After endless internet searches (which obviously ended or we wouldn’t be here now) and hours of scouring the internet (the web is a little cleaner now…you’re welcome) there is nothing to be found on the original origins of the “30 Days of Thankfulness.” A random search at the local library (kids – read words!) turned out to be familiarly fundamentally frustrating, futile and fruitless. In searching we do find that in some cases it’s referred to as “30 Days of Gratitude” as opposed to thankfulness (which is basically the same damned thing). However this applies more to a psychological exercise employed to better ones mental well-being through appreciation of our personal lives, as opposed to a holiday-based list of stuff to be thankful for. Though if you did it during the holidays it would seem it would count just the same…depending on the holiday you choose: St. Patty’s 30 Days of Drunken Thankfulness might not apply.
In questioning actual people, no screen in-between, some recalled participating in a similar religious based activity. During the 11th month pastors, ministers, preachers and priests would encourage their parishioners to seek things to be thankful for in their daily prayers. Suggesting they take note of their prayers of gratitude. In some cases, members would be called upon to read and share their own thankfulness with the congregation as a whole. This seems to be a variation of the aforementioned psychological exercise, leaning more towards a sense of spiritual as opposed to mental well-being.
Regardless of how, why or whence it came to be, the “30 Days of Thankfulness” truly came into its own and received worldwide acknowledgment a few years ago when it became a Facebook challenge. (Let us pause for a moment and give thanks to the doors social media has opened unto us. Simultaneously let us weep at how pathetically sad that is in retrospect. )
In its early stages the challenge seemed to be a shining light in the dim, ever darkening glow of social media outlets, with folks making positive daily posts of things they were thankful for. All too soon it became a brag-a-thon, with people trying to outdo one another and elevate their online status through possessions. When it wasn’t, it was still an exercise in repetition, with people giving thanks for the most remedial and obvious things, family, friends, food, job, home etc. Not to say these are bad things to be thankful for, but people could at least try to exercise a little bit of imagination and creativity. If you can sincerely be grateful for indoor plumbing or making it to the bathroom just in time that morning, without going full comedy, then that’s truly saying something.
Are you thankful for 30 days, posting a daily “thank,” looking for likes? Nobody reads those things. They just hit the little thumbs up and move on. Let’s be honest—nobody is thankful that you are—nobody cares. Though its intentions were pure, with its full induction into the world-wide web, being thankful has become mundane and cliché. Yes, believe it or not there’s even an app for that!
So how can we be more thankful about being thankful? How can we make giving thanks meaningful again? Maybe the best way to remind ourselves of what we have to be thankful for is to consider all the things we are not. Perhaps in doing so others will see our thanklessness and think to be thankfully thankful they can be thankful and give thanks to things they have to be thankful for…maybe they’ll thank us for it.
Now being thankless does not imply abandoning your manners in public. Nor does it imply incessantly b****ing; there is a fine line between b**** and no thanks. What it means is to seek out things you find unfavorable and not be thankful for them. If you’re having trouble thinking of things to be thankless for, keep in mind most things you are thankful for are a double edged sword. Each thankful thing usually equals several thankless ones.
So you’re thankful for your family…but you’re not thankful for never getting a moments peace in the bathroom or being able to make it through a TV show without interruption, or deciding on where to eat without a vote. You have a home…but you’re not thankful that it’s still not paid for, the lawn needs to be mowed, the gutters leak, and it’s on fire…umm call 911. You have food to eat…but it’s nothing you want, your family ate all your snacks, you’ll have to go to the store…maybe you can just dine out…let’s vote! Well at least you have a job to pay for that house and food…but your job sucks, the commute is murder, you’re underpaid, your boss doesn’t like you, the company’s downsizing and you’re constantly in fear of unemployment. You could be thankful for indoor plumbing…but it leaks, you can’t afford to fix it on your salary and you didn’t make it to the bathroom on time this morning because a family member was in there pooping out your snacks! See how easy this is?
Yes, it is basically reverse psychology; the question is, if you invoke it, whose psyche will you reverse? If you are selflessly thankless (without drifting into the whiny, have pity on me zone) perhaps others will see your lack of thanks and be thankful that at least their life is better than yours. Then again finding the thankless negativity in our own lives is as important as being thankful for the positive. How else can we find and conquer the flaws in our lives if we are not thankful of them? Wait…what???
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Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!