Always Thankful

“Being thankful is a sign of a grateful heart.”

Photo by Brittney Dowel

by John Dunia

This coming Thursday, people in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving. The holiday is a reminder of when early European settlers came to the “New World” to colonize it. While controversy still remains about the original event, it is always a good reminder for us to be extremely thankful for what we have.

In last week’s article, the idea of change was presented and how in most cases, we truly can only change ourselves. Ironically enough, if there is one virtue that has created a huge impact on me, it would have to be thankfulness and gratitude. Allow me to expand on that a bit because there are some who would argue the definitions are different.

A linguist or wordsmith might tell you that thankfulness is a feeling and gratitude is an action. I’d like to combine both of those definitions into one word. For now, let’s call it “thanktitude.” The ability to be continually in a state of a thankful feeling while at the same time, showing it through one’s actions.

After my healing journey began nearly seven years ago, I often find myself being thankful for many things which previously were taken for granted. Thanktitude has manifested itself in me by being a much more giving and caring person. There has been a profound difference: one from which no other feeling, I believe, would ever reverse it.

What truly is the most important virtue that has resulted in me is compassion. It is nearly impossible to damage someone when showing them compassion. It provides empathy, promotes kindness, and genuinely endows an authentic need to care. It is true that these feelings can be tempered when others take advantage of that but one should not allow the ingratitude of others to negatively impact our own caring attitude.

Someone very dear to me once expressed a thought that has cemented its way into my psyche. She told me that she “always errors on the side of kindness.” Although I didn’t forget the phrase, it took a while for it to sink in because it wasn’t my default reaction. It’s stands to reason that our wall of defense gets a little taller or thicker each time we get hurt by showing kindness. Erroring on the side of kindness takes a cognizant effort along with battling our initial, negative reaction. It’s reminding yourself to act differently and when this happens enough, it becomes our default reaction.

This week, while the U.S. celebrates Thanksgiving, let the entire world remember to be – or rather to have Thanktitude. Carry the feeling of thankfulness and let it shine in your everyday encounters. Allow it to take action and work towards having it occur more often. There is so much more that unites us and division is typically the product of animosity and hostility. See how many lives you can impact even with something as easy as a smile. Thankfulness – just as change – occurs one person at a time.

My thanks to Brittney Dowel. I look forward to your comments.

Since 2007, John Dunia has written for many local Las Vegas publications. In 2013, he began blogging and sharing his thoughts on overcoming adversities with his unique approach in assisting the reader toward better self-awareness. In 2015 he completed his first self-help-style book, “Shame On Me – Healing a Life of Shame-Based Thinking” which was a semi-autobiographical account of how he overcame and heal difficulties from his past. It inspired him to branch out in other directions. He now consults with people one-on-one to help them find their own breakthroughs. He also is a guest speaker on the topic of shame and effective ways to heal. To find out more, visit

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