The leaves are turning, football is in full swing, and pumpkins are everywhere—and not just because of Halloween. That means the year’s best holiday, in my opinion, approaches, beckoning us with turkey and cold weather. I'm talking about Thanksgiving, of course. As we prepare our meals and coordinate family reunions, let us also take some personal time to reflect on what we have and how lucky we are to have it.
Every year before we dig in, my family pauses to go around the table to give everyone the opportunity to express their gratitude for something in their life. We didn’t fully appreciate the impact of the ritual as children, but today, we use it as a reset to ground us before the holiday season pushes us to our breaking points. Our tradition is markedly American, but gratitude is universal.
Giving thanks affords you a warm feeling, and receiving it can be just as rewarding. We should use this Thanksgiving to become better at showing appreciation for our friends and family year-round, not just when it is expected of us. To get prepare for the end of November, we have collected 13 moving quotes on gratitude from some of the world’s most brilliant minds about the concept and how it can change your life. Browse their wisdom below and you may find yourself getting into the holiday spirit a little early.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy, Proclamation 356, Thanksgiving Day, 1963
“For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile.” — Elie Wiesel, as told to O: The Oprah Magazine, 2000
“We learned about gratitude and humility—that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean… and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.” — Michelle Obama, Democratic National Convention speech, 2012
“Nine-tenths of wisdom is appreciation. Go find somebody's hand and squeeze it, while there's time.” — Dale Dauten, Colleen Zuck etal., Daily Word for Families, 2002
“Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people.” — Samuel Johnson, Tour to the Hebrides, 1773
“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” — Eileen Caddy, Opening Doors Within, 1986
“The best way to be thankful is to use the goods the gods provide you.” — Anthony Trollope, The Last Chronicle of Barset, 1867
“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” — Cicero, Oratio Pro Cnæo Plancio, XXXIII
“Ingratitude calls forth reproaches as gratitude brings renewed kindnesses.” — Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné, Lettres, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations, 1922
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” — Eckhart Tolle
"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." — Willie Nelson, The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart, 2006
"In normal life, we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others." — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, 2010
“Grateful souls focus on the happiness and abundance present in their lives and this, in turn, attracts more abundance and joy towards them.” — Stephen Richards, Think Your Way to Success, 2011
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