Little Hinges is dedicated to small actions that can foster positive change. In honor of the holidays, we are pleased to present the smallest action of all, but likely the most important with the biggest payback. What is it?
First remember Franklin Roosevelt’s famous words:
“All we have to fear is fear itself.”
If you can conquer fear, you can gain the wisdom to see what needs to be done, the courage to do it and the fortitude to sustain it. The easiest way to fight fear is to take this one important step.
Here’s the step: Count Your Blessings.
In this new age of hypocritical positioning, name-calling and false realities, people can overreact, take missteps, ignore facts, or jump on false band wagons all due to fear-mongering. How can you can maintain objectivity and a more positive point of view? Use the holidays as they are intended to take this one small action — count your blessings– and commit to doing so as much as possible. This is a Little Hinge step that any person can take. It doesn’t take physical prowess, great academic learning, or New Age centering. It just takes old-fashioned honesty. Here are four to get you started regardless of your current circumstances.
Blessing One: Health and Health Care.
Sickness is a challenge we all face at some point either for ourselves or those we love. But when sickness strikes, do you have health insurance, or have access to the U.S. medical system regardless of co-pays, costs, or cheaper prescriptions in Canada?
Reality Check: A June 2015 WHO and World Bank report found that “400 million people do not have access to essential health services” across the globe. If there is sickness around you, count the blessing of having emergency rooms and health care providers who can see you today with or without the Affordable Care Act.
Blessing Two: Work
Even you have recently lost a job, is there work to be done? Do you have unemployment insurance? Can you freelance or start something new? Do you have family who will stand by you until you can pick yourself up and get back on your feet? Do you have skills that will allow you to work in some capacity other than how you’ve worked before? Do you have access to a computer either at home or the library that allows you to search job listings? It’s never great to be out of work, but if you are, the U.S. is a good place to be. Ultimately, and with time, this is still the land of opportunity.
Reality Check: The current U.S. unemployment rate is estimated at 4.6% . Some say the real unemployment rate is actually closer to 9.7%, but still in the single digits. Other countries with double digit unemployment include France at 10%, Italy at 11.6%, Brazil at 11.8%, Spain at 18.9%, Greece at 23.1% and Palestine at 28.4%
Blessing Three: Abundance
Do you frequently feel you don’t have enough money? Is there too much month at the end of your pay check? Do you feel the middle class is shrinking? Neil Gilbert, author of the book Never Enough and Professor of Social Welfare and Social Services at Berkeley says that’s true, but not for the reasons you think.
Reality Check: Americans, on average, are in the upper 1% of all global wealth and that includes the middle class. Although the rich are getting richer, according to Gilbert, the shrinking middle class has more to do with increasing wealth as families rise out of the middle class and poverty more often than they sink to lower levels of wealth.
Blessing Four: Family and Home
We are told the American dream is to have a home. Maybe not. Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, believes a home can be a bad investment. Home is where the heart is, and if you have a home that is an apartment, a cabin, or just a place with a roof over your head that is blessing. If you have people living with you, that, too is a blessing.
Reality Check: According to UNICEF, 140 million children worldwide are orphans without family or a home. In the U.S., the definition of family is evolving with new blended families, single-parent households, and gay parent families among many variations. Here, in the U.S., we can continue to experiment with the true luxury of defining our own family.
There are many more blessings to count. Feel free to use the comments below to suggest others or share some of yours. We all have our challenges. But during these challenging times, use the holidays to stop and count your first world blessings. Then look fear in the face and stand tall even while in the shadows of harsh challenges.When you do, you will feel more secure, be a bit more positive, and be better able to face down hostilities festering due to people, politicians and charlatans playing to fears.
From all of us at Little Hinges —
Enjoy the Holidays. Stay Positive. Gain Perspective and Gather Strength to Recreate a More Positive World Here and Abroad.