July 2017
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giving thanks: what I learned as a child vs. what I learned as an adult.


My parents taught me something about giving thanks that has stayed fresh in my mind for many years. (not fresh as in crisp spring leaves, fresh as in just-dumped manure) By their actions (which rendered their words meaningless), they taught me not to show any gratitude upon the promise of a gift, but only upon the receipt -- the proof. If they offered something and I showed any excitement or gratitude, they would turn that offer into a bribe and force me to earn the 'gift.' By the time I earned it, I had no gratitude left.

I disagree with much of their parenting, but this seemingly-small thing rankles me more than most of their teachings. I LOVE to be grateful! I love feeling an outpouring of positive energy toward the person who has been generous to me -- most of the time I love this feeling even more than the actual gift. But if someone promises me a gift, I feel an uncertainty that lasts until the promise is fulfilled, and that uncertainty drains much of the positivity from the gift.

However, that attitude has recently been changing. A few months ago, I picked up a flyer printed with an affirmation for receiving unexpected blessings. At that time my partner and I had very strained finances, so I figured it couldn't hurt to try it. Shortly after that, my partner finally received the promotion that he had been working toward for over a year (with three attempts that didn't pan out). Things had already been building in that direction, so I'm not sure how much effect the affirmations had on our finances, but the important thing was the effect they had on me as I said these words over and over again:

I dwell in the midst of infinite abundance; the abundance of [God/dess] is my infinite Source. The river of life never stops flowing. It flows through me into lavish expression. Good comes to me through unexpected avenues. God/dess works in myriad ways to bless me. I now open my [spirit, heart, soul,] mind [and body] to receive my good. Nothing is too good to be true. Nothing is too wonderful to happen. With [God/dess] as my Source, [life amazes me with its beauty]. I give freely and fearlessly into life and life gives back to me with fabulous increase. Blessings come in expected and unexpected ways. [God/dess] provides for me in wondrous ways. I am grateful. Thank you [God/dess]!
(I changed the bracketed bits because my God/dess is genderfree)


As I said these words aloud, I put myself into a mindset of gratitude. I changed my focus from wondering whether or not it would 'work' and just felt the gratitude as if it already happened. I've never been able to do that before! The first time I did it laughingly, as a experiment (acting melodramatic and making extravagant gestures) -- but the peace and renewed faith I felt afterwards motivated me to keep doing it. Before, I always felt like I was lying or being naive if I said 'thank you' for something that hadn't happened yet, but now I understand that gratitude is not just a reaction caused by outside events; it is an attitude I can create within myself to kick-start a flow of positivity.

and I'm really grateful for this topic because I needed to reflect on this right now. So thank you, therealljidol! and thanks to all my idol-ing friends who unintentionally urged me to do mine (since I want to read your already-posted entries, you overachievers!). ;-)

LJ idol topic 3: "The Giving of Thanks." ((please vote for me if you got something from reading this!))


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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.