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How to Give Yourself a Happy Thanksgiving

It’s your attitude and choices that determine what kind of day you have.

Are you going to play the victim this Thanksgiving by telling yourself that you can’t have a good time because you are alone or because you are going to be with people you don’t enjoy? If so, scratch that plan, and get creative. 

The possibilities are as grand as your imagination.

Whatever your circumstances, it is your perspective that will determine how you will experience your situation.

If you are going to be alone this Thanksgiving – plan ahead to give yourself a good time. Here are some ideas:

  • Make yourself a delicious feast for one.
  • Call around and find others who will be alone and host a gathering.
  • Stay home in your pajamas, binge watch football or a bunch of movies.
  • See if there is a restaurant or community group that has a large table for people who would otherwise be alone to share a meal together.
  • Be bold and ask a friend if you can be included in their gathering.
  • Volunteer with a community program that will be providing a nice meal to those in need.
  • Create a sacred ritual for yourself that connects you to the true spirit of Thanksgiving. Take the time to deeply experience your gratitude for the blessings that are present in your life.

If you are dreading being with your family this Thanksgiving – do some inner preparation. For example:

  • Think about past family gatherings that have been difficult for you and see if you can identify what dynamic is most challenging for you and why. How might you respond differently this year?
  • Keep a strategy in your back pocket for when things get tough. For example, changing the subject, going for a walk, taking a bathroom break.
  • Make a game of avoiding your triggers. If Uncle Joe gets to you every time, avoid him.
  • If there are kids around, hang out with them.
  • Help in the kitchen and feel good about being of service to your host.

You don’t need to feel like a helpless victim just because other people behave in ways you don’t like. Take charge of your own experience.

Your attitude will determine the options you see or don’t see. Don’t create a self-fulfilling prophecy for yourself built on a bad attitude. 

If this is a tender time for you because you have recently lost a loved one – pay particular attention to your needs. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Maybe being with others who try too hard to compensate for your loss might not be what you need this year. If you need to be alone with your grief, then let it rip. Stay in your pajamas for the day and eat cold pizza and cry if that’s what works for you. Be true to your own experience — whatever it is. But, know that you have choices and choose wisely what will serve you best.

If things aren’t shaping up to your liking this Thanksgiving, do something about it. It’s not too late to choose to make the most of any situation. My wish is that you be very good to yourself. And, if you aren’t going to be with people you love and enjoy, then take a good look at yourself in the mirror and love yourself upside down and sideways!

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you would like to know more about me and my work, please explore my website here.

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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