Guest Post by Jasmine June Cabanaw
Back in August, I made a decision to practice gratitude. This is not an easy thing. It has to be deliberate and disciplined and requires constant mindfulness. Honestly, there are days when I feel exhausted from it. However, since I started practicing gratitude, I have become so much more grounded, confident, content and happy.
It turns out, practicing gratitude involves a lot more than thinking positive thoughts. It means being nice to people who aren’t being nice to you, it means appreciating things even when you’re having such a bad day you’re in tears, it means not complaining when all you want to do is vent (still working on that one!), it means making the first move most of the time (being the first to say hi to a stranger, offering to pay for a friend’s meal, holding open the door for others, giving up your seat on the bus), it means donating money, and it means not expecting anything in return, ever.
That’s the biggie. Giving without getting. Being grateful means that you acknowledge that you are rich, and have a surplus to give. Do you know how challenging this is? It means that I give change every single time someone asks for it, even if all I have in my purse is $5. It means that I donated $50 to my friend’s charity today, even though I’m scraping change together to buy Christmas presents.
Donating so much money still makes me feel panicky, but two interesting things have happened that I didn’t expect:
1. Giving up a big chunk of cash hasn’t affected my quality of life at all.
2. Even though I feel panicky every time I donated a large sum (large for me, let me clarify), I feel that I should be donating more. So the amounts I donate just keep increasing.
To be clear, I thought I would feel good about contributing so much, but actually I feel guilty for not contributing more. That was entirely unexpected.
It’s made me realize how much fear we have about being poor and taking risks, when in reality, we have way more than we ever need. We’re just blinded by fear so we don’t realize that we’re rich.
So, my message for you is: you are rich. Like, literally richer than most of the world’s population. Don’t believe the fear that’s propagated in our society- you’ve already achieved success and everything at this point is just icing on the cake.
(Note: this obviously doesn’t speak to people who truly are poor. But I feel that most, if not all, of the people who will read this are doing well enough that they are suitable for this message.)