It seems to me that attitude is inextricably linked to gratitude. How we see things and our experiences is pivotal to being grateful – or is it vice versa? At least from time to time, our attitudes aren’t always aligned with what might lead us to strength and gratitude.
How did our ancestors experience their lives and what might we conclude about their attitudes? Were they mindfully grateful on a regular basis? My suspicion is that it may not have been a conscious decision, but their attitudes must have dictated their responses to the exigencies of daily life.
Just think of our immigrant ancestors. Their commitment to emigrating thousands of kilometres away, or even the far side of the world, reveals a strength of attitude that enabled them to establish themselves in a completely different environment and a different social structure.
They often left behind family members including parents in their ancestral places, knowing full well they would never see them again, or had as much chance as we have of winning the lottery. Imagine the positive attitude that made them believe this sacrifice of home and comfort was worth the benefits that would come with time: food, jobs, homes, land, safety from war and Famine. Many, if not most, were illiterate and would have to pay or ask someone else to write to their families “at home”. They may never know when family members died and certainly couldn’t be there when it happened. If we find the current pandemic situation appalling, when families cannot mourn together, just imagine how our ancestors would have felt.
Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens. Khalil Gibran, Lebanese poet.
Previously most of our ancestors lived in an homogenous, familiar social environment where they knew their own community and how they connected. From the minute they boarded their ship, they were largely in an unfamiliar social context. Yes, sometimes there were others whom they knew on board, but equally there were many from different places, either from within their own country or different countries, different languages and different religious observances. Put yourselves in their mental ‘shoes’ for a moment and think just how confusing and confronting that must have been. It’s one thing to do when we choose to travel for pleasure, but completely another to take on as a lifetime experience.
When I think of just these examples, I’m in awe of their positive attitudes and commitments. It seems inevitable that they’d have had down times, but overall, they persisted to make a better life for themselves and their families, a gift they’ve passed down through the generations. Something for which we in turn can value and be grateful.
The key to life is your attitude.…. It’s about making the best of your life wherever you are in life. Candace Bushnell, American author. [i]
[i] Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/users/my/collections/1