(Long Island, N.Y.) When celebrating Thanksgiving we are all reminded to feel gratitude. But often, the holiday is spent focusing on food or dodging family squabbles. For some tips (and reminders!) to stay grounded and thankful, I turned to Strategic Life & Relationship Coach Meryl Hartstein, author of “You Were Born to Shine” Confidence for Women, Internally, Externally, Eternally. Here, she shares her abundant wisdom.
- Reflect on the past. Although going back into ones past is not always a good thing to do, being a believer of leaving the past in the past, I do think that’s where one needs to go on Thanksgiving. Taking a trip down memory lane and weighing the good with the bad is a great place to start. Gratitude needs to be found deeply within the heart. It’s not about what you have now, today in the present, but more of what you didn’t have in the past. It’s also about what could have become of you without the good fortune you’ve been blessed with. It can be health, wealth or the absolute blessing of finding peace and purpose in your life.
- Think positive. Gratitude is one of the most important emotions one can possess. It prevents you from carrying around negative feelings such as anger, jealousy, resentment and self-pity. For its nearly impossible for those feelings to co-exist with gratitude. So when you are experiencing any of those extremely painful feelings, think about what you are grateful for and you will only be left feeling blessed and positive.
- Keep the peace. It’s a normal condition to be arguing with family throughout the years. I have yet to find any family that is not without conflict. On this special family day each year when we have turkey and all the trimmings, it’s a good practice to leave the conflict at the door. Remember, family is a gift. There is no one else that you can share your precious childhood memories with, laugh together at the crazy stories that you all grew up on, and loving the same people who share your bloodline.
- Pass it on. On this holiday, we must pass on the meaning of Thanksgiving to our children. They need to be taught compassion along with gratitude. Show them what the other side might be experiencing. Let them give back where they can. This is one of the greatest ways for them to truly appreciate their abundance. Sharing what they have with others less fortunate is a lesson well needed these days. Our children are so indulged with material things. With all the technology that is at their fingertips, they, along with us can lose sight of what truly matters. I believe that it might be a great idea to leave the cell phones away from the table on Thanksgiving. Allow them to listen to the stories of their past ancestors, their journeys to this country and reminding them that without these people, they might not have been as lucky as they are today.