Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Give Thanks Every Day, Not Just on Thanksgiving

DEAR READERS: Happy Thanksgiving! This is my favorite time of year. It is a time when families get together and pause from their daily schedules. We eat together. We share chores. Sure, we may also have squabbles, but for many people, this is a time when we count our blessings in our personal lives.

For my family, Thanksgiving holds an extra special place because my daughter was born during Thanksgiving week. She turns 10 this year. As a tween, she is fully aware of how grateful my husband and I are that she is part of our life. We give her all of the love and guidance that we can, and we celebrate her birth twice because we spend the holiday with my in-laws in Florida and then her birthday with friends when we are back in New York City.

I mention this because I realize that these celebrations, large and small, which bring family and loved ones together, are critical to true happiness. For so many of us, working to put food on the table and to build our careers and lives gets in the way of calling our parents or siblings, aunties or uncles. The busyness of our lives sometimes makes it seem like we are fast-forwarding through our experiences rather than savoring them. Through what is largely a blur, events happen and we often miss the spectacular moments.

I learned years ago that it is the little things that count in life. The little things, the profundities, connect us to our hearts, to our friends, to our families. And it is up to us to pause long enough to see these profundities and honor them.

Historically, Thanksgiving Day has been that time in American culture that we set aside to express our gratitude and fellowship with loved ones. I love that this is what so many of us do. My mother taught my sisters and me to practice the act of counting our blessings. In tough times, she has suggested itemizing the good news in our lives. Doing so softens our hearts and lets love flow in.

I love the idea of counting your blessings on this day and everyday. Think about it. When you find yourself feeling frustrated or lonely or overwhelmed or limited or uncomfortable in any way, write down a list of the good things in your life. They can be simple, like that you woke up to another day. You greeted a stranger on the street and shared a warm smile. You have a roof over your head. Someone in the world loves you, and you love someone. What else can be on your list?

Trust that when you make such a list with focus and intention, even the hardest heart will soften. When you recognize and embrace the good in your own life, you create space for joy.