So much heartbreak



As Salamu-Alaykum!

I just read the most heartbreaking story.
 
I can't remember how I stumbled upon this young Muslimah's blog, but I was completely captivated by her story. I won't get into too much detail, but this lady opened up about being in a physically abusive marriage, while struggling to make ends meet to feed, clothe and provide shelter for her two young kids. She lives in the UK but can't claim benefits, and was almost at the brink of being deported to an unsupportive extended family. I literally can't even begin to imagine the number of sleepless nights this poor lady has had. 

As I read her post, I became increasingly aware of the inconsequential nature of my 'problems'. My workplace is about 40mins away from home, so I have to wake up that bit earlier every morning to commute to work. How trivial! There are so many people out there who need a job more than I do - people who would be more than willing to commute triple that distance if it meant they could get some food on the table. Life or death.

It seems as though the more we have, the more we have to complain about. We are just incapable of being satisfied for any prolonged period of time. We always want more than what we have, and once we achieve that dream, we crave even more. Why is that? Why are we more likely to envy those who have more than us, than to feel a sense of contentment and gratitude over the fact that our situation could be far worse? Is this human nature? Or have we learned it from society - from capitalism and other shackles of humanity?

Personally, I think you are what you read. We engulf ourselves with stories from utopia - pictures and TV shows and articles about celebrities with their perfect lives and endless money and negligible problems. We eat it all up because we have become fools. We start to feel inadequate - we all want a Porsche decorating the front of our 10-bedroom mansion. Once we have that, of course, we will absolutely need to get a private jet (and a Bugatti, because that Porsche is so last season). There is no ceiling - there will always be something we don't have, so how can we ever be satisfied?

I am learning now that one of the best ways to teach ourselves gratitude and humility is to learn about people who are not as privileged as we are. This is not about making us feel better about ourselves. It is about reminding ourselves that gratitude is more sustainable than greed. Once in a while, we need to really take the time to hear someone's story. I don't mean just listening to the news. I find that many news stories are too brief and generalized, which means people listen but don't feel. I mean dig deeper. Find individual stories. Blogs. Autobiographies. Interviews. Talk to people. Read about or listen to someone's struggle, and relate it back to your life.

There are stories out there that will make you cry. I promise. And crying is wonderful - because it means that you have been moved. And at least one of two things will happen when you are moved by a person's story; 



May Allah SWT grant us the means to achieve both.



Does anyone else feel like they complain too much? 
How can we substitute greed for gratitude?