If gratitude is the wellspring of peace, love and joy, it begins with forgiveness and the willingness to let go of what’s past, to create new space for growth.
So often we hold on to the past, allowing our grievances and grudges to color our world and those people in it. If we’re not careful, we allow fear, bitterness and resentment to sneak into our lives, robbing us not only of our capacity for joy, but our ability to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness for the many blessings in our lives.
The truth is that we all fail and fall short from time to time. And even when we feel above the fall of others, our very judgment of them makes us no better, and in fact, often worse.
As we move into this season of Thanksgiving, I think I shall adopt a new practice: Instead of simply counting my blessings, I will counter each one with a heady dose of forgiveness, too — weeding out and releasing those things I’ve been holding on to for far too long, and making peace with the gifts of my own imperfection.*
What might you be holding on that is robbing you of your capacity to feel gratitude for the blessings in your life? In your experience, what is the relationship between forgiveness and gratitude? How has holding onto a grudge or grievance kept you stuck in your own life? What is the relationship between gratitude and our capacity for peace, love and joy?
*Note: The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown, is an outstanding read on the power of courage, compassion and connection to enable us to find acceptance within and live fuller lives without.
2 thoughts on “On Forgiveness and Thanksgiving”
Absolutely, I agree that gratitude washes away grievances and grudges.
Gratitude is from peace, if I am at peace I pay thanks for all that comes my way.
I consider myself fortunate to have learned that less is more. I have grown to live in a place of openness and strive to act with appreciation for what I do have , not what I desire.
Growth for me comes by passing lifes daily tests of gratitude.I choose to laugh and look for the light side of hardship.
My greatest joy comes from an open heart and being able to connect and share with others.It has taken me a while but I can joyfully say, I have my best days when I remain loving to all.
I will continue to be tested for the rest of my life but if I can remain open and grateful I will be a better person and a better example to others.
I am thankful for an open mind and an open heart.
Thank you for sharing, Pete. I love the tie between joy and living with an open heart.
In my own journey, I’ve discovered that my propensity for true gratitude grows in direct proportion to my willingness to forgive others and myself — making peace with imperfection and letting go of judgment. And out of that gratitude, comes peace and the possibility for joy.