Rethink the Order
We celebrate Thanksgiving this week in the United States. It’s a holiday that I love for many reasons.
A tradition in many homes on Thanksgiving is to ask, “What are you most thankful for?”
Growing up, I heard all types of answers from the serious to the hilarious.
The focus on thankfulness and gratitude is a welcome one in a world that’s often negative and draining. It’s impossible to feel entitled when you’re busy thanking those who have made a difference in your life. Expressing thankfulness has numerous benefits from reducing depression to boosting your immune system.
But today I was thinking about the holiday differently.
Because it’s not only about being thankful and grateful.
The equation, in my way of thinking, is backwards. We often think of it this way:
Giving ⇒ thanks.
We think of Thanksgiving as the time to give thanks. We stop and show appreciation, express gratitude for all that we have in our lives. And that’s good.
But perhaps the equation is supposed to be exactly as stated:
Thanks ⇒ giving
Instead of giving thanks as the end result, it’s the beginning. We should give to others as a result of our thanks. In other words, because of our thankfulness, we are to be giving. Does that way of looking at it change anything?
It does for me. I realize that I can use this opportunity to do more for others.
Instead of simply expressing thankfulness, what about getting active in the giving part of this equation? Thanksgiving is not only expressing thankful appreciation but also about paying it forward.