Thankfulness can be contagious, focus away from being critical

Thankfulness can be contagious, focus away from being critical

It’s very easy to be critical and cynical these days. I like to think that I have developed the art of being critical to new levels; my wife may begrudgingly attest to this talent.

I used to think it was an important skill to have an eye for critique; after all, it is important not to be taken advantage of by others, to hold people accountable to their actions, and to strive for greatness in our daily living. But here’s the thing I’ve also realized: the benefit does not normally outweigh the cost.

Sure, perhaps you were able to get that discount offered by the restaurant for an unsatisfactory meal, but is it really worth living with such an attitude throughout the rest of one’s life? How can one really enjoy something if we are constantly looking for ways to criticize?

Juxtapose this attitude of criticism with that of being thankful. I was once asked to record in a journal five things I was thankful for in the day; it felt unnatural and hard to come by on that first day. However, what I came to realize was that I was going through pretty much the same daily reality as I was before; now I was just focusing on the positives rather than the negatives. In short, my attitude and perspective was slowly changing.

And this got me thinking about all those people who seemed happier than I was. The reality was that they were experiencing all of the same stuff I was. They could just have easily complained about things; however, they just tended to focus on being appreciative for the positive things in the world, instead of focusing on the negative.

I still wrestle with critical thinking; it’s hard to shake at times. But I also recognize that being thankful for what life presents is also a contagious attitude. Sometimes it’s merely a matter of perspective and our decision on what to focus on.

So how about we try focusing on thankfulness this month? What new possibilities might present themselves with our new mindset? What simple things in life can bring about true thanksgiving? How can thankfulness heal and restore relationships in our lives today?

The world can do with a little thankfulness these days, and this is one contagious thing I’m willing to spread happily!

~ Rev. Jeff Binder

Rev. Jeff Binder is the Pastor at Valley Community Presbyterian Church. Visit us at: www.valleycommunity.org