This article was last updated on December 29, 2015
Traveling is my biggest passion in life. I love nothing more than flying to a country in which I have never been and immersing in the local culture. I enjoy it to meet people from all over the world, to rethink my beliefs and to step out of my comfort zone.
As a travel enthusiast I am not only interested in beaches and parties. I also like to explore poor regions, slums and neighborhoods that you shouldn’t walk in with an expensive watch on your arm. The reason why this is important to me is because it shows me how grateful I should be for the life I am living.
I am pretty sure you also had moments in your life where you complained about completely irrelevant things. We’ve all done that. However, my last trip to the Philippines made me realize that there is no need to complain.
Due to the fact that you are reading those lines I simply assume that you have enough money for a working internet connection. Congratulations, you already belong to the richest people on this planet.
Photo credit: DailyMail
Believe me, after you have seen street children in the Philippines who live in houses that don’t even deserve to be called houses, you see things differently. You realize that you have so many things that you should be grateful for, while others don’t have them.
10 Things Millions of People Can’t Be Grateful For
- You Have Running Water
What do you do when you are thirsty? I assume that you either go to the fridge to get a bottle of water or to your tub to get water from there. Do you even realize that there are millions of people out there who can’t do that?
Having running water is a luxury. While you fight with water in summer, there are people all over the world who fight over water and they definitely don’t use water guns to win this fight.
- You Don’t Have to Beg
Whenever I saw a Filipino street child I tried to give them at least a few pesos. The only problem was that I was surrounded by begging children after I did this a couple of times. Even though they smiled at me when I gave them some money, I could see desperation and shame in their eyes.
It should be obvious that none of those kids chose the career path of a professional beggar on purpose. They were born into this misery and as much as they want, they can’t get out of it. They don’t have the prospect of education and they will most likely never have a job. How about you?
You can do whatever you want. Go to college, get a job, start a business. The possibilities are limitless. You can make something out of your life while others can’t.
- You Don’t Have to Be Afraid of Rain
What do you do when it rains? You take out your umbrella or you walk back to your apartment and dry your hair. The rain will neither hurt you nor will it destroy the house you are living in.
In the slums of Manila things are different. Whenever it rains there are at least a few so-called houses who won’t survive the rain. Some of those houses are so fragile that the slightest wind and one heavy rain is enough to destroy them completely.
Maybe you should think about that whenever you complain that your umbrella is too small.
- You Have Electricity
You can cool your food, you have light when it’s dark and you can even waste your life in front of the TV when you want. Those are all things that a lot of people all around the world can’t do. Others can’t do anything once the sun is down and if they even have something to eat they can’t just put it in a fridge.
You and I take switching on the light for granted. It is normal for us. For others it isn’t that normal. You would be amazed how many people have never seen a simple lightbulb.
- You Don’t Have to Eat From a Bin
What do you do when you are hungry? You go to your fridge, you go to a restaurant and if you are really lazy you simply sit on your couch and order something online. Do you think an inhabitant of the slums in Manila can simply dial a number and order a pizza with extra cheese?
While we in the Western world throw away so much food every day, people in other parts of the world have to eat out of a bin. The next time you complain about a cold soup or too much salt on your steak you should think about how happy some people would be to have this problem.
- You Don’t Have to Be Scared to Get Robbed
What do you think about when you go to bed at night? You might think about how you are going to organize your work tomorrow or what you are going to have for breakfast the next day. I am pretty sure that you don’t think about whether or not someone will break in your house.
Why are you not scared of that? Your house or apartment has a door that you can lock. What if I tell you that there are millions of people whose houses don’t have a door, let alone a door that they could lock?
We can’t even imagine how it feels to fall asleep fearing that someone breaks in, kills you and takes everything he can find. What a wonderful life.
- You Can Think of More than “How Can I Survive?”
I once made an experiment and wrote down all the thoughts that I had during a typical day. After I read through my list I was quite grateful for the fact that none of my thoughts was related to the fear of death.
I mean, what’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Unless you drive on the wrong side it is highly unlikely that you are going to die tomorrow. Other people are not that lucky. If you have to ask yourself “how can I survive?” all day long, because you don’t have enough to eat and to drink, then you have a reason to complain.
- You Have the Luxury to Create Problems
You might not believe it but there are a lot of people out there with real problems. When was the last time when you had a real problem? If you would ask me this question I would say during the heart surgery that I had over ten years ago. Everything else was peanuts.
Problems like “my laptop doesn’t work anymore!” and “I gained two pounds!” are not real problems. They only show that you have enough money to buy a laptop and enough to eat, so that you don’t have to starve. Be grateful for the little “problems” you have.
- You are Not Afraid to Die When You Are Sick
When I am sick I cuddle under a warm blanket, I drink some tea and I get some medicine. Other people don’t have a warm blanket, they don’t even know how tea tastes and they never had access to medicine.
The next time you are complaining about your sore throat you should be thankful for the fact that you are able to by medicine for it.
- You Can Read This Article without Breaking out in Tears
One last thing you should be grateful for is that you don’t have to break out in tears when you read an article like this. You can simply absorb the information and put the advice into practice.
How would a Filipino street child react when I would show him this article? He would start to cry, because he would feel sorry for people who have everything and who still complain all day long. Now please finish that sentence for me in the comments below: I am grateful for… Let’s see what different people are grateful for.
Featured image source: Steve Jurvetson