If you’re reading this, the highest probability is that you are living in the western world, above the poverty line, in a democratic environment.
Your heart may be broken, you may not have enough money to get to the end of the week, you may be fighting for your life.
But by many accounts—you are extremely fortunate. By many accounts, you and I have every advantage to be happy, healthy, and deeply fulfilled.
: Are you gay? If you’re found out, you will get jail time.
: If you were unfaithful to your spouse, you would be stoned, likely by your neighbours.
: Want to convert to a religion other than the one you were born into? That would warrant execution.
: Thirsty? Clean water is five miles away. Walk to get it. You have one bucket.
: You may want to play soccer with the other boys your age, but you have weapons training.
: Have you complained about the government in an email? You’re going to court.
: Long to be thin, to run in the sun? Forget it, men in your village like large women and you are force fed.
: Raped? Refuse a marriage proposal? If you’re lucky, they won’t kill you, they’ll just throw acid in your face.
: Long for erotic pleasure? It’s difficult since your grandmother cut out your clitoris with a razor blade when you were twelve.
: If you’re menstruating, you will miss school rather than face the ridicule.
: You can’t get a job because by law, women are considered “half the value of men.” Hell, you can’t even vote. You can’t even look a man directly in the eyes.
We could go on with the atrocities and restrictions—from the extremes of human trafficking (the average American girl is thirteen when she is forced into sex slavery,) and torture, to what we consider basic healthcare, like clean needles and dentistry. The hell that is Haiti, and parts of Uganda, Sierra Leone, West Bengal…and our own cities…
Sometimes, the most direct route to appreciation is through the darkness—even if it’s merely imagined. Facts, faced: even in our struggles, most of us are privileged. We have so many rights, must we exercise the right to complain?
Your mother had the right idea: eat your dinner, there are children starving in the world.
That fresh salad you get with your entree; the insurance on your car; the clothes you wear, where you want; the hands you hold in public.
Really, what’s the worst of your problems?
Perspective isn’t everything in terms of haves and have-nots. But you can work it to your very great advantage.
Danielle LaPorte is the author of The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide for Creating Success on Your Own Terms. Deemed “the best place online for kick-ass spirituality,” over a million people have head to DanielleLaPorte.com for her straight up sermons of life + livelihood. An inspirational speaker, former think tank exec, and business strategist, she is the co-author of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. Find Danielle on Facebook+ Twitter @daniellelaporte + at her digital temple: DanielleLaPorte.com + on You Tube for Her CredoForMakingItHappen video.