This time of year, the words “thankful” and “grateful” become common vocabulary.
After all, it is the month we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the states. By the time November 1st rolls around, the 25 Days of Gratitude posts begin to appear on Facebook, and we are reminded to tell our loved ones how thankful we are for them.
The holidays—the most wonderful time of the year—are upon us, like it or not, and we get an overall sense of warmth, kindness, and joy… seemingly more so than throughout the rest of the year.
Why is that?
Thankfulness fades; gratitude remains.
Think about that for a minute.
I came across this statement recently, and while it made me think, it also made perfect sense. There is a difference between the two, you know—thankfulness and gratitude. The terms are not as interchangeable as one may think; they are not synonymous, though you do need one to practice the other, and vice versa. Let’s explore…
Thankfulness is more of a happy feeling in reaction to a current moment—one that fades. For example, a stranger holds the door open for you, and you return a “thank you.” It’s how we were raised, right? To be polite and express thanks.
Thanksgiving, by its very origin, is about giving thanks. It began back in 1621 as a three-day festival to give thanks for the autumn harvest. (By the way, turkey was not on the menu. Sadly, neither was ham—but I’m glad it is now!)
Practicing being thankful is part of having an overall positive attitude. I remember my mom always saying (more like singing a little ditty) “Attitude, attitude—it’s all in your attitude!” when I was a teen. Those words will be forever engrained in my mind.
Being thankful, while also being polite to others, is a form of practicing gratitude.
So what is “gratefulness” then?
Gratefulness is an emotion—a state of being that includes a longer-lasting feeling of satisfaction. Being grateful improves your overall well-being. It’s not a fleeting moment.
Living a life of gratitude is a choice, just as happiness is a choice. One can choose to look for the positive, the good, the blessings—the things to be thankful for.
This quote from author Melody Beattie sums it up very nicely.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” That’s pretty powerful.
So why wouldn’t we want to do that for ourselves every single day, rather than only during certain times of the year?
I’d like to think I practice gratitude all year round. Mainly, I do it by regularly telling others I appreciate them; looking for the positive in every situation; saying “thanks”—probably more often than I need to; and, throughout the day, taking a mental note of the good that has taken place, no matter how small it may seem. Many times, I actually verbalize my thanks out loud.
Admittedly, I still have room for growth. I remain a work in progress in this game called “life.” As we all do.
Like everyone, I have times of sadness. Times when things don’t always go as planned. I encounter people who rub me the wrong way and “put me in a mood.” Even through the hard times, though, I choose to be happy every day, and I am grateful for who and what I have in life.
I encourage you to do the same. Gratitude is a practice of mindfulness… one that allows us to handle the “not so wonderful times of the year” with grace and acceptance. I also urge you to become a catalyst for change and make the world a kinder place by showing others, by example, how to be more grateful.
Like those moments of thankfulness, the holiday season will fade. I challenge you to carve out at least one moment (or more) for practicing gratitude every day. Maybe you write it in a journal, keep a list, start a gratitude jar, or simply acknowledge a moment or person you are grateful for each morning or evening before bed.
Today, I’d like to express my gratitude specific to this magazine:
- Thank you to everyone who has supported the efforts of Podcast Magazine over the years. You are very much appreciated, and I’m grateful for your recognition of this publication and what it’s meant for the podcast industry.
- I’m grateful for our fabulous designer, editorial team, and Category Directors, past and present, for their time and dedication to making this the best publication it could be, each and every month.
- Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t state my sincere gratitude to Steve Olsher.
Wishing you a fabulous holiday season and a lifetime full of happiness and gratitude.
November / December 2022