Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Absolutely Authentic from A to Z! Grateful

Sometimes I get caught up in negativity.  I like to think of myself as a positive person, but I know that I can turn things negative just as easily as the next person.  One way that I find myself changing that is by being grateful. 

Gratefulness is a concept that I think some Americans, especially kids find foreign.  Instead of learning to be grateful for what they have....they feel entitled.  This entitlement is creating a whole generation of people who just expect to get whatever they want when they want it. 

I could have been someone like that.  My American life was wrapped up in myself until I stepped on a plane and landed in India.  My first plane ride, my first country.  I saw poverty first-hand.  I witnessed children dirty, hungry, tired begging in the streets.  I saw mothers use their babies to get them food.  I saw despair and desperation.  I saw what life was like for those not born privileged, and I was grateful. 

I wish I could say that my gratefulness lasted after that first trip overseas, but it didn't.  It changed me, but not permanently.  A permanent authentic attitude of gratefulness would come later. 

How do you explain to people once you have been to a third world country what it is like?  I am not sure that there is any way except to experience it for yourself.  Many times I think as Americans we get caught up in going on 1-2 week trips to experience life in a third world country and we become experts.  In reality though...that glimpse isn't even close to what people experience on a daily basis.

I taught 3 years in Bangkok, Thailand.  During that time I will say without a doubt I learned how to be authentically grateful.  I saw people so desperate to change their situations, that they would sell their body to buy their kids some food.  I saw people so in awe of me because I was from America.  How can you put into words the feeling you have when you realize that just by being born where you were and into the family you are more privileged then much of the world? 

I learned to be grateful.  I learned to be grateful that I had a roof over my head, enough money to buy what I needed, and the opportunity to go to school.  I learned to be grateful that I was allowed to venture out on my own as a single female.  I learned to be grateful that I could have an opinion that differed from my family.  I learned to be grateful that I had seen the ocean, spent the night on an island, eaten exotic food, and made friends that had different beliefs then I did.  I learned to be grateful because I no longer saw the world through American eyes. 

Being authentically grateful means that everyday I am looking for the things that I have that are good in this world.  That opens my eyes and life to being positive and hopefully putting a little more positive out in the world. 

Here are some things I am grateful for today:

My town and our trails!!!  Love being able to go hiking!!!

Healthy Food!  The ability to eat healthy food, to get food that is good for me.  

The culture of my town.  We have so many great festivals!!!

The Color Run!!!!  

Flowers....and snow....especially both of them together.  

What are you authentically grateful for?  Has your amount of gratefulness changed as you have gotten older, or because of an experience? 


J.L. Campbell said...

Good post, Tawnya. As you noted, many of us feel entitled and not grateful. It changes our lives when we live with an attitude of gratitude.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Hello Tawnya,

Good choice for G. I have lived in third world and/or unequal societies and have travelled many first world countries and sadly, there is a segment of population everywhere which has an inflated sense of entitlement. What is disturbing is that this seems to be the fastest growth segment, too.

Nice to connect through the A-Z.
Best wishes,

Stephen Tremp said...

Being grateful is the key to having a happy life. I'm glad I came across this post. I like grateful people.

Stephen Tremp
an A-Z Cohost
@StephenTremp on Twitter

MS said...

Well said! I wish there were some way to share/teach that deeper gratefulness to others. Some people never get or take the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective and they never figure out how great they have it.


Stephanie Faris said...

We went through a flood in 2010 and had to rebuild our house. During that time, I thought, "All I really need is a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, and a kitchen to cook meals in. All this other stuff is just STUFF. Five years later, we're in a house filled with stuff again. I wish we could hold onto that gratitude and have it every day.

Tawnya Rivers said...

Loved reading everyone's comments! Thanks for stopping by. I really do need to have a spirit of gratefulness on a daily basis! We just live in a world that is opposite of that, don't we?