We’ve all heard the phrase “count your blessings!”. It may bring back memories of an older relative or mentor helping us process an event of adolescent grief, like a lost game or poor test score. As a teen, it helps to have an older, wiser person put our perceived personal tragedy into perspective. When we count our blessings, we realize that the tragedy really isn’t as bad as it seems, and that life will go on.
As we leave school and become adults, our network of peers expands to include colleagues, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Instead of relying on parents and older mentors in moments of grief, we turn to our friends, seeking empathy and love. If we are fortunate, the empathy and love of our peers will meld the wound and help us move on. But sometimes our friends are too busy or buried with their own problems. Sometimes our situation is too personal to share. Sometimes, despite the love and support of our friends, the wound festers.
As adults, we are rarely told to count our blessings when we vent our problems to colleagues or friends. Friends empathize. Telling your friend to “count their blessings” when they have poured out their heart to you seems cold and cruel, not empathetic. How valuable, though, is the friend who can not only empathize, but help us to see that our perspective has been thrown out of whack by focusing only on our problems.
As an exercise in keeping life in perspective, I am beginning a new Friday series called Friday Gratitude. I encourage my readers to join me in writing down your own list the first 10 things that come to mind as things for which we are grateful.
Beautiful weather and the opportunity to go for a bike ride
Carpools to help lessen the load of child care
Friday night football
A week of work as well as the launch of a new marketing initiative
A healthy family, both immediate and extended
The available time for me to compose my thoughts and to write this blog
Chilled, oaky chardonnay wine shared with friends
Memories of summer fun in Estes Park
Looking forward to this weekend, with little on my to-do list