Tool for HeartConnexion® Living
Keep Gratitude in Your Life
by Keeping Perspective About Life
It is incredibly easy to lose our perspective about life, which, in turn, distorts our point of view about reality, our motivation and limits our experience of gratitude. Have you ever admitted that you were “making a mountain out of a molehill?” Isn’t it easier to see when other people are doing it? How high was your awareness of gratitude while that was happening? Our natural tendency is to view life as if our immediate story, the situations and struggles in our life, as the center of the universe. Our individualistic culture values a self-centered point of view. We know better, but it happens anyway. We have to choose to put energy into being proactive about keeping a larger perspective in order to keep gratitude in our life.
We can become so immune to the news about the world situation. In fact, we have to if we don’t want to put our story into perspective of the larger story of our world. Read the following list slowly. Try to put an individual’s face to each situation listed. Allow your self to know what actual people are facing today:
- One of every three children lives with more than five people per room or with a mud floor.
- Nearly 20% of the world’s children have no safe water to drink or have a 15-minute walk to water.
- In Mozambique alone, 55 children die each day from diarrhea because of unsafe water and poor sanitation. Two-thirds of the population lives below the government’s poverty line – 40 cents per day.
- In South East Asia alone, more than 90 million children go hungry every day.
- 134 million children between 7 – and 18 have never been to school.
- In the Congo, more than 3.3 million have died from fighting began that began in 1998.
- Rape is widely being used by combatants of all sides to spread systematic terror and shame. It also means death for many since 27 percent of rape victims tested positive for HIV.
- Worldwide, an estimated 300,000 children under 15 have been recruited be armed forces and guerrilla groups as front-line combatants, sex-slaves and camp-slaves to cook and clean.
- Armed conflict is being fought right now in at least 40 areas of the world. In just five countries (Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone), an estimated 4 million women and 6 million children under age 15 are in danger due to combat or its effects.
- In 1900 civilian casualties of armed conflict was 5 percent but now nearly of 90 percent of the casualties are civilians – the majority of whom are women, children and the elderly.
- In the past 10 years, more than 2 million children were killed in armed conflict, more that 4 million survived physical malnutrition and more that 1 million were orphaned or separated from their families as the result of wars.
- Children worldwide are exposed to seeing gruesome bloodshed as an everyday occurrence leaving massive psychological trauma and hopelessness.
- Approximately one out of 300 people on earth is a refugee, asylum seeker or returnee after being a refugee.
The reality of the larger story about life can be overwhelming to let into our point of view about life. It seems so difficult to know what to do about it, yet that acknowledgement is key to restoring our sense of gratitude. We do not have to deny that we face real life challenges to appreciate that many people in the world might gladly exchange places in a heartbeat.
It is not about simply feeling guilty about all our blessings but it is about being proactive to keep gratitude in our life. Without it we lose compassion. Without compassion we lose the message that our freedom as individuals is not freedom to just be self-indulgent but freedom to serve and influence others in healthy ways.
Take a few minutes and ask yourself how you can be proactive about keeping perspective and gratitude in your life. For some, it might even put dealing with family at Thanksgiving in a different light.
Dr. Paul D. Fitzgerald, ©2002 HeartConnexion Ministries