This time of year, the theme of giving thanks is prevalent no matter where you look. Home décor, cards, commercials and conversations echo the notion of “Giving Thanks’ or ‘Being Thankful”. But, what does that actually mean when put into practice though? How can one actually give thanks?
Giving thanks is often linked to self-reflection. Taking a moment to pause and notice. Taking a look at your life and the world around you with the lens of gratitude. This is often not how we look at the world on a daily basis. Many of us get caught up in looking at ourselves, our lives and our world from a perspective of “what can we do better”. This sounds well intentioned until you peel back what that actually means. It means you are looking at your life to find what’s “not good enough”. You’re looking at the world trying to notice what is “wrong”. Problem solving skills are reinforced from a very young age and they are very valuable tools to have, right? Continue to fix what’s broken, enhance your life, better things to better our lives. The problem is, if we are looking at ourselves and our lives for the purpose of finding what’s broken, what’s not good enough, what we need for life to be better…guess what? You will always find it. But what if life is “fine”, “good enough” and even lovely exactly as it is, even if it’s perhaps imperfect? What would you see differently if you looked at life differently? In my work as a Therapist, we will often talk about gratitude for this very reason. Problem-based thinking and problem-solving skills are incredibly useful, but work best when balanced with gratitude. Looking and noticing what is. Noticing what your life is full of and looking at your world with gratitude, giving thanks for what you have. Gratitude suddenly makes what you have enough. Gratitude then becomes the antidote for a stressed and problem-focused perspective. It allows us to just BE present and notice without judgement. It means that sometimes you need to look at yourself and your life without trying to fix anything. In fact, without trying to “DO” anything at all. Just be.
So, the next time you’re out shopping, notice a pumpkin with the words “Be Thankful”, or a beautiful wooden sign that says “Thankful, grateful, blessed”, take pause and find a still, quiet moment in your mind to STOP and just notice with gratitude. Don’t do anything but notice with gratitude.
To help promote and practice giving thanks, we at the clinic have chosen to give back and build our community. In partnership with the Milton Community Resource Center (MCRC), we are asking our Healing Moments and Complete Wellness Community to give to the Infant Food Bank which supports children and families in Milton.
On behalf of the MCRC Infant Food Bank we are asking for donations of: ALL baby food, jars, boxed or pouches. Toddler snacks as well as diapers and wipes.
Nicole S. Chudzinski MSW RSW, Individual Couple and Family Therapist
Healing Moments Counseling (located within the Complete Wellness Clinic)