The Importance Of Gratitude


Emina Hergic, Writer

As Thanksgiving passes us by, a holiday in which many celebrate in gratitude of what they have, I often wonder, why this day in particular, is the only day we should be thankful for what we have. As a Muslim who doesn’t celebrate the holiday, I think we generally derelict and dismiss how important it is just to acknowledge the fact that we have clean water, electricity, and access to food. We barely appreciate these important, yet seemingly small components of our lives. Living in a fast paced, first world country, we’re so used to always having these luxuries, that it isn’t until they’re taken away from us we’re forced to see their true value and significance. Most of us fail to even acknowledge one’s presence or appreciate their very existence. Friends, and long distance/close relatives all play vital roles in contributing to our lives, to our happiness.

There’s so many physical and mental benefits to practicing gratitude. Neurological breakthroughs in research have proved to show reflection, self affirmation, and the long term contrivance of gratitude has been linked with improved psychological health, and increased mental strength. Practicing gratitude, preceding life with positivity and focusing on the good is also highly effective in overcoming adversity, and hardships.
It is a blessing just to wake up in the morning, and to be happy and healthy. I feel as a society, we tend to overlook our opulence and focus on what we’re missing, instead of staying true to what we have, and looking at the bigger picture. Some are struggling financially, some don’t have food to eat or access to healthcare, some don’t even have the safety or comfort of a home. It’s suffice to say that although this doesn’t necessarily affect our lives, it should still impact how we view what we have.

I can’t even imagine my life without the people around me, or everything that I have. Growing up and hearing about my parent’s experiences as refugees when they first came to America definitely shifted my way of thinking. Hearing about their difficulties, and what they had lost from the war back home allowed me to develop a more mature, or deeper understanding of being thankful for everything that has been given to me, regardless of how small it may seem. Immigrating here from Bosnia as young, adolescent adults and not knowing how to speak English, my parents have always had to work above and beyond for everything they’ve accomplished. They fought just to stay alive. Their stories never cease to amaze me, and I have always admired their ability to precede life with a remarkable amount of contentment and appreciation, no matter how much they’ve lost. Their hard work has inspired/motivated me to emphasize my cultural features and stay dedicated to achieving all of my goals. Life is versatile, what we have right now isn’t promised tomorrow. It is critical we don’t take it for granted, and appreciate what we have, while we have it. It is how we presume life that defines who we are.