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    • On November 20, Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, shared a beautiful message about gratitude during these difficult COVID-19 times. He thanked those who have put their lives on the line to fight the virus and as a former heart surgeon, he made it clear that he believes in the science. That we must wear masks, practice social distancing, etc. All good stuff that I can fully get behind. 

      Then he issued a challenge to the members of the church: During the upcoming week, use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) as a personal gratitude journal, posting each day what you are thankful for using the hashtag #givethanks. On paper, it’s a nice thought. Spread some positivity during these COVID-19 times, share what you are thankful for, and remind everyone that even in the hardest of times, there’s a lot to be thankful for. Once again, on paper it’s a nice thought and should be a good thing. 

      I shared a #givethanks post on Saturday and then later found out that the reason I was seeing all these other #givethanks posts is because of the challenge issued by Nelson. I went back, listened to his message, and decided that I too would join in on the #givethanks movement. I even had six additional messages all teed up, ready to go in my notes. I figured if other people were doing it and the prophet asked us to, I should do it as well. 

      I posted one more #givethanks post on Tuesday, thinking I had just five more to go. But then, I started seeing more and more of these posts and found many them to be rather self-congratulatory. Posts about how great their job is, how perfect their family is, how amazing life is going for them, etc. You know those annoying Christmas letters that families sometimes send out about how amazing everyone in the family is doing? A lot of these posts were like that. 

      Even worse, I found some to even be insulting. The worst one I saw was one that essentially said, “I’m so blessed I was smart enough to avoid student debt and anyone who has student debt is a fool.”  

      On top of that, these posts are coming in the middle of a pandemic when people have lost jobs, family members, and in general are really struggling. If you are having a rough 2020, the last thing you probably want to see is how everyone else is doing well but you. 

      Now, this isn’t to say that all of these #givethanks posts have been bad. Many have been uplifting and have come from well-intentioned people who sincerely are trying to follow the prophet and join the challenge. Many have also shared how they’ve been uplifted by others’ posts, all good. 

      Still, I’m personally glad I stopped posting #givethanks posts. I just didn’t want to add to the over the top, fluffy, and cheery mood on social media that quite honestly felt to be mostly boastful and sometimes vain. Anyone else have a similar reaction to the #givethanks posts as me? Anyone have a positive experience with it? 

      Note: The article posted below by The Salt Lake Tribune I felt did a nice job of capturing the complexity of the #givethanks movement. 

    • Oh! Thanks for this post! I had no idea what was going on (I don’t “follow the prophet”’on social media —even though I played that dang song on the piano for years at innumerable church meetings, hahahahaha).

      All of the sudden a bunch of my friends/family were posting kind of nauseating “Thank” messages on social media, and I was sort of gobsmacked by it.

      Now it makes perfect sense. 😜

    • Great article, btw. Made my day.

      As the popular writer and speaker Brené Brown says in her various presentations, “In my 12 years of research on 11,000 pieces of data, I did not interview one person who had described themselves as joyful, who also did not actively practice gratitude. ... I went into the research thinking … if you are joyful, you should be grateful. But it wasn’t that way at all. Instead, practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives.”

    • I'm glad you were able to see that the results may not have been what they were intended to be and had the sense to stop feeding into it. It seems so common that people only see the "I'm following the prophet" part and don't really think about the effects of what they're doing or saying.

    • One thing I do love about my church is we are encouraged to ponder things on our own and reason things out in our own mind. I made an independent decision based on my own intuitions and am glad I followed through on those instincts.

      Nelson’s intentions were good and his overall message was excellent. I just don’t think all people implemented his challenge in the right way. Few did, in my opinion.

    • Personally, a better challenge would have been to keep a private journal for the week about what you are grateful for and if you feel so inclined, share on social media what reflecting on gratitude did for you once the week is over. That would be have been a more appropriate challenge, imo.

    • I was talking to my dad about this, who is currently a Bishop. He said that we must never underestimate peoples’ ability to take a good thing and mess it up. Something to that effect. I think that nails what happened here.

      Nelson implemented something that was well intentioned and too many people didn’t go about it with the right spirit.

    • I want to #givethanks to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who laid down his own life that we may all live again. 

      If it weren’t for Christ’s infinite atonement, we would just be little specks hurdling through space void of any metaphysical or divine purpose. Christ, the Lord of the universe, gives us purpose, meaning, and hope for a better tomorrow. 

      ⬆️ I posted this as my final #givethanks post. I decided to not let obnoxious bragging posts prevent me from sharing what I feel is truly most important.

    • I’m still put off by the whole #givethanks trend, btw. Glad my post on here was so warmly received.

      I #givethanks to all of you for your positive feedback! 👍

    • I like seeing the things people are thankful for. Any little bit of positivity is so much better than all the negativity that been out there. If someone's life looks better than mine, it doesn't make me feel worse about my life it makes me feel good for them.

    • I agree with regard to all the well-intentioned, wholesome #givethanks posts. Many of them were out there. Those I liked reading. I have no issue seeing people be grateful for their lives.

      But, as I said earlier, the bragging, self-absorbed posts I saw, not a fan. And it got tiring to read. Hopefully that makes sense. Thanks for sharing your take, because I certainly think there were two types of posts circulating. Glad you were able to focus on more of the positive! 😊❤️