I have not been choosing gratitude lately. I have been choosing envy. I have been choosing jealousy. I have been choosing indignation, pride, and entitlement. I’ve waxed philosophical on how to teach my children gratitude for Thanksgiving but I haven’t been a good model of it. I have been focused on what I have received and only been happy when it’s better than what others receive. I’ve been the stalker on Facebook who writes #jealous and really means it. But no more. Today I’m choosing gratitude. This Thanksgiving, I’m actually focused on being thankful.
The reason for my awakening came after a lovely “media” night at the new Holiday in the Park event at Six Flags Over Georgia when I definitely was not choosing gratitude. I had a fun, free family night making memories with my husband and four kids, but I couldn’t stop myself from grumbling about little things here and there. But the kicker happened as I was leaving.
You see, Six Flags worked with AT&T Uverse to grant unbelievable Christmas wishes for some bloggers in attendance. Some received laptops. Others got vacations. One person got a set of top of the line pots and pans. A couple people were gifted flat screen TVs. And I had nothing. Boo hoo! I didn’t see the part of the email asking for my wishes and thus they weren’t granted. But my friends saw it , answered it, and received fantastic gifts. I saw them jumping up and down with happiness at their surprising good fortune and I wanted to punch them. In the face. Hard.
— Daphne (@MushyMamma) November 22, 2014
— Cincomom (@TheCincoMom) November 22, 2014
— Krystyn (@SeriousKrystyn) November 22, 2014
I tried to be happy as I said congratulations, but that evil little green-eyed monster started sneaking up. “I should have gotten that!” “It wasn’t my fault I didn’t see that last line of the email!” “Why didn’t anyone tell me to respond?” “Who are they to get those great gifts and me to get nothing?” And on and on until I was simmering with pent up rage. But then I took a tiny step back and tried to see what God was trying to teach me…what lesson had I needed to learn. And it hit me suddenly: Gratitude.
Was I being grateful for the fantastic family experience that night? Was I being grateful for all the things I already had? Was I being grateful for friendships, including those with people who received great gifts? NO! I was complaining, grumbling, and feeling indignant, entitled, and self-important. I receive things everyday…big things and little things and things that can’t be quantified. But I haven’t stopped to say thank you enough. I haven’t stopped complaining to be gracious for the abundance I’ve already been given.
So this Thanksgiving, I’m choosing gratitude.
I will say more thank yous than pleases.
I will focus on the things I have and not compare them to what I think others have.
I will choose to live a thankful life rather than an envious one.
I’m choosing gratitude so I can honestly be happy for my friends who received remarkable gifts. Everyone has their own story and lessons to learn along the way. All I need to do is to be happy for their happiness. I don’t need to worry about anything else. (And I no longer want to punch anyone.)
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I hope you will join me in choosing gratitude, not just for the day or the season, but the whole year long. We all have so much to be grateful for…too much to be grateful for…to spend one more second being jealous of what someone else has.
What are you grateful for? How are you choosing gratitude?