Sometimes I feel so sensitive to the world and all its harshness, I feel raw – exposed with nothing to protect me. So many things can easily upset me. One feeling that frequently comes up is, “I’m spoiled.” And I am. And you probably are, too.
Maybe you want to protest that you work two jobs and are usually broke and so how could you possibly be spoiled? Or maybe you would say you worked hard and earned everything you have. But this isn’t about blame and defensiveness. And when I say we are spoiled, I don’t mean we are spoiled in comparison to other people in this country – I mean we are spoiled relative to the rest of the world. No, we aren’t the only privileged country, but if you look at the advantages we have compared to world statistics, we are incredibly lucky and have so much to be thankful for.
I wanted to know the actual statistics, so I hunted around and found a few examples of how fortunate we really are.
Can you read and write? If so, you’re better off than the 15.7% of people in the world who are illiterate. Source:UNESCO
Do you enjoy bathing, showering, and brushing your teeth using clean water? If so, you’re better off than the 780,000,000 (that’s 780 million) people in the world that do not have access to clean water. Source:Water.org
Are you able to use a sanitary toilet that flushes (bonus if you have privacy)? Count yourself lucky, because 15% of the world’s population still practices open defecation, which can spread disease. Source:UNICEF
If you got sick, would you be able to access healthcare? High-income countries boast nearly 90 nurses/midwives per 10,000 people – while some low-income countries many only have 2 per 10,000 people. Source:WHO
These statistics just skim the surface and don’t come anywhere near other points, like our access to leisure time, or our rampant addiction to unnecessary shopping. If people in privileged nations continue to focus on issues like buying the newest “it” item, “too much genius and focus will continue to go to solving problems like iPhone battery life while the problems that threaten human life [i.e. the world’s ecosystems] spin out of control.” Source:The Story of Solutions
This post isn’t me preaching. It isn’t me saying donate your money to the best charities in the world. It isn’t me shaming someone for buying a new pair of shoes. It’s me merely asking you to join me in opening our eyes to the truth, recognizing what we have to be thankful for….and then going from there. There is so much joy in the world, but to truly appreciate it, we first have to recognize it.