How very often many of us develop the habit of looking at the adverse side of life! We lay undue stress on those exceptional incidents that cause us inconveniences, discomfort, or unhappiness.
We don't stop at this. We permit these distressing conditions or circumstances to color our entire outlook, and to cause us to judge life in terms of the isolated, unfavorable things -- rather than of the more usual and favorable ones.
The result: loss of personal happiness, enthusiasm, and contentment. It brings about an attitude of futility and a feeling of depression and helplessness. At such moments, life feels like a burden, rather than a challenge and a joy.
However, admittedly, life is filled with problems and difficulties. At times it can be very ruthless. But these distresses and problems are exceptions, for their number is insignificant when compared with the blessings that are a part of the warp and woof of each day.
To recognize and appreciate these blessings we must develop an "awareness" of them. We must develop the habit of seeing that which is the norm, rather than that which is the exception. We must learn to respond to the flowers in our garden, rather than to concentrate on the few weeds we do not like.
Fortunately, there is a very simple way in which we can develop this "awareness" and raise the caliber of our life to one of confidence, joyousness, and challenge.
It is the simple practice of counting our blessings -- as opposed to counting our tribulations or afflictions.
Let us list them on a sheet of paper divided into two columns; one for the afflictions, and the other for the blessings that are ours.
It is amazing how few are the afflictions or negative factors that one can list.
On the other hand, it is even more astonishing how many are the blessings, any one of which would make life worthwhile.
Let's count our blessings, or at least a few of the hundreds of things that life benignly gives us, often without efforts on our part -- things that mean so much to us that they are priceless.
Here are a few of the blessings that are common to most of us.
There is hardly a limit on them.
So, let's count our blessings -- put them down on paper -- we will probably find a new kind of life, one full of confidence and faith, and enthusiasm and promise.
Handbook for the Heart: Original Writings on Love
edited by Richard Carlson (author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff)
Click here for more info and/or to order this book.