Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and pause around gratitude, sharing this with the people closest to you. Families come together from near and far to share meals, games, conversation, walks and other activities. Many have the tradition of going around the table to express the things they are grateful for, which can include health, the food on the table and each other.
These practices are a wonderful way to slow down and be in the moment. All of the usual things to honor on this day never get old but rather serve as important reminders before everyone slips back into their flurried lives. And it feels like this Thanksgiving is particularly poignant after all that we as a society have gone through together. Covid impact and the emotional drain of the political landscape over the last several years has been enormous. Things have improved in so many wonderful ways, albeit concerns remain.
I’m a therapist who has worked with individuals and couples throughout the last almost two years, practically non-stop. Much of the work, especially in the first year, was around themes related to the emotional and relational impact of Covid and political divisions. Recently, the therapy topics are less directly related but a good portion of my clients are still working on issues involving echoes of this impact. Some are finally addressing relationship strain, having difficult transitions back to “normal” life or are reflecting upon how they have changed.
As I consider the body of the therapy work over this time period, the other thing that stands out is how hard people have worked and how deeply they have dug to tap into their own resilience. The show of strength, determination and the ability to work through their anxieties, worries, sadness, grief while grabbing the brass ring of hope has been humbling to participate in.
This time is so unique in that literally the entire world bore witness to it. Yes, our perceptions of the narratives have been different for complicated reasons, but the reality is we all have been going through these challenges together. We have desperately needed each other but you also have desperately needed you.
Be grateful for you.
I don’t believe there is anyone who has not had to overcome their own challenges or concerns over this time period. Your personal internal or external battles have been unique to you. Yet you’ve persevered as we near the eve of this special Thanksgiving, this one with an added infusion of hope compared to the last.
So when you gather with friends and family, as you reflect upon what you are all grateful for, be sure to also give a nod to yourself, either internally or aloud. Perhaps it will be for your tenacity, your ability to push through hard things and knowing now you can do it. Or maybe it will be for your efforts in keeping your family grounded and together during turbulent times or your better honed self care skills being single and alone for much of the pandemic.
Whatever it is you offer yourself gratitude for, well done! And Happy Thanksgiving.