It’s that time of year when the leaves change color, the weather becomes cooler, and society focuses more on thankfulness. Browsing store displays, there are endless expressions of thanksgiving. It wraps around decorative mugs in Instagram worthy calligraphy with phrases such as “Give Thanks”, “Grateful”, or “Blessed”. However, is giving thanks a momentary motto that we have during the seasonal change or is it something we practice regularly? Thanksgiving and thankfulness. These are words that you know, but what do they mean to you personally? Let’s start simply with definitions and this will allow us to better understand their significance and role in our lives.
: a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness, the act of giving thanks, a prayer expressing gratitude
: conscious of benefit received, expressive of thanks, well pleased
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” Aesop
Being thankful is characterized by a sense of awareness. It is taking stock of the inventory of your own life. I have noticed that practicing thankfulness allows me to change my perspective. When I am not thankful, I tend to focus on myself, my circumstances, or compare myself to others. Yet, a thankful heart allows you to view things differently. Thankfulness calls to remembrance of the things you do have and renews your appreciation of them.
Not only is being thankful important but being able to express it is too. We can express our gratitude through various ways such as with words or by actions. There is an aspect of intentionality involved with thanksgiving. A choice. It is only up to us whether we choose to be thankful.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
William Arthur Ward
In season or not, practicing an attitude of gratitude should be something that all of us strive toward. By the time you are reading this the Thanksgiving holiday will have already passed. The beauty of thanksgiving is that we can express thankfulness year-round. Today, I am thankful for you and that you took the time to read this blog. In your cornucopia of life, what things are you thankful for?
Kalifa Stringfield is a Masters student in the Department of Biotechnology