Thinking on “thankful”

image: © Churchill

I guess this is the month to talk about being thankful, which is an area I struggle with and need to continuously work on in my own life. It is so difficult for me to look beyond what I have—and yes, I have everything I need—and instead look for the stuff out there that I really, really want.

I really believe that our society helps us out with our discontent—we are told we can be anything we want, have anything we want—and that happiness comes from having it all. It’s difficult to fight against that mentality. Take my job for instance. Right now things are not easy in that arena. I’m still the new girl, working on my confidence, my autonomy, my rapport with other nurses, docs and patients. To me it feels like I am fighting a battle with myself just to go to work each day. I have so much to be thankful for, but how do I do that when I am not feeling that way?

Recently I was looking at the unemployment numbers in the U.S. (it’s easy to see that our country is under a ton of economic hardship) which then led me  to peek at the want ads. Right now escaping my current job feels like the simple way out, even though I know that is not true.

But here is what I found out when searching for a way out: First, there are few jobs in my specialty out there. The more I read about and see what has happened to the nursing industry because of the financial climate, I realize that my landing a job when I did and where I did is nothing short of miraculous. I must believe I am where I am at for a reason!

And secondly, the unemployment rate in this country is 10.2%, according to various news publications around the ‘net, jobs are still being cut in every industry, and the fact is that there are more qualified people than there are good jobs. Those of us with jobs can’t afford to let hardship put us into a tailspin because really, escape is not an option! (Plus, there are no guarantees the next job will be any better.)

I’m realizing that much like real love, being thankful is more of an action than an emotion.  And I can be thankful for my job despite my current negative emotions and feelings.  How?? By continuing to work with excellence and integrity, treating others with respect and dignity and valuing my job like the prize and blessing it truly is. Much like love, it is the actions that breed the emotions. The better I work as a nurse striving for excellence in all I do (excellence—not perfection), the better the outcomes for my patients and the more my job satisfaction grows. Just acting thankful leads to true thankfulness and gratitude.

Daniel Defoe once said: “All our discontents about what we want appear (sic) to spring from the (lack) of thankfulness for what we have.” Daniel, I’m with you–and I’m setting out to change that for myself! It’s time for this new nurse to act more thankful.

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