Weight Loss Tip Booklet - 151 Simple Ideas

The common, accepted portrayal of a happy, joking, and supportive family joyously celebrating around a food-laden Thanksgiving table is definitely not a universal reality.

Some families despise the ritual (and aren't too keen on one another either); yet they meet year-after-after out a sense of guilt or tradition, jabbing each other with passive-aggressive verbal stabs. Even within families that are indeed content overall, certain members of the clan might resent, or even dislike, one another. They hold grudges over past transgressions or historic bitterness stalks silently beneath a transparent veneer of tranquility.

I point out these realities not with intent of injecting an unpleasant aftertaste to Thanksgiving dinner, nor as some sort of post-apocalyptic view of the holidays. And to be honest, I also do not know percentages of "unhappy" versus "happy" families; maybe it's minuscule; possibly it's everyone but you and I. Yet it is true. Moreover, to focus on "how many" bypasses the greater issue: we cannot release these strains until we acknowledge they exist. Once there, we discharge them with a type of thanks.

"Thanks," you might ask with understandable confusion; "Why would one give thanks for an irritating collection of boorish relations with whom I'm forced to endure boring football games and overcooked turkey?"

In the traditional sense of "giving thanks," you wouldn't. However, when one expands the concept of thankfulness, we realize that gratitude and forgiveness are actually the same act. All that differs is the direction in which they are pointed.

Similarities abound. Each brings with it a sense of inner peace and happiness. The action in each is directed toward another person; yet its true purpose is to help us, not the recipient. Each releases an responsibility: whereby thanks releases me from obligation to you. Forgiveness un-tethers you from a perceived debt I feel you have to me. The results are identical; what differs is the grounds. We give thanks when we believe something is "positive," while forgiving what we consider "negative.

Of course, it's normal to feel someone is unworthy of forgiveness. In effect, I cannot forgive you because the pain you inflicted was so extreme, or because I was so violated, that I lost control over part of my life; in essence you took away a part of ME. How do I forgive such heinous acts while remaining true to my core beliefs?

The dilemma lies in equating forgiveness with approval of the behavior.

Forgiveness is actually about my feelings, not your actions. If I change the perspective from "what you did" to "how I feel about what you did," I reclaim control over my emotions and can begin to regain that which was taken. The only alternative is to continue to be a victim, experiencing the anguish on a regular basis - the torment not only extreme, but also constant and repeated.

Unfortunately many view forgiveness as a mark of weakness. The reality is it requires enormous strength to direct one's emotions. Said Ghandi, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." Forgiving what your sister did long ago, or how your parents mistreated you is not easy. However holding long-standing grudges does zero to help heal the pain, and - can we be honest? - it's really not hurting them in the slightest.

It might be time to let go, even a little. And this holiday seems as good of a time as any to start the process.

About the author: Scott "Q" Marcus became a THINspirational speaker and autho after losing 70 pounds in 1994. He can be reached for coaching, consulting or presentations at www.scottqmarcus.com, scottq@scottqmarcus.com, or 707.442.6243. Find him at www.facebook.com/scottqmarcus or follow him @scottqmarcus. He is thankful you have read his column for the last five years.
I am one of the underclass of the holiday season — those who wait to the last minute to buy gifts — so I find myself on Christmas Eve in yet another line. The customer at the front; an elderly, bearded, overweight gentleman with thick black heavy boots, and wire rim glasses resting on a pug nose; is having an animated discussion with an apathetic clerk. Shoppers buried under sparkly packages are restlessly shifting from one leg to the other, glancing at watches, and staring at the ceiling as the long-winded debate ricochets back and forth.

The sales person reiterates, “You can’t pay for that many toys using pennies.”

“That’s all I’ve got. I can’t pay you in milk, cookies, or crayon drawings; but sometimes children leave me pennies. That’s all I own.”

The clerk shrugged. “I’m sorry Sir, you’ll have to go elsewhere.”  He abruptly turns to me, next in line, and disregards the pudgy gentleman.

Trying to avoid looking at the old-timer, but finding it impossible to notice his eyes losing their sparkle, I inform the clerk to charge me for both our purchases. “It is a blessing to give,” I tell the shopper as he looks on in amazement.

The heavy man shakes my hand profusely as he lets out a deep robust belly laugh, his middle shaking like jelly, “I’m going to make sure you get something astonishing tomorrow morning! It’s my greatest gift!” With that, he again laughed his full, rich, belly-quaking laugh, gathered his packages and hurried into the cold.

The next morning, I raced downstairs, not knowing what to expect — sure that whatever it was, it would be big, or expensive — or both. I surveyed the living room. Nothing. Then the obvious became apparent: “Come on Scott, you’re an adult. What were you thinking? How silly to even pretend. He was an eccentric geezer who cashed in his penny jar, that’s all.” I brushed aside my foolishness and started to exit when I noticed a simple envelope adorned with an embossed snowflake and a monogrammed “S.C.” Slitting it open, I pulled out a handwritten note on parchment: “Henceforth, you will realize how fortunate you truly are. Your life is full even when it seems not. Enjoy your blessings. Thanks for the help.”

Reverting to my previous analysis of a well-meaning gentleman whose ornaments weren’t hanging from the right tree, I shoved the memo into my pocket and cradled a warm cup of tea between my hands, noticing the heat against my skin on this chilly morning.  “What a simple pleasure,” I thought as I sipped it. It tasted soothing and generated a lovely glow in my belly, which — I noticed — is looking rather flat these days. I ushered a silent thank you to God for my health, and smiled, realizing how very fortunate I am. While others are concerned about getting enough, I have to cut back, an important reminder this time of year. My mind wandered to images of family and friends, and how much I benefit from their presence in my world. I surveyed my house; I’m not wealthy, but I do have a roof over my head, a fireplace, full kitchen, and belongings others couldn’t even imagine. I live in an area I love. I have my health, family, friends, and faith. What do I lack? I really do have it all.    

Sitting in silence with a crumpled note on my lap and a radiance emanating from deep within, I understood this was a memory in the making and I would value it forever.

The old man hadn’t left a thing but had indeed given me the greatest gift of all.