We Get Used to the Goodness

As we approach Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I want to focus on an element of human nature and how it relates to everyday gratitude.

To me, that spirit of gratitude and charity should be something that we, as Latter-day Saints, should be experiencing pretty much every day.

Why do we lose the feelings?

In short, we get used to the goodness in our lives, and the human brain is wired to focus on the negatives. It takes about 15 positive associations in the brain to overcome one negative association. (I’m not sure why God wanted to give Satan that much of an advantage, but it must be part of the plan.) So, when we first achieve a goal or reach a station in life towards which we have been working, we are thankful. But, as we become accustomed to that level of achievement and success, we get used to it. Then, our negatively-oriented brain starts focusing in on the imperfections in what was once wonderful, and we begin to devalue the goodness in our lives.

Gospel Teachings

Maybe that’s why the scriptures repeatedly tell us to remember and to always give thanks. When we encounter true difficulties, we can give thanks that we have the Savior, his Atonement, and the promises of the gospel to rely on. We can give thanks that we know that we are still in the Father’s care. And, when we are experiencing more abundant times in our lives, we can remember the times when we didn’t have it so good and we can remember to give thanks and remind ourselves to give thanks for the little details (as well as the big ones) in our lives. It counteracts the natural tendencies that we struggle against.

Thanksgiving

So, be grateful this Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy your family. Rejoice in all of the blessings and bounty with which you are blessed. If imperfections crop up in the day, rejoice that the Lord still reminds us that no one and nothing is perfect in this life and that we have the opportunity to laugh, cry, and lift as others need us.

Comment below: What do you give thanks for the most? What do you do to be grateful everyday?