There is always something to be grateful for
I was having lunch with a co-worker earlier at a local coffee shop and two men quite possibly in their 40s where talking,…no…, complaining, about life in Singapore. They were saying that the standard of living in Singapore is high, the government is corrupt, you can't be rich, own big houses or fancy cars, and my personal favourite, the girls here aren't pretty. I couldn't help but laugh. I think I may have choked on my food several times.
First of all, the men were in their late 40s and well, not that good looking either. With a potbelly and thinning hair, sorry but I don't think they would be hired to judge a beauty pageant any time soon. I'm not mean spirited, but this is just too ironic.
Any Singaporean will tell you that a typical Singaporean's pastime, other than to eat, is to complain. We just love to complain. It's in our DNA. Whether it's about the weather, the traffic, the sun, the sky, the birds....we will find something to complain about. Jump into a cab and the driver will start complaining all the way to your destination. I hope I'm not discouraging any of you thinking of visiting Singapore because, with its lush green city, culture and food, it is a great place to visit (Singapore Tourism Board should hire me haha!). But this got me thinking, why do we complain? Not just Singaporeans but human beings in general.
Why can't we look at the positives? In the case of these Singapore men, yes standard of living here is indeed high but that's because our standard for life is high, our currency is strong and businesses can thrive here. The government is not corrupt. I can go on but this post is not about selling Singapore. Let me get back on point. Why do we complain? Why do we bitch and moan when something doesn't go our way? Why?
As I learnt from the latest Safinah Talks – Holding on when nothing lasts – this is because, one, we are not grateful for what we have and, two, we place our expectations in the wrong places. If we look at things with a mindset that nothing is ever good enough, then it will never be good enough. But if we look at things with a little more gratitude in our eyes, then life would be a little sweeter.
It’s true that life isn’t a bed of roses. We don’t always get what we want and what we work for but as Muslims we know that Allah SWT is the best of planners. Sometimes we don’t get what we want but that doesn’t mean we didn’t work hard for it or that we don’t deserve it. Sometimes when Allah doesn’t give it to us it means He may be saving us from something else. We can’t predict the future so we don’t know who or what we would become if we get everything we want. For example, I lost a relationship a few years ago and that sent me into a tailspin but looking at it with fresh pair of eyes now, He saved me from some nasty stuff. And I am thankful for that.
I can’t help the men to find some pretty girls, truth be told I don’t think anyone can cos I don’t think my pretty friends would be interested in old bald men who have an ugly personality, but if they were to stop and look at things with a little more gratitude, life would be nicer. It was a Wednesday afternoon and they were sitting at a coffee shop obviously not working and able to afford good food and drinks. There are many people out there who can’t even afford water. They should be thankful for that at least. Oh well, we can’t save all humanity haha. But if you’re having bad day, all is not lost. Have faith, stay positive, stay grateful and I’m sure it’ll all work out.
Juliana Iskandar is the Editor-in-Chief of GAYA Magazine.