Monday, May 13, 2013

Giving Thanks in Rough Times

Yeah, I know, I know--there are no bad things! There are only circumstances we label ‘bad.’ Like my cat dying, or my car registration going up, or a really awful hair-cut. Those all seem bad to me. 

Yet I have seen great things come into my life from bad experiences.

So I change the word ‘bad’ to ‘challenging.’ Immediately my mental state shifts to one in which I am not defeated, but inspired. After all, what is the option? ‘Bad’ things happen on a daily basis. I can choose to let them upset and control me, or I can choose to use them productively and benevolently. Since I desire a life of happiness and productivity, I choose the latter.

So I give thanks for the scary things, the monsters in dark corners. If nothing else, they provide contrast. The light is more dazzling after being in the dark.

Thanks for the tragic headlines in the news. They inspire me to know more about others and to take positive action to do what I can to make the world a better place.

Thanks for the people in my life who don't like me or what I do. I learn valuable lessons from them about myself and how to understand better why I do what I do.

Thanks for the sadness and anxiety I sometimes feel. It leads me to adjust my mental life to one more positive. It opens my eyes to the extremes of human suffering, allowing me to empathize more sincerely with my fellow human beings.

Thanks to rough times with my partner. Through them, I understand how to love more purely and selflessly.

Thanks for the frightening health situations. They instruct me how my body functions and how I operate in the world as a physical being.

Thanks for all the tiny day-to-day aggravations. They teach me skills for coping and being a good person, even when I don't feel like it.

Thanks for the bad things. They show me so clearly how much for which I have to be thankful!

Randall Friesen, Newt List

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