Maturing Kindly: Expressing Gratitude
Thanksgiving may be over but gratitude should never end.
The concept of gratefulness was introduced to me very early in my childhood. During our annual thanksgiving dinner, we would join hands with another family member or friend and form a prayer circle. As each of us spoke what we were thankful for, I recall feeling anxiety about what I was going to say because I feared my reasoning wouldn’t be as good as the sentiments before mine. With the assurance of a gentle squeeze, I uttered my truth. Whether my testimony was one sentence or three, each year I gained more courage to express my happiness for making it to another level in my life.
Because of that experience, I’ve learned three ways to keep gratefulness at forefront:
Firstly, there is no time limit for gratitude. Contrary to popular belief, thanksgiving isn’t an assigned time slot for thankfulness. Victories and defeats happen to us daily. Unfortunately, we aren’t promised the luxury of another minute let alone another day, so it’s vital to unapologetically bask in the tests we’ve passed.
Secondly, no testimony is insignificant. More often than not, we hold back on displaying triumphs because we believe they’re not big enough. We believe no one will agree with us or see why it’s a big deal so we wait for something worthy for public appeal. To our detriment, we rob ourselves of encouraging others because blessings come through transparency not calculated relevance. In addition, every circumstance we champion is life-changing in some aspect. If we decide we’re just thankful for breathing, that’s enough.
Thirdly, be grateful for what didn’t happen. During some of my families revelations, they would begin with trials they faced up to that moment, as if to say “yes, I’ve been through this, but I’m still here.” This always resonates with me because we’re so quick to sulk in what didn’t go our way without recognizing we've ended up sharpened as a result of it. On the other side of our disappointment lies security in knowing what’s for us won’t miss us and what hurts us now, will surely make us stronger later.
Being thankful for things that happen in our lives isn’t always easy, but when we intentionally practice gratitude, it becomes a path to continual growth and a pure and joyful spirit.