?”
In fact, to think about it, there has always been a good thing that has come out of a worst thing. That’s connecting dots right? That’s introspection, right?
Yup! Maybe it is mere mental gymnastic and contortion of the things that had happened to my life. But maybe that’s a good way to look at life.
What do you think?