Gratitude: An Attitude Adjustment When Things Go Bad


As I’ve mentioned previously, the end of 2014 was a little rough and there are some issues which I won’t even talk about on the blog as they are particularly personal for me and also because they involve other people whose privacy I need to respect. However, sometimes I wondered if I was getting a little too stressed over issues I couldn’t fix and maybe instead of only seeing the negativity in these situations, I should get an attitude adjustment and start looking at the brighter side of things. I had a few personal family issues which really hurt me, but on the whole, the majority of the mishaps that happened to me were, to be honest, what you would actually call First World problems. They’re annoying, they’re stressful and when they all pile up at once, it does make you want to break down and cry or shake your fist at the universe while screaming “WHY, UNIVERSE, WHY ME – AGAIN!!!!” or even to just go out and kick the first person you see out of sheer frustration. But on the whole, if we stop and think about it, really, things could have been a whole lot worse.

This reminded me of this Buzzfeed article I read once where the author wrote about how he realised most of his problems are actually experiences that only privileged people have (i.e. First World problems). He instead decided to express gratitude for these privileges rather than focus on these problems. So, for example, instead of complaining about how his name’s been misspelled yet again on his coffee cup, to instead be grateful for the fact that he has disposable income to spend on a daily coffee. Or when his flight is delayed, to be grateful that he can travel for leisure. Or when he’s faced with so much laundry to do, to instead be grateful that he has clean clothes everyday.

When I first read that article, I thought that was such a great attitude to adopt. And now, in the face of all my crazy mishaps this Christmas and New Year’s, I decided to get an attitude adjustment and instead realise that in spite of all my issues, I have a lot to be grateful for.

So for example…

Negative situation: My job requires me to work most days around Christmas and New Year’s while everyone else has one or two weeks off and is bragging about it on Facebook. Blargh!

Attitude adjustment: I am grateful for a job at a time when many are struggling to find employment and keep a roof over their head. I am also grateful that my job requires me to work around Christmas and New Year, earning money instead of having to burn through precious hours of my annual leave (that I would rather spend on a future holiday) just because the office decides to close for a week or two at this time of the year.


Negative situation: Our hot water system broke down right before Christmas and hasn’t been fixed for two weeks so we’ve been taking icy cold showers everyday. 

Attitude adjustment: I am grateful for the abundance of clean water at my disposal just to take showers with everyday. And I am grateful that it is summer right now when a cold shower isn’t as bad as it would be in winter!


Negative situation: My car started emitting the freakiest noises on my way home from work on Christmas Eve and seemed to be on the verge of breaking down. This is just one in a long list of car mishaps of 2014 in which every mechanic I’ve seen tells me it’s time to get a new car – something I do not enjoy hearing, especially not coming right on the tail end of some major Christmas present shopping and much money spent at the stores.

Attitude adjustment: I am grateful for the fact that I’m lucky enough to have a friend who is also a mechanic who managed to fix my latest car issue for a low price rather than get blindsided with sky-high prices from an auto franchise. He also told me (gently) my car was a piece of crap and that it was time to get a new car but at least I’ve managed to delay the inevitable for a little longer while I search for a new reliable cheap car – and that is something I am grateful for!


Negative situation: After some health difficulties throughout the last month or so of the year, my grandfather died this Christmas. (this one definitely doesn’t go under the list of ‘just a First World problem’, but I put this one in because I wanted to share what I was grateful for about my grandfather).

Attitude adjustment: I am grateful that my grandfather was able to live such a long life (he died at about 97 or 100 – we’re a little hazy about his actual age as he lied about his age in order to be eligible for the cheaper child fare rather than the adult fare while migrating to Malaysia from China on a boat and never really told anyone what his real age was) in which he managed to remain lively, healthy and robust for the majority of his life, except for the last few months, and even then, thankfully, it was not a painful or prolonged end for him. I am also grateful that he lived long enough for all us grandchildren to get to know him and to have good memories of him and also I am grateful that he is now at peace.


Negative situation: Reaching the end of the year and feeling as if I’ve not accomplished as much as I would have hoped for in 2014, and feeling like a bit of a loser for this as I’ve really only had myself to blame for it.

Attitude adjustment: I am grateful for all the achievements I’ve made in 2014, no matter how minor. And I am grateful for the fresh new year of 2015 stretching out ahead of me in which I can get to work tackling all my ambitions and fulfilling all the goals on my list without any of my usual procrastination!


I could go on but you kind of get the picture! And as we move on into 2015, I hope I’m able to keep this up and continue to maintain a positive and grateful attitude towards the world I live in.

What are some of the things that you’re grateful for in 2015? Let me know!


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