My story is one similar to many other families who have immigrated to a new country without many things, but a whole lot of hope. My parents instilled the values of humility, gratitude, and awareness of what we have into us, because they still very much remembered what it was like not to have anything. In fact, my mother still uses an old plastic milk jug for her milk bags, as it was one of many items that were given to us by friends/family when we first arrived (in 1992) and had nothing.
Growing up around friends who had so much stuff always left me wanting more. When I got my first part-time job, I would spend every last penny buying things to fit in more. It was never enough. Even in relationships, I found myself always wanting more.
What I find interesting looking back, is that this phenomenon (i.e. always wanting more) did not manifest in an entitled millennial sort-of-way. It was a deeper-rooted inner pendulum (that I believe does not discriminate by age) that swung between abundance, joy, and fulfilment, to scarcity, dissatisfaction, and disappointment. My inner peace was dependent on external factors. When I first made it a point to practice gratitude, the habit itself began a (currently ongoing) shift to finding that inner peace irrespective of what is around me.
Lastly, I chose gratitude because it does not discriminate, it is inclusive. You do not need anything to adopt a grateful mindset. I have experienced the pain of being excluded many times in my life, at school, with friends, and even at workplaces, and am committed to being inclusive in my professional approach, and in my life.
A grateful mindset acknowledges that gratitude is one piece of the puzzle. It has been coined the mother of all virtues, the gateway to joy, the door to power, wisdom and creativity, and it is all of the above, but it goes hand-in-hand with other vital components, such as awareness, mindfulness, kindness, compassion, empathy, connection, and harmony. I strive to encompass these into my personal and professional life, and hope to connect with others who align with these values to share the role gratitude can have to bring about positive change in so many aspects of our lives.