In Japanese, we have many ways to say thank you but one of the most interesting is the words “Okagede” (thanks to…) which is used casually or “Okagesama” (thank you) which is used in more formal settings. Why do you think it’s interesting? Well, let me tell you a story about it.
Imagine you’re walking down the streets of Tokyo on a sunny August morning and though it has only been 30 minutes since you left your apartment you are feeling incredibly tired and hot. Your mouth is starting to dry, it’s becoming difficult to breathe and you can’t find any shade, so you continue to walk. All of a sudden, you hear the rustling of leaves and in the middle of the street you see a lone tree standing. So you rush towards the oasis of cool brought by the shade of the tree.
After a few moments under the protection of the tree, you gaze up at it with so much gratitude in your heart. You might have felt that it was sent to you from the heavens. But, of course not, it wasn’t just for you but you still thank it for what it has provided.
There are various stories that pertains to the origin of the word “Okagede” but this story, “Under the Shade” and “thanks to. . .” is my favorite.
The concept of appreciation is a topic that we barely talk about in our daily lives. I guess we just take many things for granted since they are normally around us, like the tree in the scenario I just presented. But, if you carefully and closely observe things around, you will notice there are many things that can help us navigate this life. Everything and everyone around us are a resource to be thankful for. Thus, I believe we must start appreciating everything and everyone we encounter.
I’m not saying that everything in life is going to positively help because remember, we are not alone in this world. At times our discomfort might be a source of comfort for others.
A stone or hole in the street might be a shelter for an insect. The stone or hole may be beneficial for an insect but could hinderance for people since it could be an obstacle that causes someone to fall or trip. So most everything has a good and bad side.
It’s all about perspective. Let’s agree to always try to widen our perspective of situations. Viewing situations through a different lens can make our experience here on earth richer. By changing our attitude and perspective from a negative point of view and not staying in an angry state of mind towards things that don’t go our way, we will have a more positive life.