A little while ago, I got a call from my cousin who is a doctor par excellence. Numerous degrees and lots of experience later, he got a job in Canada in one of the best hospitals but decided to work in a small town in India. His family literally disowned him for wasting his life.
I just took a trip down memory lane after talking with him. My parents were his local guardians when he was studying medicine. Honestly, I was not in the habit of gratitude as a teenager. In fact, until recently I could very quickly point out everything that was wrong in a situation rather than what was right with it. Looking back, I must have been a painful teenager tolerated by my parents, as I was the only child living with them. Others had got married or moved away for work.
As usual, one day, I was cribbing about the heat — in North India- —no electricity… you don’t have to search much for things you want to complain about. 😊😊 Then suddenly my cousin got up and got a tape and taped all the fingers of my right hand together. He then tied it with a crepe bandage. He said, “For the next 12 hours you are going to remain like this.”
Being right-handed, I found it very difficult to do anything, even opening a bottle to drink water. I was in tears but he refused to relent and my parents refused to intervene. I guess they were fed up, too. 12 hours of torture. Next day when my complaints started he bandaged my right arm to my body. It wasn’t painful but I felt so helpless. He said, “The next time you feel like complaining, just think of all the people who have actual disabilities and problems. You won’t find much to complain about.”
Believe me when I say I hated him that day and didn’t talk to him for months. But later on in life when I looked back on that instance I realised that he had taught me a very valuable lesson.
To date, there are days when I have to struggle to write in my gratitude diary. When everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. And there are certain days when you are in self-pity mode. But just bandage your dominant hand for 6 hours. Believe me, writing the gratitude diary becomes very easy.
I still struggle and my argument with my cousin is that just because someone else is suffering more than me doesn’t make my suffering any less. His answer, “It’s not always about you — learn to see the bigger picture.” In my favor, I have decided to disagree with him in a gracious manner. Any inputs are always welcome. 😊😊