Radical graditude in times of turmoil

Najiah Osborne-Francellno, Staff Writer

In these unprecedented times, many people have become numb and seem to lack empathy. It is crucial that, as humans, we learn to highlight all of the aspects of our lives that we value. Gratitude is important, and I don’t just mean saying, “Thank you.” The inclusion of gratitude in all aspects of life becomes a necessity, as the human experience is temporary.

How can we learn to include gratitude and empathy in our everyday lives? First, you need to take a step outside of yourself and look at the world around you. A lot of the agendas that are pushed within the media create tactics to make others feel as though their lives are better than the average person, which is not valid at all. When you wake up each morning, do you even realize how lucky you are? Being able to breathe, stand up, walk or even talk are common abilities that people have and take for granted. Each day that you are able to archive something, express your gratitude. Each day that you come home safe and healthy, be grateful for that moment. People lose their lives daily. Once you become fully aware of all that you have and make use of these things, you begin to feel for other people who may lack in certain areas of their lives.

Everyone wants what they do not have, and while that is seemingly normal in this day and age, try not to lose sight of the harsh realities of other people’s lives. I’m not saying that you’d have to feel responsible for other people’s problems, because that isn’t healthy either. However, we have enough apathetic people walking around in this world, and I could imagine that most people would want to see change occur, right?

Empathy and gratitude can transform your reality, and you’ll be able to influence other people around you to make a change. This country already operates off of greed and suffering. Furthermore, being heartless has become a trend now. Holding hate or remorse in your heart might get you far, but not for long.

With the rise of COVID-19, many events have unfolded. On March 20, Gov. Pritzer announced that the “stay at home order” would be in effect until further notice. Not only did people participate in the many fear tactics the media had used to keep us inside. People wound up acting beyond that by cleaning out the stores just because they could. Not only is this selfless and apathetic, but it was also unnecessary. What about the people who already have limited amounts of money, or have big families? Selfishness will be the death of this country. People are not eating to this day, nor do they have shelter. Buy what you need when you need it. We cannot allow greed to continue shaping our values. If you claim to value other human beings, have the decency to act on that. Instead of over buying toilet paper, buy a homeless person a meal.

Complaining is a disease, and it spreads easily. You can choose whether or not you’d like to admit to the privileges that you have. I am alive and healthy, I have a home, I have all of my limbs, I consider myself a talented being, and I have a family. I live with my birth mother, and I am cultivating a relationship with my father. There are many more aspects of my life that I am grateful for. Everyone has bad days; everyone complains. However, It becomes an issue when you complain even when you have so much to be thankful for.

The only way this world will be able to see any sort of change is for there to be worldwide enlightenment. Be attentive to what you say and how you say it, as words have power too. As quick as many are to say something hateful, if only they could put that same energy into saying something positive. You’d be surprised what you can speak into existence. Say what you’re thankful for out loud and care for others as you’d want to be cared for. I am in no way, shape, or form perfect, and I have made many mistakes.

Making mistakes is the first step to learning. Be open to learning, and you will be able to make a change. When you make the decision to change, to focus on hope rather than despair, on selflessness rather than selfishness, the world around you will change.