The Hidden Gem
As my health began to take a downward spiral I was left with little energy; at 3am I gave up attempting to sleep at all. Although, there was a huge benefit in this; it gave me a chance to press the pause button in life, I had an opportunity to reflect and for a moment I had stopped chasing the world. Fearing the worse, my mind totally switched to The Hereafter. I began to wonder if my soul was taken at this very moment, would I be pleased with my efforts? Would Al-Muhiyy (The Giver of Life) be pleased with me? And then I realised one thing I had lacked the most; Gratitude.
I am so busy stuck in the middle of a whirlwind that I had often forgotten about The Hereafter. This life had become my primary concern and whilst navigating my way around all the whirlwind seemed to do was create chaos. The more I tried to collect the dunya, the more it was breaking apart in front of my very eyes. I was chasing something that would never actually come to me; I am not made for this world, so why am I chasing it when it is running away from me?
A few moments later I had come across a letter I had received from the Penny Appeal charity. As I began to flick through the booklet my heart felt like it was shattering into a million pieces. There were children so young living in such poverty which is a reality from every corner of the Earth. Day after day they have to search for the basic necessities with such little energy. They have to beg for food and trek miles for water – water that we most likely would not even wash dirty dishes with.
As I began to reflect on my attitude towards life I had noticed I am never fully content and the reasoning behind this was due to the fact I never really appreciated what I had already got. Instead, I always wanted more.
I complained the house was too cold without recognising how blessed I was to even have a roof over my head – never mind clothing, heating and clean water. Day after day I worry about what I am going to eat next, not realising how blessed I was to even have an ounce of food to eat readily and most of all, I did not have to go out and search desperately for food.
Deep in thought I then focussed back to the month I spent in an orphanage in Cambodia. I recall a young child telling me how her parents had passed away at such a young age – a moment which I struggled to hold back the tears. I remember being told many of their parents are too poor to provide for them that they simply had to give them up in order for them to receive education and a decent meal. Yet we still complain?
Nonetheless, from showering outside to cycling miles in scorching heat just to get an education they were some of the most content and happiest people I have to this day ever met in my life. Why? Because they expressed appreciation for what they had as opposed to what they wanted. They appreciated the little things and shown thankfulness to the smallest of blessings. That is true gratitude.
“If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you…”
(Surah Ibrahim – 14:7)
Ultimately, the more grateful we are the more we will be blessed. You see people thanking The Praiseworthy even in poverty, yet we cannot and we are still showered with blessings. Little things become so ordinary to us in everyday life that we forget to shed even an ounce of gratitude. We all enter difficulties, but being thankful is what will improve our happiness in what is a temporary situation.
Gratitude is such a simple thing that is like a radiating light. When someone is grateful, you love to be around them. They aid you to see the positives in life, and to feel hopeful for the future. They could cry all day and sacrifice their happiness, or they could appreciate the small things and be of the most content.
“People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective.”
– Goeffrey James
You see, we focus our minds on attaining a certain thing and when we do not attain it, we become negative. We invest our energy into chasing after temporary goods and throughout all of this we begin to forget our blessings that are right in front of our eyes. When we are constantly searching for temporary things we become spiritually, physically and emotionally drained through the chase.
Being able to have a sense of gratitude will not only seek the pleasure of Al-Shakur (The Appreciative), but will also improve your personal happiness and sense of well-being – as found in many psychology reports. It is not about ignoring your problems, but it will enable you to seek fulfilment and relieve the pressures and anxieties by appreciating so little and our minds will refocus back to our one true purpose; Allah swt.
Pause to reflect and name 5 things you are truly grateful for.
You are reading this now which means you are breathing and if you are not reading then you are listening. You have the technology to access these blogs which means you are not in absolute poverty.
So the next time you are feeling down or going through a trial, use the time to reflect on what you are grateful for. Write down a positive each day and I guarantee you will view life from a different perspective. Remember the times you thought you were going through the worst of times and how you overcome it? You probably gained a lot from it. Diminish the complaints and negative thoughts; invest your energy into something more beneficial. Vow to give a compliment, or express your thanks or appreciation to someone each day – it will probably lift their spirits too!
“And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favour of Allah, you could not enumerate them..”
(Surah Ibrahim – 14:34)
Gratitude is the Hidden Gem. Attain it, and never lose it.