Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

by Glen Depke

Regardless of our current state of life, we all have something to be thankful for. Often we judge our lives or the lives of others, with the recognition of what is wrong. There is often more that is right than wrong, yet most of us were domesticated to put our attention on the negative rather than the positive.

I can remember back to being a kid going to grammar school. After I would take a test, it would come back graded with marks and circles in red pen to bring attention to what I did wrong. I often have clients in my office that tell me that their parents were quick to punish them what they did wrong but lack praise when they did something right. Do you ever wonder what life would be like if our teachers would have circled in red everything we did right on our papers? We would have gotten it back all marked up, all excited about everything we did right. How about if our parents praised us for all the good deeds that we did and taught us the what was looked at as wrong is simply about lives learning and growing? We could be excited about every moment!

Understand that this attention on what is wrong is not what who we are; it is what we were taught. So what do we do from here? I know, we should blame our teachers and parents for all our problems in life. No, no, no! They did the best they could based on what they were taught, so it really is not about passing the blame and living a life of a victim. It is about taking a stand and choosing something different in your life; one moment at a time. Since it is Thanksgiving Eve, let’s start with looking at what is right today by being thankful for what we have right now.

I would recommend that as soon as your finish reading this post, sit down with a piece of paper and write the top ten things you are thankful for. Here’s the big question though. How many of you thought of what was wrong as soon as you read that? If that was you, simply drop it. We all have something to be thankful for. Maybe your health is challenged, you don’t like your job, you did not sleep well last night, you hate the holidays and the list goes on? That could be true but do you have roof over your head, do you have food on the table, do you have children, family or friends that love you, do you have heat in your home and that list goes on and on and on? So what do you want to focus on?

I want you to really get in this moment, is that whatever you focus on is what you get more of. I see this consistently in my life, the life of my clients and those around me. Do you know somebody that everything always seems to go wrong for them? How do they talk? Is there focus positive or negative? What does their life continue to look like? I think we all know those answers.

As an example: when someone comes into my office with cancer, one of the first points I make is that we are not going to fight cancer, we are going to learn to live in harmony with this. Just that simple distinction can lay the ground work for choosing a life of health and wellness rather than of pain and suffering. It is much easier to reach health and wellness coming from the positive and gratitude. Trust me on this one.

Remember, the first thing to do as soon you finish this post; write your top ten list for what you are thankful for in life. Here’s mine.

• My current health as it is
• My wife Dawn and Ruben too (our dog)
• My friends
• My parents and siblings
• My in-laws (so much for stereotypes)
• My clients
• Living in Southern California
• My ability to help others
• Being a person that typically focuses on what is right
• Consistent growth as a person

I hate to stop at ten because the list can really go on and on. Do I have challenges in my life? You bet, don’t we all? What makes all the difference is what we focus on and giving thanks!

As a bonus for yourself and all of our readers, I would recommend that you post your top ten below for all of us to share the positive energy together.

Happy Thanksgiving from Glen and Dawn!


  1. Hey Glen,
    I have eight as I have used the word "thankful" for each thing I am thankful for...
    T-true friends
    H-my husband
    A-awareness my health has given me spur to change
    N-nifty, awesome children
    K-"knowing" that is turning into "being"
    F-family and extended family
    U-ultimate gift of life!
    L-learning and growing!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Wow..not only a list but creative also. Thank you Diane!