(Feeling grateful even for small harvests)
This month my Facebook newsfeed has been full of people posting their 30 Days of Gratitude. I blogged my 30 Days of Gratitude last year. But this year, I decided not to participate.
It's not that I'm against feeling grateful. I'm not ... we should reflect on what we are grateful for and as a mindfulness practice I find it very helpful. I think we should pause to note the abundance that we already have, especially in the season of harvest and before we hit Consumer-Christmas.
But, at the same time, the public naming of gratitude has a bit of the image-crafting problems that Facebook has brought into our online culture. Although I'm sure folks are usually just being genuine with their gratitude, the over-all effect of everyone listing all the things they are grateful for is ... a bit braggy. A bit off-putting.
Maybe it's just that, as Americans, we can turn even the 30 Days of Gratitude into a competition.
I found this quote in a book I'm reading right now:
If we only wanted to be happy, it would be easy: but we want to be happier than other people, which is almost always difficult, since we think them happier than they are.
--Charles de Montesquieu
When we edit our lives to highlight the best parts, we are projecting a fake life for all to see and admire. It's something most people do all the time, and I do not believe it to be malicious. It may even be appropriate to a large extent - airing our dirty laundry or complaining on the internet all the time would be a bit of a drag and show inappropriate boundaries. But still .... cumulatively we are all guilty of raising the bar of expectations so high that now we can all feel like failures. Cumulatively, mind, so please don't feel bad individually.
So, I'd like to say this about my own gratitude:
- I am so grateful for the blessings I have received, which are many.
- I love my family very much.
- I can lose sight of my blessings when I think of all I want or all I should do.
- It really is true, that it's not having what you want, but wanting what you have.
I wish all a joyous and gratitude-filled Thanksgiving.