Advocating gratefulness as alternative to complaining

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 at 10:19 PM

I am thankful for the dishes I have to do because that means I can afford to eat. I am thankful for the pile of laundry building up in my basket because that means I have clothes to wear. I am thankful for the tuition I pay because that means I have an education. I am thankful for the water coming out of my tap because that means I have access to clean, running water in my home.

I know to some this might seem a little extreme, but in the grand scheme of things, people that have access to these things are privileged.

Did you know that one in 10 people lack access to safe water? Or even that one in three people lack access to a toilet? That is around 2.4 billion people that don’t have the luxury of a bathroom, according to water.org, and I bet you’ve complained about cleaning one. I know I have.

I have opened a fridge full of food and complained there is nothing to eat. I have looked at my closet stuffed with clothes and said I have nothing to wear. I have complained about being cold outside while wearing a coat and a hat. What I’ve come to realize is, my worst day could potentially be better than someone’s best day, and that is something truly gut wrenching.

On a normal occasion I will open my fridge, stare at whatever is inside of it, then decide I’d rather go out to dinner. I’ll text my friends and everyone is usually all about going out to eat. But what about the 3 billion people in the world who live on less than $2.50 a day? Or the 1.3 billion living in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day, according to dosomething.org. To them, I bet opening a fridge with anything in it would be satisfying.

What about that electricity bill that comes every month? No one likes paying bills, they feel like an inconvenience and all those hours you spent working seem like a waste because you’re just writing a check to Penelec, again.

But could you imagine living without it?

I couldn’t.

Well, one-forth of the world lives without electricity, according to dosomething.org. That is about 1.6 billion people. Next time, the power goes out, even if it’s just for a few minutes; think about those people who live that way every minute of everyday.

What about the weather? Something no one has any control over, but everyone complains about. Even when the dreadful winter comes, you have a home to go to, you have a cozy bed to lie in with blankets. Next time the blustery snow is falling from the sky and you’re walking to class and you can’t wait to be back home or in your dorm, think about how truly blessed you are to have some place to go to escape the numbing winter weather.

The percentage of homeless people in the world is hard to conduct, but according to homelessworldcup.org, in 2005 an estimated 100 million people were homeless and as many as 1 billion people lacked adequate housing.

Complaining is an easy thing to do, everyone does it, sometimes it’s even a conversation starter. But why? Most people don’t have much to complain about. There is so much to be thankful for that gets taken for granted every day.

Next time you feel like complaining about something, think again. Think of all those people in the world who would be over joyed about having a bathroom to clean or a stack of dishes to wash. Your reaction to a situation has the power to change the situation as a whole, just by adjusting your mindset.

Becca Martin is a Copy Editor for The Spectator.

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