I grew up comparing myself to others and wanting new clothes, shoes and all kinds of trivial stuff every single week. I remember I’d grab a CD at every trip to Carrefour and my dad would drive us to the mall on the way back from the country club on Sundays. I collected shopping bags, cosmetics, shoes and stationary items just for the sake of possessing new things and feel less “behind” my friends and classmates. I was never satisfied with what I had and always wanted and asked for more.
What do these childhood memories have to do with gratitude?
Well, at age 33, I can finally look back and realize how I took my life, my family and even my clothes for granted. Instead of appreciating what I had, I never felt I had enough and did not even consider the sacrifices my parents went through to provide not only the basics but also my spoiled kid demands. Because I was not thankful to them, I felt miserable even though I received privileged education and wore branded clothes.
Today I can still afford some of my childhood luxuries but the difference is that I value every single item I own. I can affirm I live a simple and happy life, thanks to my parents who:
- Invested on my education so I could choose where to work
- Provided home and food so I could grow healthy and strong
- Sacrificed their own dreams for my sister and I to pursue our own dreams
- Taught me that developing an independent thinking was more important than being a follower
- Showed me the importance of family, as every school holiday we would go visit my grandparents instead of traveling somewhere else
- Argued that clothes and shoes do not represent my true self
- Proved that it’s worth to give up on short-term desires in order to reach a long-term goal
- Pushed me to learn how to swim, play instruments, Chinese, English, etc because I would need those in the future
- Made me try eating all types of food so I build tolerance and acceptance of different dishes when I travel the world
The above are only a few things I could list on the tip of my tongue, and I am sure it would be way longer if I took more time to think.
I hope this post reminds you of all situations and people you are grateful for but for some reason, you have not expressed your appreciation yet.