To Inspire: Gratitude vs. Thankfulness vs. Thanksgiving



Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

~ Melody Beattie

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.

~ Henry Van Dyke

Think about the word “Thanksgiving.”  It commonly is used to represent the holiday we celebrate today in the United States, but it also is an action of expressing thanks.  We should give thanks every day of our lives, but today it should be at the top of our list of things to do.

There are many things to be thankful for including food, clothing, employment, a warm home, etc.  But for today, I encourage you to focus on giving thanks to the special people in your life who have influenced who you are today.

I recently heard a speaker describe six key relationships that influence most everyone in life.  I share them as a recommendation for the relationships to focus on giving thanks.

  1. Mother.  Pretty obvious one here, but I like that it is top of the list.  You would be alive today if it wasn’t for your mother.  She deserves your honor and respect, especially today, for giving you life.
  2. Father.  Right there next to mother, your father is likely an influential role model in your life.  If you haven’t expressed your love and given thanks in a while, today would be a great day to do it.
  3. Teachers.  I know I’ve had many teachers influence me in my life.  One of the most significant was Rita Lowy when I was at Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington back in the 80s.  She believed in me.  I’m not sure I would have made it through math if it wasn’t for Mrs. Lowy!  Today would be a good day to give thanks to those teachers who influenced you to be great.  They don’t get a lot of thanks for what they do.  A surprise message from you would make their day.
  4. Friends.  Friends influence who you are and how you feel.  How many times has a good friend been there for you when you needed them most?  Today is a great day to give thanks to your friends.
  5. Country.  I know you might ask how you give thanks to your country.  I suggest to live and represent what it stands for as a general rule.  At a minimum, I encourage you to thank those in the military.  I have a good friend who thanks every military person he sees for their service to our country.  I know another leader who gives up his First Class seat on airplanes to any military personnel who is riding on the plane as a way to express thanks.  A great example of true axiom leadership and a great expression of real thanksgiving.
  6. God. I don’t know your religious affiliation, but I believe there is a God and that He loves us.  He gave us this world and the opportunity to experience life.  It has its challenges, but it also has its beauty and wonder.  All are reasons to give thanks.

As a final thought, I have another video to share.  A good friend of mine, Michael Wade, sent me a link to a five minute video focused entirely on gratitude.  It shares people from around the world and encourages us to really see them, experience them, and also have gratitude for all that we enjoy in life.  I thought it fitting as a way to close my Thanksgiving post.

Check out the video here.

Choose to give thanks.  Happy Thanksgiving.



One thought on “To Inspire: Gratitude vs. Thankfulness vs. Thanksgiving

  1. Thanks for this.

    It is so important that we all make Thanksgiving a priority in our lives. It is sad to me how much Black Friday continues to consume more and more of this sacred holiday. Black Friday can teach the exact opposite message. Instead of being grateful for what we have, it encourages us to think of what we don’t have and give us a desire for many things we don’t need.

    Like your Quotes state, Gratitude is the true way to find happiness and satisfaction in our life.

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