Being Grateful

gratitude-1024x525If there’s one thing we’re all good at, it is complaining. Even the nicest person among us has something to complain about. And for the most part, we have legitimate gripes. Maybe the hair cut you just got was not what you asked for. Maybe the landscaper didn’t trim the hedges in the manner you had requested and perhaps the delivery guy could have been a little faster with your lunch. We can all complain, it’s one of the easiest things to do. What isn’t easy is being grateful.

Rather than count our blessings we’d prefer to count all the reasons how our lives could be better. But when you stop to think about it, our lives really aren’t all that bad. This morning, did you wake up to the shattering sound of a cruise missile destroying the house next to you because a battleship 100 miles away thought a militant leader was inside? Yesterday did you see your best friend die when he was shot through the chest on the streets of Chicago for no other reason than he was there and the shooters in the car driving by decided to open fire? Did you spend the majority of your day wondering if you were going to have dinner? Not about what you were going to have, as in a choice, but whether you would have any food at all?

There are real problems, and then there are what we call 1st world problems. The difference is pretty easy to tell. A real problem is not knowing if a dentist will be available since the clinic is in the middle of rebel-controlled territory in Syria. A 1st world problem is having to wait an extra day for your teeth whitening procedure. When you put a 1st world problem in perspective, you start to ask if it is really a problem at all.

All of us should take some time out and think about being more grateful. We all take things for granted… running water, hot water, consistent electricity, food, public transportation, healthcare and instant communication. It’s not that we don’t have problems, we do, but when compared to how the majority of the world lives our problems pale in comparison.

The next time you feel like complaining, take a moment and think about people who are struggling to survive in Gaza, Syria, the Sudan, the favelas in Rio, the gang-run streets in Chicago and the poverty-stricken neighborhoods right here in Connecticut such as New Haven and Bridgeport. We can always complain, but are we strong enough to admit how grateful we really should be?

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