Gratitude Pearls

“When I’m cold I just put another rope of pearls on.” – Dorothy Parker, writer, critic, and satirist

Realistically, what we need most when we shiver from any coldness of life, or just-tired-of-negative-news malaise, is gratitude. This week encompasses our nation’s traditional day of giving thanks for the good news of life. The goodness is that we are HERE! Give a shout-out to your ancestors who undoubtedly experienced much literal and figurative coldness in their lives but they persevered. Perhaps they wore pearls. Hopefully, they expressed gratitude. Often.

Reviewing life events and finding thanksgiving moments is meaningful in a myriad of ways. Producer and composer Barry Goldstein wrote a song entitled “The Moment” which expresses gratitude simply for being alive and “not wasting” another second of life. What we “waste” often are moments when we might express our gratitude to others. Gratitude for others’ contributions to our lives affirms our belongingness and interdependence. If our DNA is anywhere close to 99.9% the same as the next guy or gal, how can we fail to care about each other?

As gratitude researcher and psychologist Robert Emmons points out, gratitude implies humility, a realization that we might not be who we are or where we have landed in life without the contributions of others. One pearl does not make up a string of pearls. A solitary pearl is lovely, but there is something precious about pearls that hang together.

Interdependence, a stringing together of caring for each other’s needs, is especially key at the beginning and ending of life. We are grateful for the birth of a beloved baby and we are grateful for having known a beloved one when they die. Gratitude is felt keenly; it is not unusual to have tears accompany gratitude moments. The part of your personality that may keep you from feeling gratitude is a complainer or critic. When you are busy with a downer-mentality, it is difficult to let your gratitude meter flow freely.

This week tap into the resilience of gratitude moments. The power in gratitude takes you closer to having self-compassion as well as having compassion for others. Yes, there is much suffering, cold rhetoric, and violence in our world. I am not suggesting that you forget that. I am suggesting that you hold onto a sense of gratitude while you address the chilly issues in life that cause suffering. Gratitude is a healer. It will warm up what needs warming up.

Whether you attend Thanksgiving with family or enjoy a Friendsgiving, tell at least one other person something you are grateful for in them. 

Pearls of Peace (PoP) Quiz:

32. What is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of gratitude?

33. What are you most grateful for from your childhood?

By Janis Johnston

Janis Clark Johnston, Ed.D., has a doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University. She has worked with children, families, and groups (ages 3-83) with presenting issues of anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, and relationship concerns. She initially worked as a school psychologist in public schools and was awarded School Psychology Practitioner of the Year for Region 1 in Illinois for her innovative work. She was a supervising psychologist at a mental health center, an employee-assistance therapist and a trainer for agencies prior to having a family therapy private practice. Recipient of the 2011 Founder’s Award for her dedication to the parenting education of Parenthesis Family Center (now called New Moms), and the 2002 Community Spirit Award from Sarah’s Inn, a domestic violence shelter and education center, Johnston is an active participant in numerous volunteer activities supporting children and families in her community. A frequent presenter at national psychology and educational conferences, Johnston has published journal articles, book chapters, and two books -- It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development (2013, hardback; 2019, paperback) and Midlife Maze: A Map to Recovery and Rediscovery after Loss (2017, hardback; 2019, paperback). In addition to augmenting and supporting personal growth in families, Johnston is a Master Gardener and loves nurturing growth in the plants in her yard.

3 comments

  1. Thank you for the words on gratitude. Such a good reminder any time, but especially this week. I am grateful for your pearls.

    Like

    1. I am grateful for so many people, but this morning I want to express gratitude for ALL subscribers to Pearls of Peace. Your feedback, both on the blog and sent to me privately, is much appreciated!

      Like

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