Why You Should Thank Yourself This Thanksgiving?
Do you include yourself on the list of people to thank for this Thanksgiving? Why, you might ask, isn’t it self-centered, self-important, or even selfish?
No. It is not self-centered, self-important, or selfish to appreciate yourself. Here’s why:
Yourself is the only person who has put up with you over the years.
You are your own harshest critic.
I bullied myself for years. Everything that didn’t go the way I wanted, I blamed it on myself—I was weak, naïve, and stupid. All the words I’d hesitate to use on others, I applied them generously to myself.
I dismissed my feelings because they weren’t the right feeling to have. I should be excited to take on a big and boring project because it’d help advance my career. I should be happy to hang out with the people that drain me because everyone else hangs out with them.
But doing all these right things suffocates me. Every day felt like a long-held breath, an arduous process of checking and correcting myself.
All this came to a halt when I lay on a gurney inside an emergency rescue helicopter, heading for the nearest trauma center. The horse accident broke me, mentally and physically. For many months, I could do nothing but think. I thought about all those hours I’d put in to achieve the long list of things on my resume. I thought about all the people I’d tried to please and impress. Where were they then?
During the sixteen months of surgeries and rehabilitation, I went through the entire five stages of grief: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. When I came out of that long tunnel, I realized it was time for me to be happy. I owed it to myself.
I decided I couldn’t wait for things to get easier before feeling good. I want to make things easier for myself.
I stop criticizing myself for things that went wrong. I gave my best, and that was good enough. When someone criticizes me, I thank them and walk away. A crooked apple tree still grows apples. When you buy fruits at a supermarket, do you care if they come from a crooked tree?
I forgive myself for all my imperfect efforts. When I exceed my expectations, I thank myself for the drive to improve, knowing being better never means being perfect.
When I respect my feelings, it’s much easier to say no without a justification. After all, I don’t need to justify why I prefer tea to coffee, do I?
Yourself is the only person staying with you throughout your life journey.
There’s a reason people say life comes full circle. We start at a single point, doe-eyed and eager to discover and learn, spending many decades traveling as far away as we can from the person we were at the beginning, only to realize that doe-eyed, eager person is our authentic self.
We’re the happiest when we are ourselves. Recall your earliest memories—before you learned to say the right thing, make the smart choice, you were perfectly happy with your imperfect self.
Wearing ill-fitting shoes leads to pain and resentment, even though those shoes look glamourous and shiny on you. Our feet are imperfect, and we can’t force them to fit a pair of perfect shoes.
Our parents want us to be wise and successful. They forgot to teach us how to be happy. If you are a parent, teaching your children to be happy is more beneficial than being wise and successful. When you’re happy, you’re already wise and successful.
We’ve all seen tragic endings of famous, rich people. Learn to be happy instead. When you are happy, you’re healthy. When you’re happy and healthy, luck will come, and so will money.
This is why, on this Thanksgiving, you should thank yourself besides all those wonderful people in your life.