Everyone has problems; there is no denying that. The real question is what is the severity of those problems? As we sit here in one of the most advanced and powerful countries in the entire world, we may find ourselves complaining about petty things. Some that come to mind are: My food is too cold; I had a cold shower this morning; I had to wake up early for my 8:00 a.m. class. Among my peers, I have heard these complaints before. And admittedly so, I too, have shared in my disdain with these sometimes frugal issues. The real issue here is that many of us make complaints such as these on a regular basis. However, perspective matters.
Stop. Think. What about the millions of humans on this earth who are starving each day? Or about those who do not have access to water? How about those individuals who are not fortunate enough to receive education? All of a sudden, some of our “first world problems” feel completely irrelevant. Probably because, in reality, most of the things we tend to complain about are irrelevant when put into the proper perspective. Perspective matters.
It is hard to sit with your privilege and acknowledge that you, as a single person, can actually make a difference. I am not trying to discredit those Americans who do have important issues on their radar. I am trying to say that the perspective at which we view these issues does matter. Many women’s rights groups argue for more gender equality in the leadership of our government and in the leadership of corporate America. While this issue is still important, I am arguing for the equality of all humans across the world. Perhaps gender equality in America becomes a minor issue when considering the more severe oppression of women in other parts of the world. This is just one example. Perspective matters.
While the world’s problems as a whole can be a daunting task, the worst thing to do is believe that you cannot make a difference. The best place to start is in changing how we talk and think about others and their struggles. Humans are not born intrinsically with the ability to judge and present stereotypes. That is a learned behavior. If we continue to pass judgments on others and complain about petty “first world” issues, then our youth will grow up in a culture of the like. However, if each one of us reconsiders making petty complaints and passing judgments or stereotypes onto others, we can begin to rebuild the way we look at the world and at our fellow humans. The very least we can do is try and remember each day that perspective does matter.