The Art of Being Grateful

One thing that continues to impress me about Paraguayans is how happy they are. They almost always have a smile on their faces, and even in the darkest of times are quick to joke and laugh.

This ability to be joyful is not because the people of Paraguay have fewer problems than people of the US, for example. Believe me, they have many struggles from finding work and putting food on the table to maintaining their health and accomplishing the basic, like washing clothes, with access to only poor infrastructure. I often wonder how they stay positive when faced with so many obstacles.

Having thought often about how Paraguayans create happiness, I’ve come to the conclusion that Paraguayan contentment stems from a strong tendency toward gratefulness.

Paraguayans who have little and don’t know how they will put the next meal on the table are still able to enjoy the food they are currently eating, and even more profound they do not hesitate to share what they have with others. Their traditional foods always taste good to them and the soda is sweet no matter what pain they hold inside.

Paraguayans use what they have, considering it a gift to have for the time it lasts. Sometimes people in the States buy nice things and are then afraid to use them for fear of ruining them. Most Paraguayans start using a new thing right away and aren’t scared to let others use it too.

Paraguayans are experts at appreciating the company around them. They spend their free time talking to family and sharing meals. To many Paraguayans, visiting family is as important as excelling in work and school.

The Paraguay lifestyle naturally includes pauses to be grateful for one’s resources and relationships. This ability to take time and enjoy what one has, helps sustain contentment and overshadow the difficult aspects of life.