It’s a beautiful thing to take time out of our daily lives to plan, prepare and enjoy a special meal with those who are special in our lives. A day to gather in unity with those we don’t see every day, a day spent teaching our children how to prepare traditional recipes, and to live a life filled with both Thanks and Giving. And I suggest, we add a day to forgive.
Many of us do kind things close to Thanksgiving by writing a check to a local mission for meals, donating time, donating food which is wonderful and very American. As a nation we are a people of givers. Thanksgiving is also the time to spend a few more minutes thinking about why we are grateful. This year let’s take a few private moments to prepare our hearts. Dig deep for all of the reasons you are Thankful and make a commitment to do that more than once a year. Don’t let that yearly donation of time or money be a box ticked, mark on the calendar. Give with every bit of gumption you can muster without thinking of anything, but that gift and what a blessing it is for others and for you. Let’s all agree to take those feelings of Thanks and Giving into the new year with us. Don’t put them on the shelf once the leftovers are gone. Commit to yourself or someone special to do at least one thing each week to be both Thankful and Giving. Doesn’t matter how big or small…
While we are doing things that bring us peace, let’s make forgiveness a Thanksgiving tradition. If you are not ready to forgive for the other person do it for yourself.
According to a 2011 study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, people who practice forgiveness live longer. Conversely, the study found that those who practice “conditional” forgiveness meaning they only forgive once an apology and promise to not re-offend are received die earlier.
Those who don’t practice forgiveness have more anger, depression, and are more likely to feel a loss of control which leads to muscle tension, high blood pressure, and loss of sleep which leads to a compromised immune system. The same physical symptoms can appear if a person feels they are the offender and can’t forgive themselves. Pay yourself the same grace if you can, and if you can’t, go to the person you wronged and ask for forgiveness. Take the step to make amends and see where it goes. The friendship may not be renewed, but you will be more likely to have peace, sleep, relaxed muscles, and a healthier immune system. It appears that, eating a plant focused diet, hydrating, sleeping and exercise are not the only ingredients for a healthy life, we also NEED to forgive and throw in a little Thanks-Giving throughout the year.