By Dr. Paula Bloom
Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude. Families and friends gather around, eat a feast and name those things they are each grateful for. Most often (except for maybe the kids), the gratitude list is filled with non-material things. “I’m grateful for my health”; “I’m grateful for all of you”; “For me, I’m grateful to have a job.”
Now, like with New Year’s resolutions, how long does this recognition of gratitude last? In my work with clients over the years, I have found that the practice of keeping a daily gratitude list is a powerful way to counteract feelings of loneliness, fear and low self-esteem. You might want to try it!
Isn’t it interesting that, the day after Thanksgiving, many people’s attention goes immediately into the material. Black Friday?
Listen, I like to shop. I enjoy having beautiful things around me. Love the feeling of soft bedsheets to climb into after a long day. I am, by no means, “anti-stuff.”
There was time in my life where I felt that to be a truly mature and spiritual person meant letting go of all the frivolous stuff. I’d tell myself, “If I truly accept myself, then I shouldn’t wear makeup. I’d wear beige all the time. Why can’t I be like my friend who doesn’t care how she dresses in the least? Paula, you are so superficial.”
Now, I know that a part of who I am is an appreciator of aesthetics AND that that’s okay. I am who I am. There is a difference, however, between enjoying things and deriving all your purpose and meaning from the acquisition of these things. Most people don’t become happier when they get the car, the handbag or the big screen they desire. The good feeling tends to be short-lasting, and then our focus turns to the next thing we think will make us happy.
“And if you can’t be with the one (car, handbag or big screen TV) you love, honey; Love the one you’re with.”