In a New York Times column this week, Frank Bruni wrote “Gratitude is a feat of perspective.”
I can’t stop thinking about that sentence. In those simple words is a much deeper meaning about how we can be grateful: it is all about how we look at things.
Of course, most of us know this. We’ve heard some version of it growing up, such as being told to eat our food because there are starving kids in Africa, or to be grateful for our house, clothes, education- things that we (in relatively affluent communities in first world countries) tend to take for granted. It’s not wrong, this focus on having these basic needs fulfilled. We should be grateful for all of these things; we should be filled with gratitude every morning that we wake up.
The problem is that it’s so easy to take things for granted. When you grow up without knowing what it’s like to be hungry, it’s easy to forget that hunger is a very real problem, not just words thrown at you when you didn’t want to eat your peas.
“Gratitude is a feat of perspective.” It requires us to constantly overcome an inclination to take what we have for granted. Being grateful is a feat; it is an accomplishment that we must make every day, but that is particularly important on Thanksgiving.
We all have something for which we are grateful- family, friends, a home, food, a job, health… the list goes on. Today, find that thing (or things) and hold it tight. Take time to appreciate and nurture it. Use Thanksgiving to recognize your blessings, and to change your perspective, so that you can carry this gratitude with you throughout the year.
What are you thankful for? How do you express gratitude on Thanksgiving?