During the holiday season, being grateful and thankful becomes a front and center theme in our lives. We share on social media what we are grateful for, we write little "I am thankful for" notes, and our kids bring home "I am grateful" crafts from school. I beieve the holiday season brings out the best in us. A big part of the reason is that we give ourselves permission to be the giving and sharing people that we are at our core. If the theme of Thanksgiving and the holidays pervaded throughout the whole year, I think it could significantly change the world.
I was introduced to Thanksgiving ten years ago when I officially moved to the US from Australia. Over the past decade of focusing on being grateful at this time of the year I have gained one big take away. The key is learning how to be "truly thankful" versus "guilty grateful." So, what’s the difference? Have you ever had times in your life that have been challenging? Where you are not feeling the joy or fulfillment you desire. You begin to dream about changes you would love to make in your life. However, somewhere in the middle of that daydream you hear a voice. It starts to tell you "You should just be grateful for what you have." You have a job, you have a roof over your head, you can feed your kids. Why can’t you just be grateful?" And there is some truth to that voice. It's great to remind ourselves to be grateful for what we have in our lives.
More from YourTango: 5 Signs You Know You're A Working Mom
The problem we begin to face is when we start to go down the "I should" path of gratefulness. The path that leads us to being "guilty grateful." We might ask "what's wrong with me? I should just be happy with what I have" or tell ourselves we are not a good person for always wanting more, especially when others might dream of the life we have. Being "guilty grateful" can stop us in our tracks in life. It's sending the message that to be a good person we should just settle for what we have. Even if it might not be what we truly want in our lives. We end up staying stuck exactly where we are. We stop striving to make the changes we want. We feel guilty for wanting to do so. It leads us to feeling "guilty grateful" for our lives versus being "truly thankful." We thrive the most when we are striving to grow and change in our lives. When we stagnate and get stuck our light starts to flicker out.
So, what’s the solution? How do we shift from being "guilty grateful" to "truly thankful"? We just have to give ourselves permission. Permission to be truly thankful for the great things we have in our life. While also giving ourselves permission to continue striving for the changes we desire. Wanting to make changes in our lives does not mean we aren’t "truly thankful" for what we have. It means we're not willing to settle. We're not willing to let the "guilty grateful" take hold.
When doing the "share what you are most grateful for" rounds, remind yourself of this: it is OK when you say "I am truly grateful for having a job that enables me to support my family." And it's OK if you are also thinking "but I still want to find a job that allows me to spend more time with my kids." That’s when you can feel the shift of being "guilty grateful" to being "truly thankful."
Karen Steele is a Mom, Entrepreneur, Certified Professional Life & Business Coach and Founder of The Passion Shift. Download Karen’s FREE Training Audio Master The Passion-Shift Mindset: Learn How To Change the Rules So You Can Start Living Your Passion, Revolutionize Your Work Life & Free Your Time & Energy to Have More Fun With Your Family.
More from YourTango: Are You Ready To Make This Decision?
More personal development coach on YourTango: