This is not your usual piece of gratitude.
I am sure you are well aware of all the benefits of practicing gratitude regularly.
If you are a reader of this blog, chances are you have a habit of gratitude. I was one of you I have been keeping a regular gratitude journal for over a year. I have experienced all the promised benefits myself.
Writing down my gratitude in a journal has helped me feel less stressed, sleep better, and feel more energized. It improved my mental health so much that I started a social media page to encourage others to practice gratitude.
But one day things changed. Thank you for starting to make me feel bad, selfish, and guilty.
what happened? On February 6th, my home country was hit by her two megaquakes. Areas inhabited by millions were completely destroyed. Thousands of buildings collapsed. Hundreds of thousands of people were trapped under the wreckage. Cities were wiped out. Across the country, life just stopped.
Shortly after, my social media feeds flooded with despair. Those who lost contact with their families… those who tweeted their whereabouts under the wreckage of collapsed homes and asked for help… those who lost their homes, family and friends.
I was heartbroken. I felt helpless and useless in the face of this tragedy.
A few days later, as usual, I sat down and wrote a gratitude journal. Looking at the unfortunate people who lost everything they had, I would think I had more to be grateful for. After all, I was really lucky just to be alive. But no, I couldn’t do that. Instead, I was stuck with guilt.
today i feel appreciated Guilty for being in my safe home.
today i feel appreciated Guilty of having a hot meal.
today i feel appreciated I sinned by hugging my loved one.
About two months after the earthquake. I couldn’t go back to my gratitude journal. Then it hit me. Behind my sorrow was another emotion, anger.
because what do you know? This disaster was not a completely unexpected event. Scientists have been warning authorities about the quake for years. Geologists said it was inevitable. A civil engineer said the building was too weak. City planners said they do not have proper infrastructure in place to prepare for such disasters.
Over the years we have all heard them repeatedly warning the authorities but nothing has been fixed. I was.
I couldn’t let go of my guilt because I was afraid I would let go of my anger. He doesn’t want to let go of his anger. I want to keep it that way, so I will continue to fight for change, a better system that cares about people.
I know it’s not just me or this one earthquake disaster. Many people around the world suffer from government actions. Those who live under war, oppressive regimes, or corrupt nations will understand the anger I feel.
Anger at authorities, governments, or broken systems is not the same as anger at other individuals. Anger scales with the number of lives affected. And perhaps the worst part is that this type of anger is hard to let go, because history shows that such anger fosters action for change in broken systems.
So I wonder: Is it possible to turn the anger that hurts me into something else without losing the desire to fight for change?
Again, I find the answer in the path I know best: gratitude. But this time, instead of being grateful for what I have, I am grateful for what I can offer.
Today, I am grateful to have a safe home because I am able to take in people who have lost their homes.
I am grateful that I have a job now because I can afford to donate meals to those in need.
I am grateful to have my arms today because I can hold someone who has lost a loved one.
Today, I accept all my emotions and am grateful that I have the wisdom to change them.