Thanksgiving. It’s about being grateful, right? About recognizing all the external stuff in our lives that we should be feeling gratitude for. That’s all fine and good, but this year I want to challenge you to step up your game. I want you to channel that gratitude in a completely new and different direction.
Because here’s the problem: Quite often, there’s a subconscious program running when it comes to the concept of gratitude. We’re told again and again that we should be grateful for the good things in our lives, but what if - gasp - you know on some level that “grateful” doesn’t quite accurately describe what you’re truly feeling? Then you’re forced to pretend to be thankful, so that no one will discover your secretly dark, ungrateful heart. Now you’ve given yourself one more thing to be inauthentic about, one more thing to judge yourself for, one more opportunity to energetically beat yourself up.
Let’s face it — being authentically grateful is not as easy as it sounds! And there’s a reason for that. We’ve been programmed to look outside of ourselves when making those lists of things to be grateful for. Our homes, the food on our tables, our luxuries. Even if we nobly look past the more materialistic aspects of our lives and focus on being grateful for our relationships with loved ones (which is a step in the right direction), we’re still looking outside of ourselves.
And guess what. Deep, real, delicious joy doesn’t ever happen from the outside in. Can you feel the truth in that? We keep thinking: ”As soon as I can get xyz in my life, I’ll have this joy thing in the bag. Then I’ll be truly grateful.” But what happens when xyz shows up? That’s when we decide it’s really abc that we wanted after all, and we start chasing abc instead.
But xyz, or abc, or whatever pdq-circumstances you manage to manifest will never bring you true happiness, no matter what they are . . . until you learn the most basic, most misunderstood, most significant skill you’ll ever master: the art of deeply loving and accepting YOU. That is the only path to daily, sustainable, joy, and the only position from which it’s possible to feel the deep bliss of authentic gratitude.
So here’s my Thanksgiving Challenge for you: Before the family arrives, before the turkey goes into the oven, before the bags are packed for the airport . . . carve out a bit of time for YOU. Sit in silence with the intention of deeply, sweetly, loving YOU and feeling gratitude for who you most truthfully are. If that brings up some discomfort, allow yourself to feel grateful for the realization! Make a commitment to finding things to love about yourself and new ways to accept and honor YOU. Do a NakedWriting with the prompt, “If I wholeheartedly adored and accepted myself, it would be for these reasons: . . . ” Then treat that list like the pure gold that it is! Read it several times a day! Commit to believing it!
Celebrate even the smallest shifts you’re able to make in your ability to genuinely love yourself. That IS something to be truly grateful for! You’ll start to notice how releasing your long-held self-judgments just naturally makes you less judgmental of others. You’ll start to notice how being at peace with yourself causes all of your surroundings and life-situations to magically become more peaceful as well. You’ll discover that the more authentic your love for YOU gets, the more fun it is to freely pour love into everyone around you.
I promise you that if you make self-love your top priority, soon genuine THANKFULNESS will become your truest, most natural state of being.
(I’m super thankful this week to be featured in Breaking Limitations alongside many of my most beloved teachers — Eldon Taylor, Robert Holden, Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Joan Borysenko, Gary Renard, Sandra Anne Taylor, Denise Linn, Michael Neill, Deborah King, Marci Shimoff, and more. I’m tomorrow’s speaker! It’s a fantastic event, and you can still get in on it here.)