Saturday, November 16, 2019
Thanksgiving is often thought of as the "All American" Holiday, a time to pause with family and friends to reflect on those things and times that have given us the most joy. A list of "Gratitudes" such as:
Grateful are those who have enough to eat
Grateful are those with a safe place to sleep
Grateful are those who feel love in their hearts
Grateful are those who have others that help
Grateful are those who are able to help
Grateful for comfort when things are not easy
Grateful for laughter for health and for healing
Grateful if only for the end of a hard day
Grateful for the days filled with unbridled joy
These are my Gratitudes today, what are yours?
Thanksgiving Emotions and the Helpfulness of Sharing Laughter
Thanksgiving can also be a time of self-reflection, nostalgia, and for some, heartache. The person who no longer shares our table - through death, estrangement, or distance. The sharpening of hurts, disasters and tragedies experienced since last Thanksgiving. Personal and global anxiety. Mixed emotions of the history behind our celebration. Who knew that the sharing of a roasted bird, the bird that Benjamin Franklin wanted to declare America's official bird, would, so many years later, be marinated in so many feelings?
And while I might say that we all gather and laugh together for bonding, healing, and comfort, I know that even laughter, can, like that turkey, be stuffed with many sentiments. And yet, I do encourage you to bond, heal, and find comfort during this time of year. In fact, it is my wish for you that you expand your laughter to other holidays, gatherings, conversations, social media posts, and work life. Laughter is the social bonding survival skill that has been with us since before humans had adequate language.
The very act of smiling helps pave the way to cooperation and understanding. In fact, the growing of America was helped tremendously by those of different origins and languages learning to smile at each other, even if they came from older traditions that discouraged smiles and laughter. Shared laughter over a shared meal can go a long way to create bonds of tolerance and understanding with strangers, and, yes, even with your opinionated relatives.With my family and friends, there are just some stories and memories that we can't help repeating during these gatherings because the still make us laugh until we cry.
And because the power of Laughter can both heal and hurt, I encourage you to use your powers for good. It is not always easy, and I have struggled with laughter in my life, at one time only seeing its weaponization. I've written about it several times, here is my recent essay from LinkedIn.
It's the Laughter, We Will Remember
Originally appeared in my Smile Side of Life Laughter & Happiness Club Newsletter. You can subscribe here