Thursday's Child: Gratitude


Gratitude. The word originates with the Latin, "Gratus," which means, "pleasing, thankful." The dictionary defines it as, "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness."

Since it's Thanksgiving Day here in the states, it's only appropriate to discuss it, and its magical relevance, no?

The origins of this holiday aren't ideal, to say the least. Many don't celebrate in protest, and I completely get that. Those folks who got to this land first- those that we call, "indigenous"- have been treated terribly, and continue to be so by our government. The day is not what I want to discuss.

I want to talk about the art of gratitude, instead. Plutarch once said, "Most people bypass what is good and refreshing in their lives, and habitually focus on the unpleasant, bad elements." It's not only acceptable to do this in western society, your cool points tend to go up, the more cynical you are.

I once had a job that I truly considered a dream job. I couldn't wait for Monday to arrive. I got to travel, meet really wonderful people, develop and deliver training that really helped people, speak at conferences, etc. I was so happy and thankful to have this job, that I practically oozed enthusiasm. People gravitated toward me because of it. I got noticed.  

A year or so later, there was a huge organizational change, and I got a new manager. She came from another division, and I had met her once, at a conference, early on. In our first one on one meeting, she told me, "You need to tone down the enthusiasm. It looks to me, and several other people, like you are trying to get something from us. I remember the first time I met you. I thought the same thing. No one is *that* happy in real life. It just comes across as being fake."

I was devastated, deeply hurt and confused, and I lost every bit of love I had for that company and my job. In hindsight, of course she was the problem. She turned out to be the worst people manager I'd ever seen. She gossiped about others, fired really good people because she didn't like them, and treated everyone like they were beneath her station in life. It took me a long time to recover from her toxicity, and when I landed a new job, I just couldn't muster the same enthusiasm.

Then, I started realizing that I had allowed someone to take my power. Gratitude is a super power. It makes what we have, enough. It fills our hearts with joy, and allows us to see the world in a much happier way. It's also contagious, and follows the laws of attraction.  When we are in a state of gratitude, we attract beneficial things to our lives. I had given this manager permission to take that from me. I vowed not to do that again.

As with all superpowers, it's difficult to cultivate, at first, and can be even more difficult to maintain, given our culture of  cynical chic. But, it's worth it. That is where the art comes in. Infusing the passion that comes from being thankful into your everyday life will paint colors that you never knew existed. It takes your magic to a whole new level. 

Just like the herd immunity that comes when the majority of us are inoculated, imagine how powerful we could be if more of us practiced this art, together!

I'd like to challenge you to 21 days of gratitude. Write down three things for which you are grateful before you go to bed each night. After those 21 days (if you start tonight, December 17), send me a message and let me know about your experience. I may just send you something in return ;)

Before I close, I want to thank you, my dear readers, for your support and kindness over the years. You mean more to me than I can express, even as a writer. I wish you all the power of gratitude in your lives.

Sláinte!

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