Existential Psychology

Thanksgiving Miracle

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Many people are going to be stuffing their faces full of food tonight until they can’t eat one more bite. Others will wander the streets alone until they finally rest their heads upon that cold stone.

What’s the difference between gratitude and narcissism? Nothing at first glance since both are focused on Self. But there’s a great deal of difference upon further analysis since gratitude, just like love, always leads to a widening sphere of happiness, one that includes more and more people, whereas narcissism always leads to a narrowing sphere of happiness, one that includes less and less people, until no one in that particular sphere is happy at all, not even the narcissist.

Gratitude looks outwards whereas narcissism looks inwards. The true Thanksgiving miracle would be families sitting around the table strategizing ways to help those in need over the coming year. Instead they usually talk about all the things that are going great for them. Here’s a strategy we’ve been implementing over the last few weeks. So far it’s going great. We know it’s not much but at least it’s something and it’s really easy to do. Every time we go out to eat we leave about a quarter of the food on our plates. Then we ask the waiter to put it all in a box, we leave the restaurant, and we give it to the first person in need we see. Obviously we’re only making the tiniest of dents but imagine if everyone everywhere decided to do the same thing.

Whatever the chosen strategy, the Thanksgiving miracle is choosing to focus on the giving part rather than the thanks part, or rather to realize that when things are going well for us this is the signal flare to decide to help others start doing better too.