If you’ve let me in your life for a while, you know I’ve trained myself to turn to gratitude daily, even in the face of disappointments and the shit hitting the fan. So with Thanksgiving upon us in the U.S., of course you’d expect me to encourage you to list out all the things we’re grateful for this year. So we see our gravy boat as half-full instead of half-empty.
You probably know the drill: Sit quietly with your journal or a pad of paper and write down every single thing you’re grateful for. Even small things that you perhaps take for granted. I've done this countless times—on Thanksgiving and just a regular Thursday—and you not only feel the gratitude afterglow for days, but you’ll also have a long list to pull out and focus on whenever you’re feeling down in the months to come. So join me and get your gratitude on.
But before I set you loose, we need to acknowledge the elephants in the room. You know, all the things that have made this effing year so hard in so many ways. During this week of gratitude, I'm certainly not suggesting that any of us should try and sprinkle fairy dust over all the emotional, physical, financial, familial challenges that have spread along with Covid-19. I'm a no-BS, pragmatic girl, and I believe in calling out shit when we see it or experience it.
So when my friend and colleague Liz Mascio shared an UNTHANKFUL post on Facebook last week, asking us to share things we're oh so not thankful for, “because sometimes we just need to vent,” I thought this was brilliant. And I want us to take it a step further.
Before we make our massive, comprehensive Grateful List, I want us to make another list of all (and I mean All) the things we’re ungrateful for. I’m calling mine my Pissed-Off List; feel free to have fun with the name of yours. It’s not healthy for us to gloss over all the things that disappoint us, derail us, and have taken a big old dump on our plans this year. Let’s call them out, release them by burning or shredding the list, and create lots of room for our gratitude and glass-is-half-full-ness to make some serious merry this season and tackle the rest of this winter. Here's a preview of mine:
I’m Pissed Off that we’ve had to cancel 3 trips.
I’m Pissed Off that I’ve responded to a lot of this stress by stress eating and now have more weight to lose than our turkey weighs.
I’m Pissed Off that Nate is spending his freshman year in high school at home.
And my list will go on and on.
Here’s what’s amazing about this. As I started writing down just a few of the things I’m unthankful for, I found my mind flipping to, “Yeah but you still have credit on all those trips,” and “Yeah but you had a blast and know how to get the weight off and will remember how shitty this feels,” and “Yeah but how amazing that he has made the most of the flexibility and slayed his classes and got super involved in virtual things and increased his resilience.” I can already tell that all this yeah but-ing is going to make my Grateful List even longer.
So before or soon after you carve the turkey, carve out time for yourself to make these two lists. And report back in the comments about the big A-HAs it gives you.
Here’s another thing that’s going on my Grateful List: all of you. The fact that you read what I put out in the world—whether through my blog, my #HaveItAllSisterhood newsletter, my social posts, my books—and let me in some way touch your life is a joy-filled privilege. Sharing with you has certainly been one of the things that has gotten me through 2020, and I hope I’ll continue to make you think, laugh, explore and evolve in the months to come.
Much love and strength and good health to you and yours. And remember to report back with your A-HAs and share this with someone who could use a half-full gravy boat!