I announced at lunch the other day my excitement for Thanksgiving, boasting it as my favorite holiday. My little brother went, “Why?”
He listed superior holidays, Christmas, 4th of July, and Halloween, commenting how much more fun they were. Christmas and his birthday he gets gifts. 4th of July is a great party, as is Halloween. At Thanksgiving you get nothing.
But to me, that isn't further from the truth. Thanksgiving brings your family together over great food and day-drinking. My mom and I get to plan an amazing meal, which is a delight to a foodie. We're having a French-themed Thanksgiving this year- rabbit in white wine, lamb shanks in red wine, a leek and potato gratin, followed by other deliciousness. In my house we recognize turkey as dry and quite flavorless poultry, which can only be fixed by the power of gravy, and have thus decided to forgo this tradition. But even with the food, family, friends, and wine, there is something far more greater about Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving marks (or once did) the start of the holiday season here in the States. Even though, for some of us, this time of the year is marked by stress, it might also be the first time we have remembered to be actively kind.
So many people remember to be kind, that they find their efforts aren't always needed. There are enough volunteers at the church. There are enough people signed up to help at the food bank. These places, that often during the year struggle to find one volunteer, find themselves overwhelmed with kindness. (Kindness is the essence of volunteer work.)
We should hold onto that essence, and try to take it with us through the new year, all the way to next Thanksgiving. It is necessary to find the time in our busy lives to spread our kindness to help the causes nearest and dearest to our hearts. If this simple reason didn’t satisfy why you think kindness is essential, maybe these next 5:
1. You kill with kindness: The main reason people get stressed at the holidays is family. You have to sit around the table and listen to tempers flare over politics, GMO, and vegans. Your aunt makes a racist remark. Someone else's tongue becomes a little loose with that sixth glass of wine. Rather than reacting, kill them with kindness. Family is the best at picking up on your ticks, and utilizing them to their advantage. Be a wall, and you'll find yourself free of guilt and less miserable than them. If you can accomplish this feat at your family holiday, no doubt will it be easy to take this with you into your everyday life.
2. You never know what's going on in someone's life. This one has stuck with me for a long time. I first heard it from a friend of a friend. This girl was Cinderella nice. There was a ton of stupid drama happening, and she flat up said, “Don't be mean to those you think deserve it. You'll probably never know what they're dealing with in their own lives.”
3. Kindness will lengthen your life. Grudges are some of the most emotionally and physically draining things in this world. Being kind will save you all that energy. Hundreds of studies have linked kindness to health benefits. So why not live a longer, healthier, and happier life?
4. Its contagious. Seriously. Are you aware of Pay it Forward? It actually works. Let those little wonderful moments stumble into the Domino effect. The world will be a bit better, even if just for a day.
5. Kindness heals. For anyone who has ever experienced a trauma, tragedy, or a sad moment, you know what the power of kindness can do for you. Its marked in empathy, understanding, and caring. People fall down on their luck, experience failure, lose loved ones, witness war. The world isn't utopia. There's no point in adding more ugliness to it.
Let's give kindness a try.