The Thanksgiving holiday is often full of anticipation, joy and celebration. For many people though, the anticipation is what is felt the fullest and the most, and often manifests into worry and anxiety. If we try to look at this anticipation, worry, and anxiety from a cognitive and clear perspective, we can understand it with a dose of clarity and compassion.
The premise of celebrating Thanksgiving is to come together with family and friends to honor the past year’s harvest, and to give blessings and thanks. It is a beautiful honoring and tradition, but it unfortunately also seems to resurrect memories, ideas and forms of ourselves from our past “roles,” those, which we take (or took) on within our family. These “roles” can be that of caretaker, underachiever, inadequate son/daughter/sister/brother, troublemaker, victim, enabler and so on. When we are back in an environment or situation where we are again surrounded by other family members (who seem to also slip into their “roles” it can be overwhelming and with unconscious awareness, we too, can slip into our old role.
Bring a practice of mindfulness into your expectations and anticipations for the day by practicing self-compassion, kindness and gentleness.
Below is an activity based in gratitude that can be used with family or friends on Thanksgiving Day (or any day) to build upon, or establish, a grounding and fertilization for kindness within your family system.