Long before we get to the table laden with turkey, cranberry sauce and over-sweet yams, we are face-to-face with the challenge of gratitude all month long. For most of the year we can duck and dodge the pressures of thankfulness, and most people do -- openly admitting to having a terrible time accepting compliments, much less the larger implications of being truly loved.
So the questions must be asked: Why do we have such a difficult and sometimes painful time receiving the blessings of other people's affection, admiration and sincere love? What is so powerful that it so often fiercely defends against the uptake of that which would transform our insecurities, reduce our anxieties, and feed our comfort and creativity in the world? What makes us work so tenaciously to play ourselves down, fighting off the praise that knocks so loudly at our door? What is so powerful that often we don't even hear the knocking as a joyous visitor -- but rather as a rude intruder?
The fact is we live in prozac land, a world in which putting one another down is considered funny, punishing children's spirited relationship with life is commonplace and the resulting wide spread depression is written off as biochemical. Or is it?
Maybe we are so blind to the forces that squash the life out of us -- the brilliant, the exuberant, the spiritually dazzling -- that we can't even begin to question why we are so allergic to compliments, why our divorce rate keeps exposing how difficult it is to be loved and loving. Maybe it's long overdue for each of us to embark on an individual campaign to be recognized and respected and valued for our unique gifts and talents. Not as an exercise in narcissism, but as an exercise in receiving and then experiencing and expressing sincere gratitude.
But then, notice, we will have to give up our "safe" invisibility, our false modesty and most of all our loggy depression that protects us from being truly alive.
For when we allow someone's praise and love to truly fertilize our soul, we feel more and more of the life force awakening within. We become less and less able to stay remote, vaguely unhappy with life but unwilling to do anything about it. When we receive and feel gratitude, we want the whole world to feel the same way. We surrender our isolation. We come out of our shells. We reach back to embrace the one who graced us with their spiritual generosity. And in so doing, we are changed, transformed, made more (w)holy.
But all of this liveliness comes with a price. We must leave the outer shell of false humility behind. When we do, we become exquisitely aware of anyone who speaks negatively about our value, placing ourselves in the situation of having to do something about it or not. And we must shed those who cannot accept the magnificence that each and every one of us is.
This Thanksgiving give yourself the gift of your own unique value and vow to never again allow another to put you down, to mock you, to in any way block your light! And, at the same time, make a commitment to practice saying "Thank You!" from the bottom of your heart each and every time you are graced by another's positive recognition of who you are.
We wish you a Happy Wish Bone and the very best Thanksgiving you've ever had.
© 2008, Judith & Jim
I have always made a distinction between my friends and my confidants. I enjoy the conversation of the former; from the latter I hide nothing. - Edith Piaf
Judith Sherven and
Jim Sniechowski are husband and wife and the best-selling
authors of four books: "The
to Love 365 Days a Year" and
Loved for Who You Really Are: How the differences
between men and women can be turned into the source of the
very best romance you'll ever
know. Their fourth is
Smart Couple's Guide to the Wedding of Your
Dreams, an important book for
anyone who cares that weddings support the couple and the
marriage they are creating. Claim your free relationship
tips at www.makingtheordinaryextraordinary.com
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