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Yvette Nicole Brown on the Art of Being Truly Thankful

Yvette Nicole Brown wants you to appreciate it all, whether big or small.
This past January I made a promise to myself. I promised that I would find a way to embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving all year long. I promised that instead of being vocally grateful on one day I would count my blessings and share them all year long.

I read something a few years ago that said when giving thanks at the end of the day, remember to thank God for the “savings.” The piece went on to explain that savings were those things that God kept from happening to you that you were unaware of. Basically the car accident you DIDN’T have, the job you DIDN’T lose, the relationship that DIDN’T fail. You know, the invisible gifts we take for granted everyday that save us from a lot of heartache. I liked the idea of savings. I liked it so much that this year, whenever I was stuck in traffic or missed a green light, I immediately gave thanks for the fender-bender I missed due to the delay. It was a simple shift in thinking that changed everything in my day. Life was no longer conspiring against me. Instead, it was orchestrating my every moment for my good and the good of others. Delays became gifts. Frustrations became joys.

I also began to give thanks for the lessons and growth that came via small annoyances. I gave thanks for the gift of patience, which I learned stuck behind an extreme couponer in the only open lane at the grocery store. I gave thanks for the gift of quiet reflection that came when I realized two hours into a five-hour road trip that I left my cell phone behind. And just last week I gave thanks for the gift of giving back, when I had the opportunity to bless the coffers of a local business when I lost my house key and accrued a $215 locksmith bill at 11pm on a work night. Okay, so that one really hurt, but you get the point.

It’s not an easy perspective shift, but it’s blessed me immensely.

Most notably, a few days ago when I found out that “Community,” the NBC comedy I’m on, was taking a mid-season break. Which basically means that though we will be able to finish our season, come January we would no longer be airing every Thursday night. My twitter feed went bananas. Fans of the show were up in arms, concerned about how I was taking the news and wondering what they could do to help “save” the show. It was frenzy; but a funny thing happened in the midst of the frenzy, I realized that I was okay with it all. In fact, the only thing I felt was gratitude. Gratitude for the three years we have been on the air, gratitude for the gift of getting to finish the season and gratitude for the vocal outpouring of love from our small, but rabid fan base. No worry or despair, just peace and calm. What a blessing!

I will vocally give thanks tomorrow for all the savings, lessons and blessings this year has brought. But most importantly I will continue to give thanks daily for the good the bad and the otherwise. Life. That’s something to be grateful for.

Be blessed, everybody.

Yvette Nicole Brown (@YvetteNBrown) is a TV and film actress who currently stars as Shirley on “Community.”