On magazine covers, morning talk shows, and blogs, you start to see the “gratitude” theme popping up everywhere. You see articles like… “100 things to be grateful about!” … “22 fun ways to express your gratitude!” … “How to braise your turkey in unbridled gratitude!” … “Not grateful yet? 10 reasons why…” … “Science says: being ungrateful is ruining your life!” … and so on.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s a gratitude bonanza out there. I should know—over the years, I’ve written dozens and dozens of blog posts and newspaper articles on the subject of gratitude, random acts of kindness, giving, selflessness, philanthropy, caring for others, gratitude, and… more gratitude.
I think we all love gratitude and strive to live in a state thankfulness. I love the holiday spirit of caring and giving.
This Thanksgiving, what if we tried something different?
How about indulging in a Very “Selfish” Thanksgiving.
What do I mean by a “Selfish” Thanksgiving?
Well, I believe that there is Good Selfish and Bad Selfish. I think we all know about bad selfish, and we try so hard to avoid it, that we miss out on the life-saving benefits of Good Selfish.
I mean taking an extra day off work during Thanksgiving Week or some time during the holiday, for no particular reason, except to sleep in, and maybe get a manicure and pedicure.
In an ideal world, I would hang out with my son, and do other things that make me feel happy and worthy of care.
Can you imagine? So selfish.
You could make Thanksgiving dinner the way you want to make it. You could do a turkey breast, simple green beans, roasted sweet potatoes (hold the marshmallow) and a fun salad. You could even get a couple of the side dishes pre-made at the store to save time so that you can (selfishly) relax more with loved ones.
You could even use classy biodegradable bamboo dishes and silverware. Just add them to the compost pile when done.
Dinner companions could be compelled to tell hilarious stories so that you could (selfishly) lean back and just listen and enjoy.
You could (selfishly) hire someone to help tidy the house before out-of-town guests arrive so that you can (selfishly) be rested, grounded, and mentally present to greet them.
And (gasp!) instead of making the classic, annual “Things I Am Grateful For…” list, you might break convention and write a “Things I Like About Myself…” list instead. If you have a hard time with this, start keeping a happy file. Save every nice card or note you receive and peruse it occasionally. You might start believing all the nice things people say about you.
And after that? For me (selfishly,) I would do my absolute favorite thing ever: cuddle with Grant, read a bedtime story, tuck him in, and then slip out to savor a great book all by myself-ish.
So, how else might you have a Very “Selfish” Thanksgiving? How could you make things less stressful and more enjoyable for yourself? What’s your plan?
Life doesn’t have to be Pinterest worthy to still have meaning and intention. And Martha Stewart has a large staff to pull-off her seemingly effortless holiday festivities.
The truth is, if taking time to do something “selfish” makes you a less stressed, calmer, happier, more patient person with more energy for the busy day ahead, then that’s not actually “selfish” at all. It’s smart planning. And it’s healthy.
So please… join me in savoring a Very Good “Selfish” Thanksgiving.
Fill your cup, first, so that your gratitude runneth over.
Wishing you a beautiful holiday season… that’s exactly as “selfish” as you want it to be.
~ Dr. Sue