Giving thanks on this day of Thanksgiving

This month is the month of Thanksgiving (at least in the US). Thanksgiving, officially is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November and is now known as the “eating holiday” because it is more defined by eating an abundance of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, pumpkin everything, and all kinds of pies (pumpkin, pecan, apple…) than by actually remembering to be thankful for anything (which was really the original point of the holiday). According to Wikipedia, “the event that Americans commonly call the ‘First Thanksgiving’ was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621.The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating ‘thanksgivings’— days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought. So it is these colonists that we can thank for the idea of giving thanks.

The idea behind Thanksgiving was supposed to be a day when we think about things and people that we are grateful for and when we remember those things and give thanks for them. Even though I am currently living in London, I still celebrate Thanksgiving every year. When I was in the US, Thanksgiving dinner would normally be a big group of family and close family friends gathering at my parents’ house. My home these days is too small for a big group, so my celebration every year is a smaller one, just with close friends and their children. I do focus on the food of the holiday of course (that is after all one of the best parts). But I also think it’s important to not forget the thankfulness part of the holiday. After all, how often do we really remember to be grateful for what we have. Normally, it’s the opposite: we walk around thinking about what we lack, what we don’t like, and what we’d like to change, or at least where we’d like to be eventually (that isn’t where we are at the moment).

But, though looking to better ourselves in our lives is of course a very important part of self-development and achieving success, it is no less important in the achievement of happiness than being grateful for who we are and what we’ve already achieved. In fact, according to Harvard Health Publications in their online article about the research about gratitude they write that “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Getting in touch with what one is grateful for, either about themselves or about their life or Partner, is an exercise I do with my clients when I help to refocus them on the positive. By looking at what we do have, rather than focusing on what is missing, we are able to very dramatically begin to change our life outlook, which therefore begins that change towards that better life and love life that we crave.

So in this very important time of Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to the important people in my life who are the reasons why I am here and why I’m making the work I’m doing with clients and with women in my workshops and women’s groups into my mission. Thank you. I appreciate you all.

Julia xx

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