A First World Problem

Posted by Karen Degen on 19th June 2016

Tags: grateful, problem, unhappy

More than 1.5 billion people on earth don’t have electricity. A higher number, over 1.6 billion, have no access to clean water. A much higher number still, over 2.5 billion, don’t have basic sanitation. That’s right, in the first quarter of the 21st century over a quarter of the world’s people are without toilets.

But these are simply inconveniences. Some 19,000 children die each day on this planet from preventable health issues, such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. Even worse, over 650 children die every hour on Earth of starvation.

Here in the Western world we have such amazing lives that we completely take them for granted. When was the last time you sent out happy, grateful thoughts because you had a toilet to go to? When was the last time you sent out happy, grateful thoughts for the fresh water you have, just by turning on the tap? I’m guessing you probably haven’t. We tend to look at what is wrong in our lives instead of what is right. We go on anti depressants because we just can’t seem to find joy in life any longer. One of the things I do is help people to retrain their brains, so they start seeing the good in life instead of the dissatisfaction they are used to seeing.

Recently I was lightheartedly complaining to a friend at the gym about a problem I had. My water bottle had leaked in my bag and my shorts were damp. I had decided to wear them anyway and was regretting that decision! He said to me “Karen, that is a first world problem”. I loved that reply. When I thought about it I could honestly say that all of my ‘problems’ (though I tend to not think of myself as having problems) were first world ones. No-one in the third world would consider anything in my life a problem. Not having any shorts might possibly be a problem, but having damp ones would certainly not be. Since then I have used that phrase in my thoughts a lot. “It’s a first world problem”. That helps me to have perspective.

Recently a friend told me that she had a good life and nothing to complain about, but she wasn’t happy. She felt quite unhappy and had for some time, even though she knew there was no reason for her to feel that way. From the clients I see, I know she is not alone. If you feel dissatisfied with life or have lost the joy, even though all of your problems are first world ones, contact me. I have the tools to permanently heighten your happiness.