Thanksgiving is the best holiday. It is certainly the best reason to have a holiday. We have so much to be thankful for, but we often forget. Life is hard and it is easy, and understandable, that we sometimes get caught up in all the negative stuff. There is a lot of negative stuff too. With so many people killing other people, people abusing other people, and people just in general using other people, it easy to overlook the good stuff. That’s why Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. Whither you are religious or not, even if your life is not so good at the moment, you probably have something to be thankful for. Sometimes you do have to look for the good stuff. And that is what you should do this Thanksgiving: Take a moment to look for the good around you and in you. If you are having it tough, there is no need to deny that, but maybe you can still find something good. Perhaps a quest to find the good stuff can become a habit.
Here are more thoughts about Thanksgiving:
Secular Gratitude. Whereas the religious are thankful to their , the secular should also be grateful just because we have so much. The American holiday of Thanksgiving is just as valid for a secular humanist as it is for anyone else.
We Live in A Hard World. Many of us do not know how hard some people have it, or how hard it could be for us, if our circumstance changed just a bit. Almost half of the world’s population has problems getting clean, drinkable water. Much of the world lives with a constant threat of violence, either coming from outside the home or within. Despite what violence there is in the United States and other free countries, it could be much worse. We can be thankful that there is so much less violence and often when there is violence we have means of getting help.
You Are Not as Secure as You Think. In The United States and other developed countries, we feel secure, believing that we will always have the necessities to survive and be happy. However, those necessities are not guaranteed even in the wealthiest countries. Economic calamities do happen, and the environment can change for the worse, turning farmlands to deserts. Bad things can, do, and will happen. So when something good happens, we should be grateful.
What You Got to Be Happy About? If you have something good in your life, you should take a moment to acknowledge it, even if just to yourself. Especially to yourself. Giving lip service in public about how grateful you feel because you have a home, job, or a good mate is easy, what is important is to really recognize–to yourself–that you do have those good things. Internalize it.
The Fallacy of Self-Gratitude. Here is one pitfall to all this thankfulness and gratitude. That is the belief that because you did it—you managed to get a home, job, or a good mate—everyone should be able to do it. This attitude is perhaps worse than no gratitude at all. This denies the amount of luck, good and bad, that fills every person’s life. Even someone who has worked very hard for what they have is lucky. They are lucky they have the habit of hard work. Yes, they had to take advantage of their opportunities, but they are lucky to have had an opportunity or the knowledge to take advantage of that opportunity. Be grateful for what you have, even feel some pride if you worked hard to achieve it, but also be humble.
Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. -Joseph Addison, writer (1672-1719)