Each year, on the fourth Thursday of November, Americans gather around the table to enjoy time with family, loved ones, football and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Although today’s celebrations may be unrecognizable to those who feasted on their harvested meal after a harsh winter in 1621, this day is still a day to commemorate our gratitude.
During the Thanksgiving season, minds become more contemplative over life’s successes and limitations. Ruminations over the joys, struggles, peace and trials of life appear to be more prominent in thought and in conversation. Memorials of those who we have loved and lost become increasingly evident as one attempts to simply “get through the holidays.” As we begin to contemplate on the struggles we experience during these contemplative and existential times, it can be difficult to feel thankful. It can be difficult to turn off those thoughts as much as one would like to change those defeating thoughts.
William Glasser of reality therapy and choice theory focuses on the individual’s responsibility of one’s thinking, feeling, physiology and acting. Glasser emphasizes that people need to be connected or reconnected to self and to other people. Glasser focuses on the importance of relationships and notes that we have the power to control and change difficult and self-defeating thoughts; that those thoughts, perhaps, are separate from self and do not identify or label the self. If one would be able to adjust or decrease those thoughts, how could that impact someone’s thoughts and connection to others and self? Additionally, instead of defeat and negative rumination, how quickly could gratitude and thanksgiving become a driving force in one’s life?
Therefore, during the holidays perhaps it is a question of what one wants their ideal picture of thanksgiving to look like. Seek out to discover how one can experience gratitude and thanksgiving beyond the delicious meals and exciting football games. What would be one thing done differently that an individual could do in order to receive their ideal image of thanksgiving? Perhaps it is practicing gratitude once a day. Whatever that one thing may be, Glasser emphasizes that each individual has the responsibility and choice to stand behind their action. As Albert Schweitzer states, “To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action.”
Ashley Bergman, B.S. Professional Counseling/MFT
Graduate Student Therapist
Disclaimer: Topics and subjects that pertain to any individual(s) is coincidental.The content of this article does not constitute mental health assessment, diagnosis, treatment or support. Please consult a mental health practitioner if you would like to seek counseling.