Thanksgiving focuses on two major themes: thankfulness and gratitude. Both thankfulness and gratitude have similarities but there is one interesting difference: gratitude is thanks in action. Likewise, to be thankful is to put gratitude into action.
According to dictionary.com, thankful is an adjective which means “feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.” Gratitude is a noun, on the other hand, which means “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful”.
To be thankful or to be grateful is to be the other at the same time. Both terms have elements of deep appreciation. Appreciation takes recognition that something in particular as taken place. In order to be appreciative we have to be aware that something in our lives is worth appreciating. We have to take notice of what is going on in our lives around us and realize that there is something great happening here, something that deserves our special attention, something that catches our heart, mind, and spirit, all at once. We can observe and bear witness to many parts of our lives and even find thanks for those, like eating after being hungry for hours. Typically, our gratitude and thanks stem from something more profound, some aspect of our lives which humble us in a way that forces our awareness as well as our appreciation. More than finding a moment of thanks, we find a moment of perspective shift because our awareness turns into action, changing our mindset, and changing the way we choose to live our lives in the moment we find thanks.
Thankfulness in action isn’t reserved for one day of the year. We can find a way to be thankful and grateful every single day. Our lives are full of moments which beg our awareness and appreciation- but we have to be able to show up, see them, recognize them, feel them, and then become appreciative of them, to really dive into thanks for them. Living life high or intoxicated on drugs and alcohol generally inhibits us from recognizing the millions of things in life for which we can be grateful and thankful. Getting sober and living a lifestyle of recovery is the truest definition of gratitude and thanks- putting all our appreciation for the unique life we’ve been given, into action.
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