Ask Dr. Christina: I’m Not Sure I Have Anything to Be Grateful For

Dear Dr. Christina,

I am 80 years old and I no longer have any family (human, that is), but I do have 2 small pups. Doctor, the holiday season gives me such grief. I feel I have nothing to be grateful for and I don’t want to do any sort of celebration. I have outlived my usefulness in this cold world of technology and people. I am no longer able to welcome this holiday season with any joy whatsoever, and I keep wondering what I do have to be grateful for. I am writing you this letter to see if you can help me open my eyes and heart and provide me with some ideas of how I can change this year’s awful feelings about this holiday season of dread. ~ Mari

Dear Mari,

I am so grateful to you for writing to me. Your letter reminds me of so many people who share this same feeling of loneliness and despair during this holiday season of Thanksgiving. It’s important to remember that gratitude is an emotion and the feeling of expressing an appreciation for what we have.

Being grateful does not mean just having a family of blood relatives. For some, it is hard to feel grateful for certain relatives that they have in their lives, due to differences in lifestyles. The fact that you have your beautiful pups and perhaps friends or even strangers you have met throughout your life who have done something kind for you is something to consider being grateful for.

There are so many ways you can express gratitude physically.

For example:

  1. By giving a hug to someone who really needs your touch.
  2. Giving a smile, even to a stranger.
  3. Playing with your puppies and comforting them to thank them for bringing you such joy in your life.

We need to keep our wits about us in order to be observant and appreciative of our home, food, clothing and nature, so that we do not take any of this for granted. It is about being in the moment and appreciating everything that we see.

Sometimes the holiday season is not about us. Sometimes it is about helping others. It is about serving others who are more in need than you. This in itself can gently remind you of how grateful many are that you still care to serve and help others enjoy a precious moment in whatever ways you can.

We must not forget about our own self-gratitude. It is not always about material things, but about all you possess – from your smile to your personality. Sometimes you may lose sight of your gift of just being you to all those who meet you. Being grateful for yourself allows you to know how to treat other people and helps to pay it forward so others can prosper from the gift you have given them… and that gift was you just being a person that cared enough or was perceptive enough to say, “Hello”.

Mari, thank you so much for your letter. It has given us a beautiful reminder of life’s most precious gift: the need all living beings have to connect — not just to family but to your pets and to people who cross your path — and let them know that you are grateful for their existence. It is also about being grateful for your own life and the fact that you are one special lady!

I hope this response will, in some way, help you to change your attitude about the holiday season.

I am so grateful for your letter and I wish you a festive and joyful Thanksgiving.

My thoughts are with you during these holidays,

Dr. Christina

  • Posted By: DRC Editor
  • Tags: ask dr. christina being grateful Christina Charbonneau Dr Christina Charbonneau Dr. Christina Dr. Christina Goldstein-Charbonneau elderly gratitude holidays holidays are hard lonely no family no friends surviving the holidays thanksgiving
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