How grateful are you?
“I [sic] grateful for the pair of eyes I have to help me see the things out there in the world…”
– Girl, aged 10
How grateful are you for the things that you have? I was prompted to think about this when a 10-year-old girl shared that she was grateful for the pair of eyes she has so she could see the things out there in the world. How poignant! It was a Ramadan challenge planned by her mother in my Incredible Years Parent programme which the girl happily took on and rose to the challenge.
It is human nature to bemoan the many things we do not have. If only I am richer! If only I have double eyelids! … However, being grateful has numerous scientifically proven benefits: Gratitude opens the door to more relationships; it improves physical and psychological health; it enhances empathy and reduces aggression; it improves self-esteem and it increases mental strength (A. Morin, 2015).
What am I grateful for? Let me try to list 10 items. 10 being a good number, a good balance between gratefulness and modesty.
1. I cannot run fast, but I can walk. I can walk 10km within 2 hours to raise funds for children in need. I am grateful for my legs.
2. I could not hear very well due to the years of treating my ears with blasting music, but I could still hear the good stuff, stuff that keeps me going. I am grateful for my ears.
3. The children I taught before could drive me up the wall, but they also taught me many things and gave me the best memories. I am grateful to the numerous children who had ‘walked’ with me. Most have become parents with children of their own.
4. I am not in a high flying job, but I am making a difference in the lives of the children and families whom I am working with. I am grateful for my job. It is my vocation.
5. I could easily be led astray in my youth, but I was not. I have my faith which guides me along the right path unfailingly. I am grateful for God.
6. My father passed away when I was very young, but I had a mother who showed me how a woman could bring up two young daughters single-handedly, stoically. I am eternally grateful to my mother.
7. My sister and I are not very expressive with our feelings, but we live close to each other. Both of us have this implicit understanding that each of us will drop everything to reach out if one of us were but to call out to another. I am grateful for my one and only big sister.
8. I do not have a big family, but I have a loving husband whom I can share my ups and downs with, without being judged. I am grateful for my husband.
9. I do not have countless followers on social media platforms, but I have a handful of close friends who will come to my aid whenever I need help. I am grateful to my bosom pals.
10. It is not a bed of roses at work, but I have kind colleagues. They complement me in areas which I am lacking in. I am grateful for my colleagues.
How about you? What are you grateful for?
Josephine Loh (Training Manager, Morning Star Community Services Ltd)