Monday, November 21, 2016

Remembering What's Important This Thanksgiving

I've been working on my book about happiness.  I keep coming back to two things that are so key to happiness--in fact, true happiness isn't possible without an abundance of both. 

The first is gratitude.  That's really what this Thursday is about--Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what we've been given.  We spend an inordinate amount around this time of years focused on what we want (if you don't believe me, go shopping this Black Friday), and we often overlook just how much we already have. 

Every time you receive something, take a moment to be thankful for it, whether it's a free cup of coffee at the donut shop, or the fact, you got all the way to work without hitting a single red light (like I did this morning).  When you begin to appreciate what you have, you begin to realize just how abundant your life really is already.  And when you're grateful and content with what you've been given, you've taken a huge step towards being happy in life.

The second key to happiness is being able to forgive--to let things go.  I've written on this topic many, many times because it is so key to being happy.  We just got through a contentious election cycle--people said harsh things, people got unfollowed and unfriended on social media.  Even after the election, many people are still angry over it and looking for an argument.  The holidays as a result are likely to contentious at times between those who voted one way versus those that voted another. 

Let it go.  Move on.  Life is short, and it's too short to carry the weight of that grudge around with you everywhere you go.  And as I've said before, forgiveness doesn't require reciprocation, and it doesn't require an apology.  You simply be the bigger person and you forgive what was said and done.  It doesn't matter whether they forgive you or not.  It's very simple.  You just say to yourself, "I'm not going to be upset about what this person has done anymore.  I'm forgiving him/her."  You're not just doing it for them, you're doing it for yourself as well.  You're liberating yourself from angry feelings.

When you learn how to let go of that emotional baggage, you'll free yourself from a lot of upset.  You'll be free from the past.  You won't have to keep reliving every wrong thing anybody has ever done to you over and over again.  And you'll be a much happier person as a result because this is the way God wants us to live--to forgive each other and to love one another. 

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful.  It's also a time we all come together in one place, so it may prove to be an excellent time to mend a few broken fences.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~Todd E. Creason

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