Thanks, but no thanks.


Gratitude is hard to maintain sometimes.  It’s like herding cats or raking water uphill.  It takes a lot of work to maintain that posture of the heart.

It’s fleeting.

It’s not hardwired in naturally and takes renovation of the heart/mind to make it “natural”.

It’s also very difficult because we live in a time that projects “awesomeness” of others and their stuff.

We use to be rarely exposed to how awesome “it” (that thing or experience) would be.  You might occasionally hear about a king or lord.  You might annually go to a festival and be exposed to “the more than” experience.  But honestly, your life would have been meek.

Then came industry.  Then came business.  Then came capitalism with the need to sell you stuff.  Then came the advertisers.  This was still manageable to some degree because if you weren’t in the market for a car, car advertisements could be ignored.  And I’ve never had desire after a tampon commercial (honestly, those advertisements produced gratitude).

Now we live in a new time where we are all advertising to each other all the time.  Marketers can now rely of the individual to show off their products to all their “friends/followers”.   Disney knows that if you go to their parks, every friend you have online will be getting the brochure with your pictures in their feed.

It’s becoming harder to be thankful when everyone else’s life is so “awesome”

Now we all know this isn’t really true, but we forget just long enough to desire more.

This is happening to a lot of us one small paper cut at a time.  It’s a slow burn that seems silly to complain about.   But it’s toxic.

It turns everything into a binary of awesome or not, and if it’s not awesome, something is wrong.

So my hope is to start enjoying (being thankful) for the “not awesome”.

  • …enjoying a book that only means something to me
  • …enjoying an 8-4 TAMU and 4-8 Cowboys season
  • …enjoying playing board games with my kids (sometimes awesome….but not all the time…ie UNO last night)
  • …enjoying times with family even if there isn’t a lot to talk about
  • …conversations with my dad
  • …running
  • …watching TV with Lindsay

I love social media and see the good that it can bring. I hope this season it will become less of “look at what _______ got or did”, “they are so awesome?” OR “look at what I got or did”, “how awesome am I?”.

Maybe it could become something else.   Not sure.  Maybe a bunch of posting the “not awesome” or just being more honest about whom we really are.

Maybe that could happen.

Or maybe we could just be thankful for who we are and what we have (good and bad), and have that reflected in what we “share”.

I don’t know.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  There is no fluff.  Just “let share a meal and give thanks”.  It is short lived but it is still awesome without having to be awesome.  Nothing great has to happen.

Gratitude is the bedrock for so many good things and has no downside.  In investment terms, it has a great ROI.

  • If you’re grateful, there is no war on Christmas.
  • If you’re grateful, there is no pressure to give or receive.
  • If you’re grateful, there is no rush.
  • If you’re grateful, you are present.

Here is the key takeaway for myself:  I can be grateful in a sea of ingratitude.  It’s my Life preserver.

“In everything, give thanks”

-Paul of Tarsus


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