The Difference Between Being Thankful And Being Grateful

The Difference Between Being Thankful And Being Grateful

Being thankful is a feeling; being grateful is an action.
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As the name denotes, Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to the focus of being thankful. This time of year gives us that warm, fuzzy feeling. We have a few days where we feel generally thankful for the wonderful things our lives include. Sounds great, right?

I'm gonna call bull on this one.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the work "thankful" as "pleased and relieved." Both of those things are great feelings. I can't think of anyone who doesn't want to feel pleased and relieved. But that's just it; they're feelings.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the work "grateful" as "showing an appreciation of kindness." This where the difference lies; being thankful is a feeling. Being grateful is an action.

It's easy for us to look around the Thanksgiving dinner table and say that we are thankful. We're surrounded by family, friends, and food. In that time, we're currently experiencing that fuzzy feeling that comes with a holiday gathering. We wait for that one time a year in which we can focus on that thankful feeling. But where is the practice of that thankfulness? Where do we draw the line between a shallow feeling and an intentional way of life?

Gratitude is when we dwell on more than just the feeling of thankfulness. Thankfulness is the first step. We have to have that initial feeling to build upon, and we build upon it by redirecting our focus onto making gratefulness a steady part of our lives, 365 days a year.

But our lives are busy. They distract us from remembering the important things. We get so caught up in our school work, our day jobs, our relationship issues, our bills, and our responsibilities that we forget to shift our perspective on a regular basis. I know that there aren't many of us who each day dwell on how blessed and lucky we are to have the lives that we do.

So how do we actually gain that perspective and keep it all year round?

The key is keeping gratitude at the forefront of our lives. It's not just thinking about how thankful we are to have what we do. It's about living out that gratitude through the simple things we do every day. When we gear our minds towards focusing on how privileged we are, it makes it easier for us to want to bless the other people in our lives. Gratitude is what prompts you to pay for a stranger's coffee; because you recognize your own financial blessings and see that you can help another person out, maybe redirecting the tone of their day. It's what prompts you to remind your loved ones how important they are to you. It's what encourages you at the end of a long, hard day, because you know that it's actually been a far better day than you've made it out to be.

Being thankful is awesome. Being grateful is even more awesome. Remind yourself of it every day in the upcoming year, and you'll find that the next Thanksgiving isn't all too different from every other day.

Cover Image Credit: google

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Here's Why You Shouldn't Donate to The Salvation Army This Holiday Season (Or Ever)

No, I’m not a grinch or a scrooge. I’m just a member of the LGBT+ community that is tired of seeing my community suffer at the hands of organizations that are supposed to help us.
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The holiday season is upon us, bringing mall Santas, twinkling lights, and the well-known bell ringers with their red buckets stationed outside busy department stores. The Salvation Army is a mainstay in the memories of our childhood holidays. I remember a number of years where my parents would give each of my sisters and I a handful of change to put in the shiny red bucket as we walked into Wal-Mart to shop for our family Christmas dinner. On the surface, the Salvation Army is an organization with good intentions of helping the less fortunate, especially during the holiday season. However, a quick Google search exposes the organization’s discriminatory practices.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian denomination and an international charitable organization. Their mission statement, as stated on their website, reads: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Despite their insistence of nondiscriminatory practices, however, there have been several instances of discrimination, specifically against members of the LGBT+ community. In July 2017, a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, New York, was found by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) to be discriminating. Three other centers in New York City were also cited as being discriminatory. Violations within the four centers included refusing to accept transgender people as patients or tenants, assigning trans people rooms based on their sex assigned at birth instead of their lived gender identity, unwarranted physical examinations to determine if trans people are on hormone therapy or have had surgery, and segregating transgender patients into separate rooms. The NYCCHR had been tipped off about the mistreatment, and testers from the commission went to the cited centers and found clear evidence of the mistreatment. One of the clinics told the testers outright, “No, we don’t [accept transgender patients].” Another clinic’s representative said, “People with moving male parts would be housed with men.”

This isn’t the first time the Salvation Army has discriminated specifically against transgender people. In 2014, a transgender woman from Paris, Texas fled her home due to death threats she received related to her gender identity. The police told her, “Being the way you are, you should expect that.” She went to Dallas and found emergency shelter at the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center, run by the Salvation Army. The emergency shelter allowed her to stay for 30 days. Towards the end of her 30-day stay, she began looking for other long-term shelter options. One option many of the other women staying in the shelter had recently entered was a two-year housing program also run by the Salvation Army. When the woman interviewed for the program, she was told she was disqualified for the program because she had not had gender reassignment surgery. The counselor for the program later claimed there was a waiting list, but it came out that two women who arrived at the emergency shelter after the transgender woman had already entered the program. The transgender woman filed a complaint with Dallas’s Fair Housing Office, which protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. She was able to find other housing through the Shared Housing Project, a project that aims to find transgender people with housing who are willing to support those without.

The Salvation Army’s Christian affiliation drives the organization’s statements and beliefs. The church has a page on its website dedicated to its decided stance on the LGBT+ community that seems to paint a nice picture. Their actions, however, tell a different story. There have been several accounts reporting the Salvation Army’s refusal of service to LGBT+ people unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services “open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” The church claims it holds a “positive view of human sexuality,” but then clarifies that “sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage.” This belief extends to their staff, asking LGBT+ employees to renounce their beliefs and essentially their identity in order to align with the organization. The Salvation Army believes that “The theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality.” Essentially, gay people can’t get married. Unmarried people can’t have sex. Therefore, gay people are forbidden from being intimate with one another. This is unfair to ask of any employee, especially considering that one’s relationship status does not interfere with how well anyone can do their job.

If you are still looking to donate to a non-homophobic and transphobic organization this holiday season, here are some great pro-LGBT+ organizations with outreach similar to that of the Salvation Army:

  • Doctors Without Borders: medical and emergency relief
  • Habitat for Humanity: homelessness and housing
  • Local homeless shelters: search the National Coalition for the Homeless’ website for shelters near you!
  • Local food bank: find your local food bank through Feeding America here.
  • The Trevor Project: a leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT+ young people ages 13-24.
Cover Image Credit: Ed Glen Today

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'Baby, It's Cold Outside,' Let's Find Something To Keep This Relationship Hot

Best ways to keep your relationship hot when it's cold outside.

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December is coming around and so are the holidays. Here are some great ideas to keeping your relationship spicy and hot while its cold outside.

1. Ice Skating & Hot Chocolate

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It's so cold outside and after a nice time ice skating with your boo thing, grab some hot chocolate and warm up. Ice skating is the perfect time to see if your baby's got you. Literally, if he's there for you when you fall.

2. Fireplace & Smores/Indoor Picnics

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Nothing beats sitting by the fireplace and spending some quality time while making smores. Yummy! That sounds delicious as it is. But we don't have to just eat smores. How about a romantic picnic at the comfort of your home around the fireplace? You don't have to go outside for a picnic! Food for thought?

3. Tree Decorating & Holiday Music

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You can't not decorating a Christmas tree with your significant other. Tree decorating gets you in the Christmas spirit. What comes after the tree is Christmas music, so it's time to get in the Christmas spirit. Also, holiday music just adds a little jazz. For example, "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

4. See The Lights

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Go see the lights. They're always beautiful and it's always a great time to see them with someone you care significantly about. It will be cold if you plan to walk around, but you be my guest. It can be a bonding time while you walk. Just make sure to pack some gloves and a hefty jacket. But I am sure you can drive through certain neighborhoods in your car.

5. Christmas Movies & Chill

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There are so many Christmas movies out there and Netflix always has some available. Now, my favorite would have to be the new one out, "Princess Switches" or, "The Nightmare Before Christmas." There is nothing better than just relaxing in your own home and just chilling with the one you love.

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