Thanks is an interesting word. It means to acknowledge someone or something else for something that you now have and to have a feeling of gratitude for what you now have. I wrote about how we are alone in our own worlds a while back. Even though each of us is the center of the universe as far as we’re concerned, thanks helps us put things in perspective and recognize other people’s hands in our life.
I look at my own view of the world and my own situation. I can see what I’m doing now and where I’m headed. But this view is only a narrow view of all that reality is or could be. There are probably those of you who can see things that I can’t. Maybe you’ve had an experience or learned something that I have yet to come across. In this regard, I know my perspective on life is pretty narrow amid the billions of people on earth.
The power of thanks here is recognizing that other people have value and insights to offer beyond my own. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a clue about life or reality. It does mean that I can take the time to listen to the perspectives of others without just flat rejecting them. In this way, the power of thanks allows me to incorporate more knowledge than I could otherwise accumulate – because I value others and their opinions, I’ll get insights from them I couldn’t otherwise get myself.
As I mentioned, we are each the center of the universe to us. Try walking around and looking at other people. From your perspective, each one of them is someone orbiting you and you are the center of the universe. The individual ego says that I am the one who is conscious, other people should look at me and listen to me.
The reality is far from this. Each person you walk around is the center of their own universe as well. You are actually just another human with two (probably) eyes walking around. Your thoughts, emotions, and deep feelings aren’t likely to be felt by those other people unless you engage in dialog with them.
When I give thanks for other people, it helps me see them more than just a person with two eyes walking around. I take my marriage situation, for example. As I get ready to move out next weekend, I do so with great hesitation knowing that a marriage of 13 1/2 years is not something to be taken lightly. I also recognize the immense kindness and goodness within Heidi and I don’t take that lightly either. I am so thankful for Heidi in all reality and it does make the strong feeling in my gut to get out on my own confusing to understand.
Thankful for Life
The power of thanks in life helps us appreciate each moment and what lies in store. I think appreciation is under-rated. If I appreciate someone or something, chances are, I am going to give back to them or help them in their life. Without appreciation, decisions can become cold and calculated without regard to the emotions and feelings of others.
I appreciate that I have my health. I can do pull ups now! I can do push ups, run, jump, bike, hike, and more. I’m not pain free mind you, but I’m thankful at this time in my life that I have a very active lifestyle. It is this appreciation that keeps me from doing anything wild and crazy with my shoulder or something that could really injure me.
I’m thankful for learning and the lessons life continues to teach me. Life is not easy by any means, but it also doesn’t have to be as hard as some people make it out to be. I’ve learned this year to take a step back and slow down. I still goof up sometimes and make silly mistakes, but I’m thankful for that part of me actually – the part that is willing to take risks and make silly mistakes. Because it shows courage and being thankful for the opportunity of life.
When I was in Ireland many years ago, the response for doing something helpful to someone was often, “Many Thanks.” It’s a saying I’ve grown to love. I truly am fortunate – I live in the United States, have a good job, have a good wife and two kids who appreciate me. For them to be supportive of me while I move out makes me feel a sense of gratitude that I can’t describe with words. It shows a willingness to work with me and it’s very much appreciated.
Being thankful is not a weakness. It shows a recognition of other people and things beside yourself. Often times in life, it takes more than one person to accomplish something. In all the progress of history, the efforts of many have been required to make the accomplishment happen. Today, I am thankful, regardless of what the future holds for me.
- Don’t Ever Let Anyone Uncenter You
- Feeling the Force
- What Happens In New York…
- Visiting City Creek Center, Salt Lake CIty, UT, 2015