The holidays are an ideal time to express gratitude for all that we have. Many of us experienced more turmoil, conflict, disillusionment and frustration in recent months than we have before, and it is easy to forget how lucky we are, and what we can be thankful for.
This holiday season, I'd like to try to view things differently, to bring more hopefulness and gratitude into my life. I invite you to do the same. It's all in the way you see things -- and little things still mean a lot.
I know it's difficult -- maybe impossible in some cases -- and many people struggle with greater issues than the ones I have outlined here. But in the spirit of the season, why not try to "press the reset button" and challenge the reflexive thoughts that make you short-tempered and distraught?
So...what if you thought differently?
1. Complaining about the election results, you were grateful for your right to vote and the right to choose.
2. Wishing you had a higher paying, more fulfilling career, you were thankful for a job that supports you.
3. Criticizing members of your family, you felt appreciative of a family who is doing the best they can.
4. Feeling frustrated that you don't have the latest model car, you felt good about the fact that you have one.
5. Feeling tired of the same, old furniture, you realized that you were lucky to have furniture.
6. Loathing your perceived enemies, you understood how powerful their influence was in your life, as they taught you about fortitude and shaped your character.
7. Complaining that your favorite food isn't on the table, you truly recognized the abundance made available to you.
8. Becoming frustrated by tangled Christmas tree lights, you realized that at least you have a tree to decorate.
9. Piling up credit card debt so you can buy the latest, greatest gifts, you realized that the best gift is that of meaningful time spent with your friends and loved ones.
10. Burying yourself in your electronics, you spent some quality time with your friends, spouse or kids.
11. Getting down about your situation in life, you realized that your heart, mind and spirit will pull you back up again -- eventually.
12. Complaining that there is nothing to watch on television, you listened to music to lift your spirits.
13. Becoming frustrated by too many social engagements, you were thankful for the friends and family who included you.
14. Thinking negatively, you allowed laughter to bring more joy into your life.
15. Feeling guilty about the mistakes you've made, you realized they were there for you to learn from all along, and you became a better person for it.
16. Resenting those who have wronged you, you realized that, as much as you may want to retaliate, they were your most effective teacher.
17. Grumbling about the "Christmas cold" you're suffering through, you were thankful for an immune system that brings you back to health.
18. Arguing with your partner or family members about never-ending holiday details, you made light of the stress and tried to make each other laugh.
19. Getting down on yourself over the fact that you need to lose a few pounds, you honored a body that supports you and creates energy from the food you put into it.
20. Speaking condescendingly of others, you built them up -- building your soul in the process.
21. Wishing that the holidays would be over, you realized that's like wishing an important piece of your life was missing -- and even if it challenges you, you need to take hold of it, and treasure it always.