The Gift of Gratitude and Appreciation

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. – Epictetus

The holiday season is supposed to be a time to celebrate all of the blessings we’ve received. It’s a season of giving, receiving and celebrating historical events that define our religious and moral being. It’s the ending of a year, and the beginning of another. A time for reflection, and a time to be grateful. I know personally 2018 has been an amazing year, as I celebrated a healthy 20 year marriage, my daughter’s graduation, and turning 50. OK, so maybe I’m not so excited about turning 50, but I digress.

For others, it can be dark and depressing. At times life gives us more than we think we can handle. In the past year I’ve personally witnessed several of my closest friends dealing with the loss of loved ones, their jobs, and their marriage. The three most difficult events in life for anyone to experience. At the worst it can destroy lives, and at best it can sour your outlook and damage your self-esteem.

For many of us the challenges we’ve overcome aren’t nearly as difficult as these. But they are no less important. Maybe we didn’t get that promotion we thought we would. Or we didn’t earn the commissions or bonuses we hoped. Or maybe the challenges were more personal – a damaged friendship, a setback in a relationship. Whatever the case, it’s easy to dwell on what’s lost and fail to recognize what we still have.

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated. – William James

So if I may, I’d like to give you a gift this holiday season. A gift of gratitude and encouragement. A gift of counsel and guidance.

First, I would like to recognize your importance in this world. You have a purpose. You are here for a reason. Whether you are Christian or Jewish, Buddhist or Taoist, a believer or an atheist – your existence in this world has meaning and purpose. Let me say that again – your existence in this world has meaning and purpose. The sooner you embrace this, the sooner you will realize the joy in your being.

Second, you are an amazing person. For many of my readers, I know you personally. For those whom I don’t, I can guarantee there is someone out there who believes this about you whole heartedly. There are qualities you have that make you, well, you! There is no one else in this world like you. And when you embrace this fact and begin to believe in yourself, good things will happen.

And third, you are capable of more than you realize. That’s an absolute fact. I have yet to meet a person in this world who has fully realized their potential. More often than not, that’s because they lack self-esteem and the willingness to embrace that statement. And its high time you do just that.

I hope today, in this moment, each of you know you are appreciated, valued, and have a purpose. Let that be your guiding thought as you spend time with family and friends and reflect on this past year.

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