Updated: Dec 26, 2018
Christmas has always been a consistent event for many, it's a time family reunite, presents are shared, the smell of Christmas food in the making. But for others it can be a lonely time, no friends or family to be loved by, no present to share or receive. Because of this, Christmas hasn’t been the “picture-perfect” holiday that I now come to know as an adult.
A couple of days ago I found myself dwelling on all of the negative aspects of this Christmas. I kept thinking how much happier we would all be if certain things played out differently in Nigeria. How we should be the pride of Africa by now.
We are in the age of technology. Nigeria should be great and needs to be great.
But what I’ve come to realise is that this way of thinking is simply a case of “the grass is greener on the other side”.
Sure, the grass may be greener on the other side.
But what good will come out of obsessing over things you have no control over? Of course, sometimes these thoughts are unavoidable. However, I have found a good way of redirecting those negative thoughts. "Gratitude"
Gratitude is the act of being thankful for what you have and noticing the simple pleasures in life.
Being grateful helps us shift our focus from what our life lacks to what we already have.
If someone were to ask me to name things I’m grateful for, I’d have no problem coming up with a list:
· I’m grateful for the roof over my head.
· I’m grateful for the food I have to eat.
· I’m grateful for the clothing I have to wear.
· I’m grateful for my family and friends.
And if someone then asked me why I’m grateful, I could answer that easily, too:
· I’m grateful for the roof over my head because I know many people are homeless.
· I’m grateful for the food I have to eat because I know others are starving.
· I’m grateful for the clothing I have to wear because I know others lack basic needs.
· I’m grateful for my family and friends because I know others have lost loved ones or lack a strong and loving support system.
But I’d have to admit that my feelings of gratitude are often short-lived and conditional.
I don’t ever have a problem conjuring a sense of gratitude when I’m thinking of those who have less.
When I hear about people living in poverty, or I hear unfortunate news of someone’s failing health or failing marriage or lost job, I feel genuinely appreciative and thankful for what I have.
What’s much harder is feeling truly grateful when comparing myself to those who have more. I mean abundantly moreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
The gratitude I feel for my hard work and achievements tends to wilt a little when I step into someone else’s much larger shadow.
My feelings of gratitude for the clothing that keeps me warm and dry tends to evaporate when I see my friends with a more stylish clothes, or step into Shoprite and see the newest “must have” fashions.
It’s not a pretty thing to admit. But I can’t imagine I’m alone in this fact of life.
I’m grateful for my loving family and friends…but that group of ladies on Facebook sure seems to have a way more exciting social life than I do.
And this is where the real work needs to begin, when it comes to living a grateful life.
I think that we need to find contentment in order to truly live in a state of gratitude rather than just experiencing gratitude in bursts.
Being grateful and content doesn’t mean we can’t aspire to better things. It just means that you don’t let your “wants” consume you, and you don’t let the “dot dot dots” derail your sense of gratitude.
Here are things to be grateful for in our lives:
Your parents – for giving birth to you. Because if there is no them, there will not be you. Your family – for being your closest kin in the world. Your friends – for being your companions in life. Your speech – for giving you the outlet to express yourself. Your mind – for the ability to think, to store memories, and to create new solutions. Your school – for providing a environment conducive to learning and growing. Tears – for helping you express your deepest emotions. Disappointment – so you know the things that matter to you most. Fears – so you know your opportunities for growth. Pain – for you to become a stronger person. Sadness – for you to appreciate the spectrum of human emotions. Happiness – for you to soak in the beauty of life. Internet – for connecting you and others despite the physical space between you. Mobile phones – for making it easy to stay in touch with others. Your job – for giving you a source of living and for being a medium where you can add value to the world. Music – for lifting your spirits when you’re down and for filling your life with more love. Your bed – for you to sleep comfortably in every night. Your home – for a place you can call home. Your soul mate – for being the one who understands everything you’re going through. Your best friends – for being there for you whenever you need them. Your enemies – for helping you uncover your blind spots so you can become a better person. Kind strangers – for brightening up your days when you least expect it. Your mistakes – for helping you to improve and become better. Heartbreaks – for helping you mature and become a better person. Laughter – for serenading your life with joy. Love – for letting you feel what it means to truly be alive. Life – for giving you the chance to experience all that you’re experiencing, and will be experiencing in time to come.
So if anyone out there is having a hard time this holiday season, you are definitely not alone.
My advice would be to try and find something that you are thankful for this Christmas, even if it is just one thing, and cherish that.
Thank you so much for visiting.
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