Just recently I had one of those moments when life seemed to really test my composure. I received a parking ticket, a fine for going through a red light and a fine for travelling through a national park all within a 24 hour period. This totalled up to about $800 worth of fines during a time where I had been working my butt off to save money and build up my business. I was pissed off and a little down until something magical happened.
Later that day a client of mine shared a very touching story with me about a child who was living in poverty on the borders of Libya. Literally starving, just skin and bones the child was offered two lolly pops from a photographer. Upon receiving the lollipops the child stared at them for a moment, then offered one of the lollipops back to the photographer suggesting: "we should share". How touching! Here I was complaining about my fines while overlooking just how lucky I was to be in a situation where I could even have such fines. How lucky I am to be in a situation where I could be driving my own car, be running my own business while having all my basic needs met. It is so easy to overlook just how good we have it in first world countries. Some perspective can really change the way we look at our problems. It can turn them into reasons to be grateful
10 reasons to be grateful in a first world country.
1. You have food
While we are fussing over brands, gluten content and which wine will compliment our vegan lasagna about 17,000 children are dying from starvation every day. 17,000!! Process that for a moment.
2. You can have a hot shower
Not only are we lucky to have clean water available when we turn the tap, we are even more lucky to have hot water available. While we take it for granted, many people living in third world countries only get to bathe in dirty water every so often. Cold showers are only fun, but only when you have the option.
3. There is work available
You may not like your current job, but at least you have a job. In over populated poor countries work can be very hard to find. Many are forced to work dangerous jobs for almost nothing as that's all that is available.
4. You can turn on the lights at night
How many times do you flick on a light switch at night without thinking twice? Even in 2017, about 1.2 billion people (about 16% of our population) don't have access to electricity.
5. You have clean clothes on your back
We are so concerned about fashion and designer brands while a huge percentage of our population are wearing torn smelly rags and don't own shoes. Sure it's nice to dress with a little style and feel comfortable, but do we really need 12 pairs of trainers?
6. You have a bed
I will never forget during a visit to Bali in my teens having to step over children sleeping on the ground as we came out of a restaurant. While we are tucked away warm and safe in our beds at night about 1.6 billion people are homeless and sleeping on the ground outside.
7. The floor in your home is not made of dirt
Just having a floor is a luxury. Many homes in Africa or other third world countries still have dirt or earth floors. Imagine that for a moment in your kitchen and bedroom.
8. You won't be shot, raped or robbed today
Crime & violence rates are so much higher in third world countries. While we are stressed about missing our train or getting stuck in traffic, many people are dodging bullets and bombs. To many people, violence and crime are a part of daily life.
9. You have friends or family
In war-torn countries, many children have lost their entire families. They are alone, they are scared. Perhaps sometimes we take for granted the special people in our lives.
10. You have opportunity
Despite you current health, financial and occupation situation there are opportunities. There is support, we can turn things around and live a good life. Not everyone has that option. How upset they would be to know that we sit around feeling sad and depressed despite having so much. I'm sure they would be so grateful to have even a fraction of our opportunity.
Just writing this article and looking through images, I found myself brought to tears several times. I can only hope it stirs something beautiful in you too. I hope it brings you a sense of gratitude for what you have and the urge to help those less fortunate and in need.
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