Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and pause around gratitude, sharing it with the people closest to you. Families gather near and far to share meals, games, conversation, walks and other activities. Many have a tradition of going around the table to express the things they appreciate, which can include health, eating at the table, and between them.
These practices are a wonderful way to slow down and be on time. All the usual things to honor on this day never age, but serve as important reminders before everyone returns to their hectic lives. And it seems like this Thanksgiving is especially touching after all we’ve been through together as a society. The impact of Covid and the emotional flight from the political scene in recent years has been enormous. Things have improved in many wonderful ways, although there are still concerns.
I am a therapist who has worked with people and couples for the past almost two years, virtually non-stop. Much of the work, especially the first year, focused on issues related to the emotional and relational impact of Covid and political divisions. Recently, therapy topics are less directly related, but a good portion of my clients are still working on topics that involve echoes of that impact. Some are finally tackling the tension of the relationship, have difficult transitions to get back to “normal” life, or are reflecting on how they have changed.
Since I consider that the body of therapy has worked during this time period, the other thing that stands out is how people have worked and to what extent they have dug to take advantage of their own resilience. Demonstrating strength, determination and ability to overcome their anxieties, worries, sadness, pain as they grabbed the brass ring of hope has been humble to participate.
This era is so unique because, literally, the whole world witnessed it. Yes, our perception of narratives has been different for complicated reasons, but the reality is that we have all gone through these challenges together. We needed each other desperately, though you too have desperately needed yourself.
Be grateful for you.
I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t had to overcome their own challenges or concerns during this time period. Your internal or external personal battles have been unique to you. However, you have persevered as we approach the eve of this special Thanksgiving, this one with an extra infusion of hope compared to the last one.
So when you are meeting with friends and family, as you reflect on what you are all grateful for, make sure you also take a look at yourself, either internally or out loud. Maybe it’s because of your tenacity, your ability to overcome difficult things and know that you can do it now. Or maybe it’s because of your efforts to keep your family on the ground and together during turbulent times or your self-care skills better perfected for being alone and alone for much of the pandemic.
Whatever it is, you offer your gratitude, well done! And Happy Thanksgiving.
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