This blog post was originally written by Lauren Hannford in 2013. In honor of Thanksgiving 2019, Taylor Jolley gave it new wings (RIP, turkey friends).
When asked to write a blog about thankfulness six years ago, Lauren poetically laid out a case for the beauty of Thanksgiving and its transcendent impact on our mindfulness in this season. As I started reading, I was undoubtedly skeptical. Lauren loves Thanksgiving for all that it is – and I just plain don’t. In fact, I tend to loathe the day for all that it brings, from stuffing to stale conversations with people I haven’t seen since I was 14. When you’re considering which guests from the OPR team to invite to your Thanksgiving table, definitely give Lauren the invite and pass my desk over.
But as I read further through her monologue on meditative thankfulness, the ever-present truth really hit me. She shared a quote from a friend’s personal blog, which referenced an adage by author Jon Acuff.
One insult + 1,000 compliments = One insult.
As an Enneagram One and an avid try-hard perfectionist, this hit me like a ton of bricks.
Lauren said, “Sometimes we dwell on things like failures, tough situations, difficult decisions, trying to be perfect, hectic schedules, never-ending to-do lists and other ridiculous worries so much that we fail to see the things we should be giving thanks for. Guilty.”
AMEN, sister! When it comes to dwelling on failures, I’m the queen and Olympic gold medalist wrapped into one. I think twice a week about the time in the 11th grade that I tried to correct one of the “popular girls” in biology class only to be wrong myself. And in those moments, I’m sitting in a warm house with a sweet dog and a loving husband, all which I’m especially grateful for and should really be focusing on.
So, in honor of self-reflection and the holiday craziness, here are my revised 2019 tips to help you reflect on what you’re grateful for:
- Be present with people. I haven’t lived in the same town as my parents for eight years, and the holidays guarantee an opportunity to spend face time (not FaceTime) with them. I cherish those moments and the moments I get to spend with in-laws and friends I haven’t seen in a decade. Chat about fond memories and reminisce. Be grateful for their presence.
- Exercise! Here’s my unpopular opinion of the blog post – move your body, as you’re able. I’m especially grateful for my health and ability to move, and one of the ways that I center my thoughts is by mindfully exercising. During your time away from the office, work in some walking, biking, hiking, stretching, jogging or, in my case, yoga-ing and be grateful for the abilities you have.
- Give. Nothing makes me feel more grateful than giving of my time, abilities and resources. We do not carry all of the world’s problems alone, and we can use what we have to help others whose challenges are different from our own.
AND, here’s some bonus content. When you’re sitting at your desk, counting down the hours until your holiday vacation, make a list of work-related things you’re thankful for. I’ll start:
- Two hands that can type and a mind that can create.
- Co-workers who collaborate as peers and friends.
- An office with heat!
- A safe place to express myself, fail and learn.
- Clients – each with their own uniquely beautiful passions.