Next week is Thanksgiving, so it is perfect timing to discuss the power of gratitude.
Some families love Thanksgiving because they love getting everybody together in one place. Other families have Thanksgiving out of custom even though the members do not enjoy getting together with the rest of the family.
And of course there are so many families around the world that do not get together for Thanksgiving, due either to difficult circumstances or simply because they do not prioritize time together as a family.
There is no right or wrong, and it does not matter whether people sit and eat their faces off for Thanksgiving or not. This is because holidays are not about the food or the presents or the days off from work or school.
Holidays are for something more. They are about gratitude.
GRATITUDE VS. INSECURITY
It takes strength to express gratitude. A confidence to show vulnerability.
Those who battle with insecurities have a very difficult time being vulnerable. They may think that they are unworthy of someone else's attention, fear their vulnerability will not be received with compassion, or that anything they would want to share does not mean anything.
This leads so many youth, unfortunately, to get in the practice at a young age of learning how NOT to stand up for themselves.
Things get swept under the rug over and over to the point when the individuals end up saying "There is no point in me even thinking about what I want to say."
Many times, this has tragic consequences.
The confidence required to comfortably own your vulnerability and express it without any concern for its reception takes a lot of practice. A switch does not flip overnight.
Luckily for you, however, gratitude is an example of vulnerability that everyone has been taught how to express in one way or another when they were really young, so it is a wonderful starting point to lean into a little vulnerability.
START WITH YOU
You know the protocol on airplanes that you must secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others? Follow that same protocol with gratitude and vulnerability. Start with yourself.
For what are you grateful?
Start with the easy categories like materialistic items: car, home, money, significant other, etc. The low-hanging fruit of what you have. Make a list of those things that come to mind.
Then go deeper and think about those things ABOUT AND WITHIN YOURSELF for which you are grateful.
What abilities are you grateful to possess? What skills are you glad you learned at some point along the way?
Toward what things in life do you feel confidence?
Make a second list of those things.
Now you have two lists full of unique items that serve to remind you what means something to you in life and which make you feel good about yourself.
Showing gratitude to yourself and the qualities that you possess will diminish the fire inside you that your insecurities feed.
It will give you a moment of relief from the pressure and lack of confidence you may feel.
PRO TIP: think about the little things. Does the way you wear mismatched socks make you smile? Add it to the list. How about the specific way you pour sugar into your coffee? Put it on the list. These are unique to you, so call them out. No one is going to look at the list - yet...
PRO TIP 2: Do not force it. If you can only come up with a few items for which you are grateful, so be it. Let that be. There is no expectation for the number of items on the list. If you think you need more, that is just another insecurity and you will come up with things for which you are not actually grateful and which only serve to make the list longer.