But the converse is also true, and symbiotically so. Gratitude for our blessings encourages us to share those blessings with others. And sharing those blessings in turn encourages gratitude for them. Want to feel more gratitude? Share your blessings. Want more blessings to share? Feel more gratitude. The best way to grow your gratitude is to share what you’re grateful for with others.
Remembering old traditions
Is that where the popular Thanksgiving tradition came from? You know, where everyone takes turns around the table sharing something they’re grateful for? There’s something about sharing our blessings with others and hearing them share their blessings with us that inspires increased gratitude for our own blessings.
I don’t quite remember whether my family had that tradition. The tradition I do remember is feasting on our typical family spread. My mother would cook a turkey roast in the slow cooker and then serve it with mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes baked with brown sugar and marshmallows, and of course my mother’s absolutely wonderful homemade yeast rolls. There was always pie for dessert.
Then after stuffing ourselves with the late lunch, we’d embrace our second great Thanksgiving tradition: a good game of Fat Dog. If you’ve never played Fat Dog, it’s really easy. You find a comfortable seat, raise your feet, put your hands on your belly, and pretend you’re holding jelly. (Actually, that last part I added just for the rhyme!) Seriously, there’s nothing like a good game of Fat Dog to help you feel grateful for good food.
Counting the blessings
As I think back upon those times, I feel grateful that I lived them. If you’ve ever had one of my mother’s rolls, you know all other rolls are inferior. I’m grateful I could have that experience. What a fond memory is now mine!
That’s not my only fond memory. I’m grateful my mother taught me how to cook. I’ve never been as good as she was, but that skill has proven very useful on multiple occasions. I’m also grateful for the values my parents taught me. They helped make me the man I am today.
I’m grateful for my education. My teachers taught me how to think rather than what to think. I’ve also had special opportunities to pursue higher education, starting in high school and continuing on through college. How many people can say they graduated with a bachelor’s degree completely free of debt? These days not many, but I’m grateful to be one of them.
And this may sound surprising, but I’m grateful for my romantic relationships that didn’t work out. Ostensibly that would be all of them since I’m still single, but I learned valuable lessons about myself and about life that I couldn’t have learned in any other way. Those lessons will serve me well when the Lord’s promises to me of an eternal companion are at long last fulfilled.
Sharing the blessings
Expressing my gratitude for my blessings turns my focus towards how abundantly I’ve been blessed. And immersing myself in that gratitude inspires me to share those blessings with others.
Perhaps the mere mention of one blessing will instill gratitude in someone else who reflects and remarks, “Hey, I have that blessing too.” Or perhaps hearing of my blessings will inspire someone else to help others to be as blessed as I am. Or perhaps — and this may be the most important outcome of all — just perhaps immersing myself in my gratitude for my blessings will inspire me to share my blessings with others by working to help them enjoy what I enjoy.
That’s the power of gratitude, and like a testimony you grow your gratitude when you share. So this Thanksgiving, be sure to share your gratitude. Whether by social media or by phone or in person or even in a journal that no one may read until years after your pen has touched paper, take a moment to share your gratitude for your blessings. You’ll feel the power of gratitude more fully in your life, and you’ll be inspired to work to share your blessings with others. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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