With thanksgiving in the air, I’ve decided to focus on gratitude, and the fact that we, as a society, are spoiled. Yes! You, me, your partner, probably your child, and even your neighbor. All spoiled. As first world citizens, it is easy to forget what we have, and how blessed we really are. Everyday we are bombarded by images, messages, and videos, reminding us of all the things we don’t have. Whether clothes, beauty, health, cars, fitness, homes, careers. But you know what?…….. None of that matters, because things could always be worse.
Things Could Always Be Worse!
While we sit here eating organic food, wearing fancy clothes, and getting spa treatments, much of the rest of the world thinks only about surviving. Many countries are lucky to have water, never mind fancy foods, expensive clothing, or vain beauty products. Now I know these are luxuries, and we are blessed to get to enjoy them. But, we should keep things in perspective and remind ourselves that things could always be worse.
Truthfully, I am horrible at gratitude, and constantly forget how great I really have it. But I am writing about this, after watching a video of a baby who was born blind, and under went surgery to get her sight back. While the video honestly wasn’t that amazing, it definitely made me think….. This mom had a blind baby, and I complain about my fully functional child? This baby couldn’t see, at all. Nothing. Ever. And I whine about cleaning and stress? So many people in the world have way, way, way less than I do.
I have an education, money, food, clothing, shelter, family. And not just the basics in these areas, but abundance. I can wear a wide variety of clothes, fit in them, and still have money to buy new ones (within reason). I can eat pretty much anything I want, my food is varied, and I get to enjoy everything I eat. Whatever I want, whenever I want, as much as I want. My shelter is not a box, but a big, spacious home. Full of furniture and material items, that make my life comfortable, easier, and better.
My husband and daughter are with me, every day, every step of the way. I have made friends near and far. And I’ve been fortunate enough to meet people all around the world, from different walks of life. So, I am not alone in this journey of life, but have supporters, and people who love me everywhere. In addition, I have my senses, something that many of us take for granted. I can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.
Basically, I have more than enough of everything and anything that I could possibly need. Sure, I may be able to list all the extras that I would like to have, but there is nothing necessarily missing. Which means, if we have everything we might need, why are so many people still unhappy and miserable and depressed?
My husband always says it is because North Americans are spoiled. When he lived in Africa, he never heard of depression, suicide, or misery over there. People didn’t have time, energy or resources to be miserable or depressed. Everything they had, was put towards surviving. That’s it! Food, shelter, clothing, water. Nothing else. Joy was found in simple things. Playing with garbage, kicking dirt and rocks, looking at the sky.
While I know most of us are not living in Africa or third world countries. But it still makes a great point: things could always, always, always be worse. Stop complaining and focusing on what you don’t have. Stop being miserable, and allowing yourself to be unhappy. Step up! Start to be incredibly grateful for every, single, tiny thing in your life. You can show your thankfulness out loud, in your head, written down, or through prayer. It doesn’t matter. What does matters is that you put your gratitude out there. Start to see all that you have, instead of all that you don’t.
In case you are stuck, not sure what you are grateful for. Not sure what good is happening in your life. Maybe completely unaware of all the blessings you have. Here are mine.
Things I’m Thankful For……
My daughter – My husband – Our Japanese home – Recipe books – Tomato Soup – Peanut Butter
A fully functional body – Yoga – Clean water – Baths – Apple products – Big, comfy bed
10-item wardrobe – Friends – My mom & Dad – My sister – Internet – Facebook – Trees
Fresh air – Hot tea – The sun – Rain – Airplanes – Travel – Clear skin – Sight
Hearing – Ability to walk, run, swim, do anything – Talking – Music – Quiet – My stroller
A car – swimming pools – Christmas – Chocolate – Mexican food – Chips – Books – Cafes
And truthfully, I could go on…. When you get into a mindset of gratitude and thanksgiving, you start to realize that the list is endless. There are literally so many things to be thankful for. And you may not feel especially thankful while writing, but that will improve as you add more, and start to see all that you really have.
Another tip I’ve learned, is to think of at least…...If you’re not happy with your clothing, at least you have clothes. If you don’t like how you’re eating, at least you have food, at least you don’t eat potato chips all day. There is always a much worse counter situation that you can tell yourself. When I feel bad about my life, I try to think of all the at leasts. At least I am not poor, at least I have a family, at least I am healthy. Again the list could go on.
So, any time you are feeling down, not happy with yourself or life. Reach for gratitude. Find absolutely anything and everything that you can be thankful for. Because there will always, indefinitely, be things for you to find. And as this becomes a habit, your happiness will grow, more good things will come into your life, and you’ll start to notice those things that really matter. Let’s not just be thankful at Thanksgiving, but every day, all year!
Monthly challenge is trying new things, make gratitude one of them!!!