This is a Guest Article by Sanah Rizvi. Readers may contact Sanah through her website at:
There is so much that is wrong with the society we live in. There is so much about ourselves that we wish to change. In an attempt to make ourselves better and to change our society, many times we forget to be grateful for the things we do have. We focus so much on the negative that the positive loses its place in our hearts. Here is a list of some things we all should be grateful for, for gratitude itself is a virtue.
1. Your Life
No matter how you think it is, it is a gift. So many individuals don’t get a chance to make it as far as you did. Disease, poverty, famines, and droughts claim thousands of lives each year, but you were lucky. You got to live, to survive, to exist and to be able to dream. Be grateful for your life.
2. Your Situation
Wherever you are, if you’re reading this you are already in a better situation than the hundreds of millions of individuals who are struggling to have two square meals a day. Be grateful for your situation.
3. Your Friends
They’re the family you picked. Think of the crazy inside jokes, the embarrassing memories, the late night phone calls and the fact that they’ve always got your back. Be grateful for that priceless relationship.
4. Your Parents
Your biggest fans and most honest critics. The only beings who could possibly love you more than you could ever love them. Not all parents are great, I agree, but they did choose to let you live and gave you life. Be grateful to your parents for their support, their encouragement, for their strength and undying love. Be grateful for the opportunity of life that they gave you.
5. Your Courage
You’ve lived so long, you’ve come so far. You made it despite heartbreaks and pain, though disappointment and failure. Yet here you are, alive, motivated and rearing to go. Remember to be grateful to whatever is giving you the will to drag yourself out of bed and face the world. Be it your motivation, your goals, your God, whatever, be grateful for the courage.
6. Your Strength
The fact that you didn’t break down that once. The time when you supported your friend in despair, that time you smiled for the family photo when all you wanted to do was to cry, but you didn’t. Be grateful for your strength to face your troubles and overcome your sorrows.
7. Your Mind
A complex science, a firm friend. Your mind can wander to destinations unknown and yet be back to the present in a fraction of a second. It keeps you hoping, dreaming, thinking. It is in essence a part of what makes you, you. Be grateful for your mind’s ability to contribute to making you who you are.
8. Your Heart
Scared, wounded, healed, and still up for more of the same, your heart is like the spirit of a three-year-old. No matter how much it bears it bounces back. If it were to stop even for a second your life could be in danger. Be grateful for you heart for its mettle.
9. Your Senses
To touch, to smell, to see, to feel all the beautiful feeling we take for granted. Think of a day when you couldn’t feel. Think of the misery if you couldn’t taste. Think of the beauty that you would miss out on if you couldn’t see. Be grateful for your senses that make the world so pretty.
10. The Things You Love
Everything you love gives you joy. It becomes a part of you and can easily make you smile or tear up. Be grateful for its presence and its effect in your life.
11. Your Belongings
Your bag, your clothes, your couch, your table, everything that’s yours has a story. Even if it’s boring, it’s a story. When you got it, why you got it, how you got it, when you used it, every little detail works its way to make your life more complete. Each story captures a moment in your life that will never come back. Be grateful for those moments hidden in your belongings.
12. Your Tears
Remember that time you cried in joy? That time when you thought you couldn’t be happier? Do you also recall that terrible night when you thought you’re heart couldn’t take any more? Your tears bear testimony to the best and worst times you’ve had. Be grateful for the emotions your tears brought forth.
13. Your Mistakes
A clouded judgment, a tinted perspective, an unfair remark, that stupid, stupid, phone call. Some mistakes that were forgiven and some that weren’t. Some mistakes that warranted an answer and some that didn’t. Every mistake helped you grow, to learn, to understand. Be grateful for the wisdom that your mistakes enabled.
14. Your Life Lessons
A lesson could be anything. Basic etiquette, the touch of a hand, the path back home, the stranger who helped, the little girl you learned to console. A lesson in life is one that only experience can enable. With every lesson learned, you’re one step more experienced than you were yesterday. Be grateful for the experience.
15. Your Mentors
Be it your family, friends, professors, or bosses, be grateful for those individuals who took time out of their lives to help you. To make you feel more competent and give you the cheat sheet of life that they never had. Be grateful for their guidance.
16. Your Happiness
Happiness is a misunderstood, often misquoted commodity. To be loved is to be happy, to be an artist is to be happy, to walk in a park alone with your thoughts is to be happy. Happiness is how you define it. Many people are robbed of their happiness for they often try to follow someone else’s definition of it. It’s a rare commodity today, one that the world is scrambling to own. Be grateful for your happiness.
17. Your Disappointments
With every disappointment that you encountered, be it academic, emotional, physical, artistic or mental, you got a little stronger. Your disappointment temporarily saddened you though, taught you to overcome the sadness and be happy again. Be grateful for the strength your disappointments gave you.
18. Your Job
For all the hard work you put in and for the job that pays your rent. It may not be the best yet, but it could help you get the best. It’s one door that will lead to another. It’s a door that you had to fight to get to. Be grateful the door opened.
19. Your Enemies
Your enemies taught you about the world the way that no book or reality show could. They taught you how to fight, how to be true to yourself and, most importantly, what not to be like. Be grateful to your enemies for showing you who you never want to be.
20. Your Teachers
They encouraged you, corrected you, motivated you and applauded you, asking for nothing in return from you. Some you loved, some you didn’t, yet they cared for you all the same. Be grateful for their time and effort that they spent on you.
21. Your Heartbreaks
Each heartbreak made your heart stronger, wiser, more experienced. It gave you the wisdom to tell between loyal and faithful, a lie and a truth, and eventually between reality and expectations. Your heartbreaks taught you to bounce back and introduced you to your quieter side and your best friends. Be grateful for that knowledge.
22. Your Laughter
To be able to extract humor from a situation is nothing short of a talent, a gift if you will. To be able to look at something with such an eye that you couldn’t help but laugh. Be grateful for the talent that enables you to laugh.
23. Your Body
It’s able, it’s healthy. Be grateful that your body is responsive, healthy and yours. Your body is yours alone and for that be grateful.
24. Your Pain
The funny thing about pain is that when you feel it, it hurts so bad, but when it’s gone, you can’t remember how it felt. You have an idea that you hurt but not how much. Be grateful that it’s over, that the pain you once felt is no more. And the pain you feel will slowly die out. Be grateful for the pain for it introduced you to a greater joy after it passed.
25. Your Siblings
Your first and last friends. Your partners in crime, your shoulders in despair. Your siblings are the best thing that could ever happen to you. Whether it’s an inside joke, an anniversary gift, a heart break or even plotting a plan, they’re always there and always on your side. Be grateful for your siblings.
26. The Sun
Every day, it comes and spreads its light over all of us. Unselfish and kind, its warmth spreads in every direction. Be grateful for the sun, for without it food wouldn’t grow and your body wouldn’t experience its tender warmth.
27. The Trees
Ask any child, they’ll tell you why. But if there isn’t a child around, let me tell you. Trees make the world prettier, give us fruits and purify the air. Be grateful for the selfless trees that allow us to live so well.
28. Your Privileges
No matter how few privileges you have, at least you have some. You may work towards a fairer society and that is awe inspiring, but don’t forget to be grateful for the knowledge of their existence and the power to utilize your privileges. Be grateful that you know your privileges.
29. Your Choices
Your choices — good or bad — were yours alone. You were lucky to have an opportunity to make your choice, to do as your heart desires and to be able to pick from among options. You were lucky that it wasn’t just one way. Be grateful for the opportunity to make your own choices.
It’s hot, we have fans, it’s cold we have heaters, imagine those who have nothing. Be grateful that you have electricity to pamper yourself. It’s not a right, it’s a luxury.
31. Drinking Water
Everyday on the streets of my hometown I see children begging for mercy, for food, but even more so, for water. Be grateful for the water you drink. For the ease of the availability of that water and the purity of the water. Be grateful, for millions are dying because they don’t have water. For water, too, is a privilege.
32. Your Name
It’s an identity you were born with. Your name gave you a place in the world. It doesn’t matter whether you changed it, or kept it or hate it, it’s your first, not only, identity, but an identity nonetheless. Be grateful for an identity.