Dear Fellow Humans,
Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Surely you haven’t forgotten. But perhaps you thought we’d skip right over it this year, what with all of the Christmas stuff showing up so early at the store and in your neighborhood. Alas, I spoke with the Thanksgiving folks, and they assure me that Thanksgiving has not been cancelled.
*Huge sigh of relief*
As we head into the holiday, let’s consider the origins of Thanksgiving. Do you instantly think of Native Americans and pilgrims? Do you imagine simpler times (that were not really simple at all)? Maybe you go right to a table set with turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie?
Let’s look at how Merriam-Webster defines Thanksgiving:
- A public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness (the official Thanksgiving Day)
- The act of giving thanks
- A prayer expressing gratitude
No matter your religious leanings or feelings about the first Thanksgiving celebration, the spirit of the season has real power. Now more than ever we need to embrace this power and do some good with it. A quick glance at the news confirms what an understatement that is.
I’m not making light of what’s going on in the world right now. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m growing weary of the hate, fear, and pain we inflict on each other.
My plea for this Thanksgiving is that we all strive to move through our days with a mindset of kindness. Erin Smith may have said it best:
“Kindness. It doesn’t cost a thing. Sprinkle that shit everywhere.”
With those words in mind, here are a few ideas for giving thanks and celebrating the goodness in our fellow humans:
Lend a helping hand when someone needs it. Any one of us can get down on our luck and need help turning things around. That’s why we all benefit when we help our neighbors come out stronger from the other side of their struggle.
Don’t assume you know someone’s story. (In other words, don’t pass judgment.) When you see a person on the street looking ragged or out of sorts, don’t equate their appearance with their worth. Is it possible they just finished a double shift at their job and are headed home for some well-deserved rest? Or maybe they just received some heart-wrenching news that they’re working through? Give them the opportunity to get where they’re going with grace (and refer to the previous point, if applicable).
Recognize the importance of mental health. This one hits a personal note for me. Looking at everything going on in the world, it’s clear that dropping the stigma associated with mental illness would be advantageous for all of us. Educating ourselves and keeping a watchful eye on our loved ones can make a real difference. Ask the questions and support the healing.
Could shifting our focus to kindness make a difference? I don’t know the answer, nor am I delusional. We only have control over our own actions…and I choose to make the shift.
A human just like you