There are at least half a dozen reasons why I tend to focus on the negative aspects of any event. For practical, daily impact, the why of me tending that way isn’t important. What matters for daily life is steering that tendency into something else.
I admit I was skeptical. There is so much bullshit psychology out there. That something as simple as finding one thing to be grateful for on a daily basis has the power to reduce depression, improve eating habits, and encourage better sleep while reforming what I consider to be a base element of my personality seemed too good to be true.
Turns out I was wrong.
Being grateful helps me be calmer, happier, and better for the people I care about. That doesn’t mean that I’m not still, at base, a cynical fuck who expects the worst of people and is rarely disappointed in that expectation. I just means that I’ve learned to put my cyncism in its place.
Despite all the calls from people deep in the racial justice space to stop celebrating Thanksgiving, which wasn’t a holiday until the middle of the U.S. Civil War and is based in part on a misunderstood, warped story about one of the earliest instances of racial genocide in what is now America, every culture has a Fall harvest festival.
Every culture recognizes that winter is coming, that it’s going to be cold and dark for months, and that food may be scarce.
Do we need to be mindful that the entire United States sits on land stolen from people who were here already when white explorers showed up from Europe? Totally. All of Washington, DC sits on Anacostan and Piscataway land. And a lot of the names in and around where I live make a so much more sense when you know who was here first.
Being mindful of that doesn’t make being grateful any less necessary or beneficial. Here are some aspects of my life I’m grateful for:
- TGF‘s patience and kindness as I continue to learn to be a fully functioning adult human being.
- My generation who is fully aware of our family dysfunction and has made an unconscious agreement to support each other through deailing with it.
- I have a job…
- …that pays me a rude amount of money…
- …to do something I’m good at…
- …in comfortable physical conditions.
- My mother taught me to think critically, to plan, and to observe looking for outcomes. Being able to do strategy matters for a good life.
- My physical health is good enough that even though I could I don’t have to add “for my age.”
- My friends who love me – you know who you are – enough to comfort me when I need it and to gently call me on my bullshit when I need that.
What things are you grateful for today or any day?