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 Post subject: Giving Thanks
PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 10:12 am 
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In the spirit of the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I find much of my thoughts turning to gratefulness lately. I think it is an important step in my recovery to be mindful of all that I have and be grateful for it, even when it seems like 'not enough'.

I know the holidays are rough on some. Our past experiences, sometimes our present ones, make this time of year difficult. But IMO, the Spirit of the holiday is one of giving thanks for what we have, for looking over the past year in review and thinking about changes that need to be made for the year ahead. Growth. We can turn it into a positive experience, at least in our heads, if we try.

Sometimes in my quest to get better, my thoughts are always on the negative, what I want or do not possess now. But it is important in my belief to acknowledge what I have accomplished and posses within myself--to be grateful and mindful of what IS.

I thought I would share these thoughts with the board because I think we could all stand to be more grateful in our everyday lives. To think about what we have now, what we do know, rather than what we do not have or do not know ALL that time. Yes, work towards betterment, always. But sometimes working towards betterment of the self, for me, includes a good look at what already IS, even when I only had one or two things on my list of things to be happy about--there was always something to be happy about, no matter how rough it was. It is also a time for me to formulate goals, to see where I have come over the past year and where I want to go for the next. Beating the self up for the 'shoulds' is counter-productive at this time, for me. I have to just try to realistically and non-judgmentally see what is and what I want to be--to be grateful and hopeful about the present and the future.

I found a great site that had a list of ways to be more grateful in our everyday lives:
Quote:
1. Keep a gratitude journal
Sit down, daily, and write about the things for which you are grateful. Start with whatever springs to mind and work from there. Try not to write the same thing every day but explore your gratefulness.

2. Remember the bad
The way things are now may seem better in the light of bad memories. Don't forget the bad things that have happened, the contrast may encourage gratefulness.

3. Ask yourself three questions
Choose someone you know, then first consider what you have received from them, second what you have given to them and thirdly what trouble you have caused them. This may lead to discovering you owe others more than you thought.

4. Pray
Whether you are Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or atheist, a ritualised form of giving thanks may help increase gratitude.

5. Use your senses
80% of people say they are thankful for their health. If so, then get back in touch with the simple human fact of being able to sense what is out there: use your vision, touch, taste and smell to experience the world, and be thankful you can.

6. Use visual reminders
Two big obstacles to being grateful are simply forgetting and failing to be mindful. So leave a note of some kind reminding you to be grateful. It could be a post-it, an object in your home or another person to nudge you occasionally.

7. Swear an oath to be more grateful
Promise on whatever you hold holy that you'll be more grateful. Sounds crazy? There's a study to show it works.

8. Think grateful thoughts
Called 'automatic thoughts' or self-talk in cognitive therapy, these are the habitual things we say to ourselves all day long. What if you said to yourself: "My life is a gift" all day long? Too cheesy? OK, what about: "Every day is a surprise".

9. Acting grateful is being grateful
Say thank you, become more grateful. It's that simple.

10. Be grateful to your enemies?
It'll take a big creative leap to be thankful to the people who you most despise. But big creative leaps are just the kind of things likely to set off a change in yourself. Give it a try.


I find myself humbled by my list. I have a lot to be grateful for, I think others do too, even if it is 'mundane' things like being able to see or walk or comprehend a poem or book, it's still a privilege because some can't to so. Humility is key in all this too because there is always the risk of becoming full of one's self when we only see the positive, IMO, or thinking that we have it all when in reality nobody does--not even the experts or fabulously wealthy. We're all humans with faults and merits within each of us. Seeing the merits, both in material possessions and quality of self, is where I find my gratitude. Ya know, when I think about it, I find gratitude in some of my faults too if I look hard enough-- it all makes me who I am and I can be grateful for that too.

I'd love to hear other's thoughts or insights in this area. In any case, for the Americans--Happy Thanksgiving, for the non-Americans, I hope the spirit of the Thankgiving season reaches your neck of the woods in a positive light too! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Giving Thanks
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 9:12 pm 
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Thank you, Harmonium! This post is wonderful. I like the list of ways to be grateful, some which I had never thought of before.

I'd like to state some of the things I am grateful for: my husband, children, grandchildren, my father, my friends, my community, my health, my job, my house, my country. I am thankful for being able to see, walk, think, talk, read, write, type, and eat. There is so much to be grateful for if we stop and think what we have, and not what we don't have. I am thankful for the ability to change and grow, to work on myself to be a better person. I am thankful to be a human being, not an animal. I am thankful for my feelings, whether joyful or sad, for without them, I'd be a statue. I am thankful for the opportunity and ability to put my thoughts into words so that others can benefit from them.


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 Post subject: Re: Giving Thanks
PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:26 pm 
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Thank you Wondering!! I am grateful for you and this board!!

I really like your list--many treasures to see! I especially relate to:
Quote:
I am thankful for the ability to change and grow, to work on myself to be a better person

I am incredibly grateful for this ability in my own life.

My list today includes:
I am grateful for my cats; they are real companions in times of stress- they make me smile.
I am grateful for my daily run; it helps my body and clears my head.
I am grateful for my heater; it's cold outside!!
I am grateful for my relationship with my H; it's challenging, but today I saw true love.
I am grateful for for my friends; enough said.
I am grateful for some new-found cooking skills; and the ability to possess them.

These are just some of the many things I am finding to be grateful about. When I look, really all of life is a gift or at least a privilage and I believe it is worth treasuring and acknowledging all the small things that make up the whole.

I am grateful just to be. I am grateful I continue to adapt, strenghten and learn from this world and all the fantastic people I have met along my journey. :)

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"Pain is resistance to change."
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 Post subject: Re: Giving Thanks
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:59 am 
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I am grateful to be me. Despite all of my problems, both mental and physical, I would not want to be anyone else.

I'm grateful for my wonderful son, my H, and my twin sister. I'm grateful for having had the best parents in the world! I'm grateful for wonderful in-laws and brother-in-law. I'm grateful for my terrific cousins and aunt. I'm grateful for all the wonderful relatives I had, who are no longer here.

I'm grateful that I finally have a beautiful home. I'm grateful for the safety and comfort it gives me.

I'm grateful for my friends - and grateful for the Internet which has kept me connected with friends and family.

I'm grateful that I can read. I'm grateful for the knowledge these books have given me.

I'm grateful for the traveling I have done all over the world. It has given me a perspective that I could not have obtained otherwise.

I'm grateful that my son is gay. It makes him who he is, and has also given me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people - straight and gay - who have changed my life. It has given me the opportunity to advocate for GLBT people.

I'm grateful for my T and doctors who help keep me in one piece. Without them, I don't know where I would be.

I'm grateful for my love of music. It's what first attracted me to my H. We share that love and enjoy listening and learning about music. It's a very important part of my life.

I'm grateful for being an identical twin. I know I've griped about my sister here, but things are better now. I can't imagine what it would be like not to be a twin. She is my best friend!

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 Post subject: Re: Giving Thanks
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:06 am 
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What a great list, BG!! Thanks for sharing!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Giving Thanks
PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:29 pm 
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It was great reding your thankgivings - thank you!

Today, the first day of the new year, I'm greatful for a number of things:
my friends
my (somewhat neurotic...) cat
the Virgin Mary, who has helped me through hard times
that I made it through a really bad day today
for chocolate (thankyouthankyouthankyou!)
for the generosity I received through friends and relatives during 2008
for beeing able to see, hear, walk, write, and other things I just take for granted everyday
Thank you!
/Linda

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