Thankful…in Thankless Times
By: Chip Carter, LPC, Co-Director Legacy Strategy
I believe most, if not everyone reading this, can agree on one thing – 2020 has been one of the most challenging years ever. And Isn’t it nice that we’re all agreeing on something for a change?
Not much more needs to be written about the year 2020 and the difficulties it has brought. We could all most likely recite a litany of challenges, frustrations and losses. It has been draining. It has been exhausting. It has been, just simply, hard.
Many of us are counting down the days to January 1st, 2021. People so badly want this year to be a distant memory and just want to stop saying ‘2020’ like it’s both a diagnosis and a punchline. I imagine firework sales for New Year’s Eve this year will be record breaking if only for a symbolic ‘see ya’ to many of ours ‘worst year ever’.
But here’s the thing…once we cross into the new year, the pandemic, political polarization and racial unrest…they aren’t leaving. They will be here with us on New Year’s Day whether we like it or not.
So if the countdown to ‘end the misery of 2020’ isn’t going to provide some long-lasting relief, what will? What does? Can anything help redirect our thoughts and our prayers to point towards some semblance of hope? In my life, I have found two things that, when done consistently, put hope back front and center where it belongs – reflection and gratitude.
Reflection – if you’re like me, sometimes all you have left in you at the end of the day is enough energy to crawl in the bed and maybe turn off your bedside lamp. But on my better days, here’s what I do. I get out an old-school day planner and write the highlights of my day. It’s short, it’s typically in bullet form and, to be honest, some days have fewer entries. But the act of recalling and reflecting on my day challenges me to find moments that are worth remembering. These can be conversations that mattered, a complement you received, or even unexpected time to binge a show on Netflix. These small acts of recalling and naming the best parts of our day puts our hearts into a more open place for…
Gratitude – You didn’t think you’d read a blog post during this time of the year and not have that word discussed, did you? But…it’s 2020…and it’s never been more important. Here’s how I start my heart and mind into a time of gratefulness. I grab my phone and find a worship song in my music library. I then put the phone on top of my chest (I’m laying down) over my heart and hit play. For four or five minutes, I let the song play and I give thanks for the people, the opportunities and the wonder in my life. I also pray into things that are going on my own life and the lives of those I know and love. I can honestly say when I start my day this way, it makes a difference. And to be a difference-maker, to not let this problem or that problem, this year or that year get you down, that’s what I’m shooting for.
My encouragement to each of you it to bookend your days with gratitude and reflection and put 2020…or any other year that may come…in it’s place. There is still much to be thankful for; we just have to make the time to remember.
Legacy Strategy Blog
Legacy Strategy, Inc. is a private counseling practice in Kennesaw, Georgia.