Be Thankful

This is the time of the year when we celebrate Christmas as well as settle down to evaluate our year. We are just a few days away from 2016, and we need to assess our performances in the outgoing year. No doubt that at the beginning of 2015, we all made a list of the things we hoped to achieve during the year, and now is the right time to take stock. As humans, there is a high tendency for us to focus on our unfulfilled desires and unattained goals. We beat ourselves up for falling short of our expectations or other people’s expectations of us. But come on, 2015 has not been without its glorious moments. There is a lot to be thankful for. While I cannot claim to know what is happening in your life, I can give you a few reasons to be thankful:

1. You are still here: ok, tell me it’s a cliché, but that doesn’t erase the truth does it? Life is a gift that you ought to be grateful for. There were people with great dreams and potentials who didn’t make it till the end of the year. Some had even achieved all you dreamt of achieving at the beginning of the year, but they couldn’t enjoy the benefits. Being alive means having another opportunity to turn your story around.

2. You have more successes than failures: A few weeks ago, however, I attempted to write the good things that happened in my life this year. I discovered two things: first, I had forgotten a lot of them until I started to count and second, the ones I remembered, they seemed so distant in my memory that I thought they happened last year. Again, if you are the type of person who learns from mistakes, then congratulations because you are the ultimate winner. All your failures in 2015 are lessons to help make 2016 more fruitful. Most of the successful persons I know have urged people to develop a healthy attitude towards failure. Failure is an event, not a character. If you have ever failed, congratulations because so did almost all successful persons on the planet. If you focus on the failure, you will give up; if you give up, failure will become your nature. So, why not make a list of your blessings in 2014 right now? But not before you finish reading this article of course!

3. Open up, don’t close up: when you focus on the things that are not working in your life, you close yourself up to the possibility that you are making progress. You may not be where you want to be, but you are not where you used to be. Whether by flying, running, walking or crawling, you must have moved forward. Open up to that possibility and be thankful for what you’ve got.

4. Being thankful doesn’t mean being satisfied: I can imagine someone asking, “Won’t being thankful mean that I am satisfied with my achievements?” No. Let me ask you a question of my own: do you think people are really ever satisfied with anything? Successful business persons always wish they are more successful. Brilliant students always want to do better. Record breakers always wish to be better so that their records can stand unbroken for ages to come. Being thankful doesn’t mean that you are sealing off your achievements; it simply means that you acknowledge that things could have been worse.

5. If you don’t see anything good in 2015, there may not be any in 2016: now hold it a minute before you turn cold on me! This is not a curse. Ungratefulness is not an action but an attitude. Whoever doesn’t see anything worth celebrating in 2015 may fail to see same in 2016. Little things add up to make big things. Whoever fails to see the little things in life may miss the big ones too.

6. Don’t judge yourself by other people’s standards: one of the major reasons for ungratefulness is that we compare our lives with people around us. I believe this usually starts from our goals at the beginning of the year. A lot of people set their goals in competition with other people. If you want to beat people in their own games, of course you will fall short. The best person to compete with is yourself. Considering your capacity at the beginning of the year (and completely ignoring other people’s standards), do you think you have made some progress? That calls for celebration doesn’t it? As we celebrate Christmas, let us be grateful for the miracles we have enjoyed during the year and let us prayerfully approach the New Year. Merry Christmas.

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