November 23, 2011

thanks... giving

Britta asked me to guest post for her and this is what she got (i really hope she liked it!) :) I thought I'd also share this post here, since it's Thanksgiving and all.. well, she had told me that would probably be a good thing to write about. And she was right. 

See, I have never celebrated Thanksgiving and I don't know much about this holiday. We don't celebrate it here in Spain. I wish we did, though. It is such a beautiful thing to set aside a day to make us remember to be thankful for everything we have. It may sound stupid, since I'm a Christian, but sometimes I feel like I need a reminder so that I can stop and think about the things that I should be thankful for.

gratitude doesn't come naturally to me sometimes.

And, most of us.. well.. we have so much. I mean, we don't think we do - you know, considering how bad the economy is right now and especially if we compare ourselves to richer people, we may come to the conclusion that we don't have enough or even that we are just plain poor.  However, if only we changed the perspective and compared our lives to the lives of millions of people that can't tell when their next meal will be, then we are rich. Seriously, if they could see us right now living our everyday lives (paying a bunch of bills, worrying about our jobs, about our family, even our health), they would think we're all millionaires. Most of them would trade with any of us in a heartbeat.

I was listening to a radio show the other day and they were talking about this survey in which they had asked many people if they thought they were rich. People with low income obviously said no, and people with average and higher incomes also said they didn't think they were rich. Then they were asked a second question: "how much money would you have to make to feel 'rich'? "And the average answer was "I'd have to make double what I make now".

Therefore, people with low income would feel rich if they made what an average person makes. An average person would feel rich if they could at least double their income; and so on..

The truth is no one is ever satisfied. Because - they said -  rich is a moving target. The more you have the more you realize how much more you need.

I don't know about you, but I'd have easily answered that question the same way. But there is always somebody better off, isn't it? This is crazy!

And isn't it sad that we are never content with what we have? That even if, right now, my income was way higher than it is, I'd think that I needed more so I could feel good?? I mean, that's pretty unreasonable, isn't it? Because if we really think about it (and this is mind-boggling stuff), if we set our happiness meter to measure contentment by success, by what we have or by the things we can afford, we're basically screwed! It's probably wiser to have some perspective and be thankful for everything we have, even if it doesn't seem much to us.

Gratitude is a learned behavior to most of us and it requires practice.

See, I remember when I was younger I used to think that by this time in my life

1. I'd be married
2. I'd be living in a big city
3. I'd have a job [and I'd love it] and
4. I've become financially independent and have lots of money

Isn't it amazing that I now have pretty much everything I wanted then? Not that I am loaded with money, but I can pay all the bills and still enjoy some of what is left. Maybe rich really is a moving target - and it sucks!! I feel like our culture has been cheating us all out of confidence and satisfaction.

So I've decided to do something about it.

i am breaking that circle.

I am going to give more. Giving breaks the power of money in our lives and it helps us get our priorities right. My husband and I often buy some extra food, along with our own, to give to people that have too little. But we had never made it a commitment. Until now. So we have agreed on a number, based on an percentage of our income, that we'll dedicate to helping people every month. I encourage you to take the plunge and start doing something for somebody you don't know. Not only because of the good it does for other people, but for the good it does to us. It feels great [and it's definitely humbled us].  

I guess Thanksgiving won't be coming to Spain any soon, but maybe we have just found our own way of celebrating it.


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  1. Brilliant, I love your idea. We have more than enough if we look well. At the em of the month they are many things we realized we did not need or some money we have saved.
    Giving is a very rewarding experience, even if you can only give small - sometime it is your time, a meal as you do, a hand, a smile, some money to charity. There are many ways to share the love.
    We don't have thanksgiving here in Ireland too, but I make sure every month to give and share.
    Thank you, that was very inspiring - Have a lovely evening!!

  2. I loved reading this. I am in the U.S., so I will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, but I think that it is good to keep it in our hearts year-round, not just this one day a year. Giving is good for everyone, and makes the world a beautiful place.

  3. Wow..having this beautiful realization must have felt so good! Best wishes in keeping up with the 'thanksgiving' spirit! I hope we all can eventually break out of that circle!

  4. oh wow this is great! it's amazing to come to realization that can completely impact your life in such a beautiful manner!

  5. What a great posts! Your so right about everything here, I can't even start to sat how much I agree with you. Especially about the fact that richness is moving target. This makes me realize each day that I HAVE TO be so immensely grateful, even just for living.

    Have a happy Spanish Thanksgiving, I'm having a Norwegian one right now :)

  6. This is so great and so true. One of my favorite quotes is, "It's not the happy people who are thankful, but the thankful people that are happy."
    Another one that ties in (I'll just keep throwing quotes at ya haha) is: "What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things that you thanked God for today?" (or something like that.) Such a good reminder to hear!

    Megan <3

  7. I love this post. The thing is, here in America, where Thanksgiving is an expected holiday, we are constantly losing sight of its meaning. It's a holiday meant to honor an occasion when early European pilgrims who had just arrived on the North American continent were fed and helped by Native Americans. Without their hospitality, the pilgrims would have been dead before the end of winter since they had no knowledge of farming in the New World and were not prepared for the weather. But over the years, Thanksgiving, like most other holidays here, has just become another excuse to eat too much, watch sports, and spend money. So I love hearing about instances when we are able to remember the actual meaning of the holiday.


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