“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”2 Corinthians 4:16
Well, hello everyone!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there who also celebrates it!
Yikes. Thanksgiving already? Wasn’t it March three days ago?
Anyway, as soon as October 31st passes and Halloween is officially over (or sometimes before that for major retail stores), everything, everywhere, suddenly start screaming, “CHRISTMAS! HOLIDAYS! GIFTS AND FAMILY AND MEMORIES AND CHEESY MOVIES YOU PRETEND TO HATE BUT ACTUALLY CRY OVER EVERY YEAR!”
(I’m looking at you, It’s A Wonderful Life.)
Whether we are ready or not, society forces us into a state of frenzied cheer that lasts from the start of November all the way until the ball drops on New Year’s Day.
When I was younger, I was more okay with this “holiday hyperdrive.” But then, I had a very childlike mentality of “holidays = no school + gifts + lots of food,” meaning that I LOVED the constant fixation on the Christmas spirit and ate up all the holiday content around me.
However, now, as a 20-year-old college student with a ton of stress and responsibilities… the sudden expectation of holiday cheer is rather annoying, to be honest.
This is especially true around Thanksgiving.
Although this has become a somewhat forgotten and *ahem* controversial holiday (please don’t start fights in my comments, I know that Columbus and the United States did very wrong by the Native Americans), there is still one central idea surrounding Thanksgiving that has been emphasized year after year in America:
“Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be grateful for who and what you have.”
However, with everything going on in the world, from COVID-19 to political unrest, it is sometimes hard to bring me to feel happy.
Is that a problem?
Is being happy the same thing as being grateful?
I say no.
You can be aware and thankful for all of the blessings in your life and still have bad days.
One of the worst things I have heard said to sad, depressed, or frustrated people is: “just think about all of the good things in your life; you should be happy!”
This is bad to say to people going through tough times because, surprisingly, telling people that they should be happy when they are not USUALLY DOES NOT WORK. These kinds of statements tend to make people feel even worse about how they feel – not automatically happier.
You can be completely aware of how much you are loved, how lucky you are to live where you do and be healthy, and still feel stuck in a funk or trapped in a cycle of depression. It is like how people who are really rich or famous can still be depressed or have bad days.
Heck, most celebrities and the social elite have very public, explosive bad days. But we still think that they have “perfect” lives because everyone loves them, and they will likely never have to worry about their finances ever again.
Why do we believe that?
Because as a society, we have generally come to accept the concept that success means you are content, and contentedness means happiness.
But remember, happiness is not an emotion you can feel all of the time. And that is a good thing. We, as people, were given a massive range of emotions by our Creator. And while we might not like all of these emotions, they are entirely okay to feel. And none of them mean that you are ungrateful for what you have in your life or the opportunities you have provided.
This holiday season, if you feel guilty for not being hyper-cheery, remember:
Being kind to your mind means not manipulating how you feel. Instead, let yourself feel your emotions.
Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Stay safe and eat lots of turkey and fixings!
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Until next time!