In this season of giving thanks–literally, through gifts and (probably too much) food-love, and figuratively–it sometimes feels hard to channel what we’re really thankful for. Amidst the hustle and bustle of preparing and shopping and socializing, the holidays often turn into the most stressful four weeks of the year, instead of the most restorative and renewing. When you find yourself wanting to run away to the forest when you’re at the end of a miles-long check out line to buy the perfect pair of gloves for your sister, or at the receiving end of an interrogation from your great-aunt on why you’re not married yet, recall these five things as a mini-mantra for why it’s all worth it, now and all year long.
1. You love and are loved. The holidays tend to make the c-factor–the cuddle factor–spike, as we all long for that special someone to profess his or her love to us in a most endearing, if not slightly cheesy, way. Whether or not you’re in romantic relationship, you do deserve and have other hearts in yours that should not be forgotten. Your mother, your best friend, your teacher/mentor, your neighborhood barista (she’s always so cheery, even when it’s 6:45 AM and a line of uncaffeinated people is out the door), your cat–they all fall somewhere on the love spectrum. And most importantly don’t forget the ways you love yourself for just being awesome you.
2. You are compassionate. If you’re reading Peaceful Dumpling, you’re most likely a vegan or vegetarian or a person who’s generally conscious of the environment and the well-being of others. Your ability and willingness to make sacrifices for those we share this planet with is something you should thank yourself for doing every day.
3. You can. For all the moments that test your patience or make you feel helpless, be grateful for the fact that you are capable of more than you think. Stamina and endurance are biological mechanisms we all have to survive our harsh world, and on top of that we humans have free will and the ability to say Yes when a challenge arises, and come out even stronger for it.
4. But you also can not. For every time you say Yes, with enthusiasm and excitement, remember you can also say No. The power of turning something down for whatever reason is undeniable; it makes your instincts sharper and your respectability quotient higher. In the words of the inimitable Dear Sugar: “No is golden. No is the kind of power the good witch wields.”
5. You are here, now. This simple statement of calming, centering presence is so ubiquitous it risks being a cliche. But as with most cliches, there’s truth behind it. Yes, you Are here. Now. And nothing from the outside can change that fact. Giving thanks for your pure being in any given moment helps hone the power of experience for its own sake: it’s a recognition of a moment in time and state of being that you’ll never have again, even if it’s a painful or uncomfortable one. Each of these moments is a precious gift worthy of acknowledgment and thanks–and best of all, no one had to stand in line for it.
What things, big and small, are you most grateful for this year?
Also by Jennifer: 10 Must-Haves for Your Kitchen “Capsule Wardrobe”
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