This week, in the U.S., we celebrate Thanksgiving. I have been a vegetarian for decades and Thanksgiving Day is not about the Turkey Feast. It is about gathering with friends and celebrating what it is we are truly grateful for in our lives.
When going through pain and hardship it can be difficult to think about what you are grateful for, and often difficult to feel any gratitude at all. It seems to be human nature that our inner focus is directed to “what’s wrong” rather than “whats right.” We are problem solvers and want to solve “what is wrong” in order to achieve our goal of having “everything right.”
We are human and we are flawed. We will never have all our duckies in a row and perfection will always elude us. However we do have an amazing capacity to feel love and joy.
Studies show that “gratitude” is a powerful healer. Whether you are sick, in pain or depressed, by focusing on what you are grateful for, you begin to shift your attention to “the glass is half full” rather than “half empty.”
It is “self loving” to actually seek out things to love about yourself and about your current circumstances, whatever they are. If you don’t know where to begin, do a personal inventory. Do you have your arms and legs? Can you see? Can you hear? Can you taste your food? Do you feel? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food on your plate when you are hungry? Do you have anyone in your life who you know really loves you?
Dr. Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, tells us “comparison is the cause of all unhappiness.” We tend to compare ourselves to those we see as having less than we do and as a result we feel superior and we compare ourselves with those we perceive as “having more” and feel inferior. Both superiority and inferiority separate us from each other. We do not see ourselves as equal and therefore we build walls that separate us from standing on common ground.
Since many of us tend to see the glass as “half empty,” the comparisons we make in our daily life are most often focused on our lack and limitation. We don’t have enough and we are not enough. We compare ourselves with those, we perceive, as having more and feel insecure and inadequate. This is not self loving. It is self sabotaging.
Practicing gratitude is a way to take us from focusing outside of ourselves on the successes and failures of others and instead focus inward on our own blessings. The more we focus on our blessings the more we become aware of what is good in our lives and the more “good” we attract into our lives. We also begin to feel better about ourselves. We stop comparing ourselves to the fortunes and misfortunes of others and start to realize that our life is meant to be lived for our own soul’s growth and we need to celebrate our own successes.
Those who wake up in the morning and count their blessings will have more blessings to count. This is because “counting your blessings,” creates an energetic vibration of gratitude that, through the law of attraction, draws more to you on that same vibrational wavelength.
When I work with people who have just come out of terrible relationships and are in deep emotional pain, I often suggest they shift the way they look at what just happened. One can say “my husband left me for another woman,” or she can say “the Universe removed this person from my life so that I can know myself on greater levels, learn to love myself more, and attract someone into my life who will mirror to me my own self love.”
If, at the core, we are self loathing, rather than self loving, we will attract into our lives someone who mirrors to us our own self loathing. This means we may attract someone who abuses us, or treats us poorly. We may not have been aware of how much “self loathing” we actually had, on a subconscious level, until we found ourselves in relationship with someone who made us feel really ugly and worthless. We may stay in that relationship because there is a core belief we don’t deserve anything more. Bad relationships are a great way to “root out” those negative core beliefs and show us how we really feel about ourselves. If that person leaves, say “thank you;” because you are now being given an opportunity to move up the vibrational ladder to greater self love and awareness.
The pain we are often left with in circumstances like this, is our deep core pain being rooted out. We may have moved through a life filled with distractions so we didn’t really have to look that deeply at ourselves and at some point your soul says “it’s time to evolve beyond this pattern” and will create the circumstances for your evolution. It may be painful, because you are growing out of a self sabotaging, dysfunctional pattern. You are facing your inner demons, your shadow side, in a way you never have before. So if you are in pain from being thrown into a deep inner growth challenge, say “thank you for this opportunity to grow from self loathing to self loving.”
Even in the most painful circumstances we can find something to be grateful for. Feel the pain! Embrace the healing process! But seek out what is good about where you find yourself and celebrate that.
When you practice gratitude in your daily life it becomes second nature. You simply begin to see the glass as “half full” in your life and you naturally have an attitude of gratitude which gives you a more positive outlook on life and a happier disposition.
So “be glad” for the good and trust that life is moving you towards your highest good and the greatest fulfillment of your life purpose.
Happy Thanks Giving!