As we enter the New Year of the Gregorian calendar, like each year before it everyone wants a fresh and new start. It’s a brand new slate for us to write our hopes, dreams and aspirations we have for the year on. We have momentum at the beginning of the year and then it fades. We all know the feeling.
But one mindset I believe we all need to have more of in 2019 is one of more Gratitude, especially myself. What is Gratitude and How does it Benefit us?
Gratitude: The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
I’ve noticed with my kids when they show gratitude and appreciate the toys, sweets etc I give to them I Want to give them More. But when they moan and complain I don’t want to give them anything. It’s human nature, we don’t want to give when we don’t feel appreciated with our efforts, time, gifts and energy. Imagine you give a friend a present and they just toss it, you’ll be like WTH I’m not getting her anything again.
Gratitude is mentioned in the Quran particularly in the 2nd chapter Surah Al Baqarah – The Cow and in chapter 14 Surah Ibrahim/ Abraham. It is a big part of our religion to be grateful to God and to people and by doing this it will only bring benefit to ourselves.
In a lecture I listened to about Gratitude by Nouman Ali Khan he was talking about the verses in the chapter of Ibrahim when Musa AS escaped from the tyrant Pharaoh with the enslaved nation of Egypt. Musa AS spoke to them after they escaped whilst they were still in a difficult situation in the desert.
He said the first step to Gratitude is to remember all the bad stuff you have got through before in your life.
He said if you are grateful to God/ show the least bit of gratitude in desperate moments he will increase you. And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed, ‘if you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour) 14/7.
He said to think positive of God and I’m telling you he will increase for you more. Show gratitude and God will increase all the good things around you, patience, strength, perseverance, goodness and on and on and this is a guarantee from God that Muslims have to believe.
We’re a culture of complainers, not a culture of gratitude and we need to be one of people who increases.
Things can always be a lot worse don’t choose the path of ingratitude, look to those that have less than you or in a worse situation than you not those that have more/better and it will make you grateful that you don’t have such and such illness and such and such hardship. You don’t have to look far you can see on social media all the problems.
My Own Experiences
I used to work for Action for Children. It was in a house taking care of young people with disabilities. Disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy, children in wheel chairs. Waking up in the morning and doing simple things like having a bath is a big chore and difficulty and is emotionally and physically tolling for the family. This made me appreciate my health like no other job.
I visited a friend in the Christmas holidays and she told me about her friend that was pregnant like me after trying to get pregnant for 8 years and spending £40,000 in 3 rounds of IVF treatment. In that time I’ve had children without even trying to get pregnant.
The silver lining with my miscarriage was that it happened very early on in the pregnancy. I have other healthy children already praise be to God, whilst some women have had 8 miscarriages back to back trying to for their first child.
I remember I was in the dentist and had to fill in a form and it asked if I had any of the illnesses on the page, cancer and such, I didn’t have any Alhumdilillah but imagine if you have just one let alone two let alone three.
Being grateful gives us improved mental and physical health. It staves off things like anxiety, sadness and depression (not saying these things don’t happen). It makes you happier and have improved relationships.
We don’t realise until something is taken from us. I always think imagine we weren’t born healthy and had to pay for it. How well would we treat our health but we take it for granted because it’s been given to us for free.
Think of at least 3 things that you are grateful for each day. Say them out loud or write them down, praise the lord for them because a lot of things we have we have made zero effort to obtain it yet we have been blessed with it.
The constant bombardment of marketing and conspicuous consumption has done a number on our psyche always wanting what we don’t actually need. And constantly scrolling social media looking at other people’s “lives” and what they’re portraying with their holidays, relationships, cars, houses is making people ill. Narrow what you follow and use social media to your advantage by producing rather than consuming.
Here’s to being more grateful in 2019 for what we have rather than longing for or being upset with what we don’t have.
A young Syrian boy sleeping in a flooded freezing cold tent in a refugee camp in Lebanon. How did you sleep last night? Say Alhumdilillah!
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