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22 Things Everyone Always Forget to Be Thankful For

22 Things Everyone Always Forget to Be Thankful For

Today is not Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, it’s not even close. However, taking daily doses of gratitude helps fight the disease of taking all of life’s important things for granted. We can all find things on this list for which we are thankful. If there are people on this list who make you thankful, make it a habit to let them know!

You woke up this morning

The MOST important thing to be thankful for on this list. Whether you woke up at 5:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. (which isn’t technically morning), waking up gives you the opportunity to face the day and anything that comes with it.

You can laugh

Laughter relieves stress, boosts the immune system, decreases pain, and shifts your perspective. It truly is the best medicine and something to be thankful for! In the words of Charles Dickens,

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

You have the ability to read

The ability to read is a gift often taken for granted but used everyday. The world literacy rate is at about 84% (people age 15 and over). So if you find yourself in that number (and I assume you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be here!), be thankful!

Your teachers

If you love (or know how) to read, #ThankATeacher! We have all had teachers, whether they be parents or employed by a school. Teachers pour massive amounts of time, energy, and effort into their students and that is definitely something to be appreciated.

National Teacher Appreciation Day is May 7, but take time to appreciate a teacher today!

You have common sense

Someone once told me, “Common sense and the ability to reason are things I am thankful for every single time I come across someone who does not posses them.” I couldn’t put it any better.

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Your job

Although you may not be particularly pleased with your hours, your pay, or your boss at the job or jobs you currently have, being employed is definitely something to be thankful for. Having a method of providing for yourself and/or your family is an essential key to life.

Your talents and skills

I am grateful and thankful every time someone shares or appreciates something I write. I am thankful, not because it means I am great, but because it means that my skill of writing has communicated a message that has connected with someone else. And everyone reading this has skills and talents of their own, not to be compared with anyone else’s, but to be honed and used to the best of their ability.

Your public servants

Imagine a world without the post service, police officers, medics, your representatives and congressmen, and the people who work to clear those long lines at the DMV. Not a fun place to live without these services. You can be thankful for the contribution each and every public servant makes to maintain your way of life.

Your emotions

What would life be without emotions? Would being happy or glad be so rewarding if there was no emotion of sadness? Emotions, whether they be good or bad, add flavor and variety to life. Take time to appreciate each emotion for what it is telling you. And share in the emotions of others! Shared sadness makes it bearable, and shared happiness is that much sweeter.

You can see

The human eye can see approximately 10 million colors. TEN MILLION! The palette of colors, shapes, and sizes, much like the variety of emotions, makes each moment in life different if only we would pay attention. And not only sight, but the rest of the senses as well! Take the time to be thankful for the feel of plush carpet between your toes, the sound of your kids’ laughter, and the smell of freshly baked banana bread!

You have food

Speaking of banana bread….

Be thankful that you have food to eat, food in your refrigerator, pantry, cupboard, or even a taco truck across the street.

At least 50 million Americans were unable to afford food at some point last year. and 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. These striking numbers should incite not only a spirit of gratitude, but encourage you to help those 842 million in any way you can.

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You are healthy

Be thankful that the doctor can’t remember your name! Being in good health is something that is assumed, taken for granted until it is no longer there. Being grateful for good health doesn’t just mean celebrating no trips to the doctor either. One of the best ways to be thankful for good health is to maintain it. Get the right amount of sleep, drink water, exercise, and keep up a proper diet to ensure that this stays on the list of things you are thankful for.

Your true friends

Your Facebook friends may reach high into the thousands.

You may have 800 followers on Twitter.

British anthropologist Robin Dunbar proposed that a person can only maintain stable social relationships with about 150 people.

These are all very nice, but it is your true friends, the number you may be able to count on one hand or finger, who you should be the most thankful for. The friends who you can call at 2:30 a.m., the loyal, non-judgmental, brutally honest true friends. Be thankful for them and do all you can to maintain those relationships!

Your family

Family is family. While friends have been called the ‘family’ you choose, nothing can replace your family. Your brothers and sisters, your parents and grandparents have all played an intricate part in helping you get to where you are now. Take the time to keep in touch and let them know how much you appreciate them!

You are loved

No matter the situation with your friends, or with your family, know that you are loved. Just knowing that someone out there cares for you makes getting through a tough day or situation a little bit easier.

You have clean water

Water is life. But 783 million people do not have access to clean water, and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. Approximately 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases. Be thankful.

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You have a place to live

Be thankful for your home, whether you have four garages or four simple rooms that you share with your four simple roommates (trust me, I’ve been there). Having four walls and a ceiling above you is not to be taken for granted, especially in these winter months, when depending on where you are, temperatures can dip below zero.

Also, take the opportunity to help the homeless in your neighborhood! What better way to show that you are grateful for what you have?

You can be thankful for some of the negative situations in your life as well!

Your exes

They were here, and for whatever reason, they’re gone. But what they left behind, besides their bad taste in CDs and old t-shirts, are lessons that you can take and apply to the next relationship you enter into to make it better than any that came before. Your future thanks your exes.

Your struggles

“It shouldn’t be easy to be amazing.  Then everything would be.  It’s the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth.  When something’s difficult to come by, you’ll do that much more to make sure it’s even harder – or impossible – to lose.”  ―Sarah Dessen

And if you have read through this list and don’t connect with too many things listed here, whether it is because they don’t exist for you or have not been present in your life, these last few are especially for you:

You have the ability to change your situation

Be thankful that you have the opportunity to make positive changes in your life.

Do you have an estranged relationship with your family? Think about any small steps you can take to fix it.

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Not currently working? Make unemployment your job. Search, apply, and interview until something changes.

Don’t think you have true friends? Be a true friend to someone else.

You are a survivor

You may not have a home, you may not have had a good family, and you may not have had good teachers.

You might be in a period of prolonged unemployment, and you may have recurring health issues.

But you have survived it all to make it this far, and each breath is a reminder of the fact that….

You are alive.

Which means everything else in this list is still a possibility.

What else are you thankful for? WHO are you thankful for? Share below in the comments.

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CJ Goulding

CJ Goulding is the Lead Organizer at Natural Leaders Network, building leaders and connections in and between humans.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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