There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was disabled. She hated everyone except her loving boyfriend who was always there for her. He encouraged her at every step and loved her for what she was. One day she wistfully confided to her boyfriend, “If only I could see the world, I would marry you.”
She was very lucky for within a week she was informed that someone had donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend. He asked her, “Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?” The girl looked at him and saw that he was blind. The sight of his unseeing eyes shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them for the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him. Her boyfriend left her in tears.
Days later he wrote her a note, “Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours they were mine.”
Are you stunned by the insensitivity and ingratitude of the girl? The truth is this is how we change when our status changes. Only a very few remember what life was like in trying times, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.
As we look around us we see countless people who work to make our lives richer and happier. We take for granted the person who cleans our home and the streets, picks up the litter, opens the lift door, guards the gates, delivers the newspaper and milk... hundreds who make our world go round. Closer home we pay no heed to the effort our parents put in to make our life comfortable and secure. Like the girl we turn a 'blind eye' to the people who matter and crave what is not important.
I have through this column urged you to keep a journal of gratitude. Just five minutes of writing daily to thank the creator or anyone you believe in, is all it takes to change your way of thinking. Happiness starts with gratitude! By practising awareness of the positive things in life, we fight off the brain’s natural tendency to scan for and spot the negatives. As a result we train ourselves to be more positive and thus happier. In a month this will become a habit and you will be able to spot the difference it has made to your pattern of thought.
The second habit I ask you to develop is to think before making a decision or judgement. The blind girl lost her best friend and her only selfless love with one stroke of insensitive behaviour. In spite of knowing the despair of a blind person, she judged her friend on external looks and not on what he had done for her over the years. Do not make decisions, or be swayed in your judgement, by what you see or what something appears to be at the moment. Differentiate between an impulsive reaction and a carefully thought out response. Do not hesitate to tell your friends that you need time to make or take a decision.
Third, and most important, remember what I read in a poster somewhere: Today, before you say an unkind word, think of someone who can't speak; before you complain about the taste of your food, think of someone who has nothing to eat; before you complain about your family, think of someone who's crying out for a companion. Today, before you complain about life, think of someone who died young; before you argue about your dirty house, think of people who are living on the street; before whining about the distance you travel, think of someone who walks the same distance for drinking water. When you are tired and complain about your work, think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your education.
When negative thoughts seem to get you down, put a smile on your face and thank god you're alive. Life is a gift and a present, live it well and with an attitude of gratitude.