It is a little bit like the Chinese blessing/curse, "May you have an interesting life." Meaning that if you do not live in a complete vacuum and stuff is happening to you and around you (no matter whether you feel it is good or bad) then that, in and of itself, is a great blessing. But, if you are like me, your initial reaction might be one of distaste or dismay at such a thought--that life's interesting BAD stuff is a blessing! Darn that Yin/Yang! Can't it just be all good? (we might ask--I know I do!)
The answer is that there is no good without "bad" and no bad without "good." We could not recognize either one without the experience of the other. Therefore, with respect to the good things we all want, we wouldn't experience these good things, the good people or the good situations as good without some bad reference points in our lifetimes. For example, if we have never had a bad friend (you know, backstabbing, gossiping, etc...) then we might not look for and cherish our true blue friends as much as we do now!
Believe me, I realize the above statements might not provide complete consolation during challenging times. The best consolation I, and many others, have found is to make a quick list of the things in your life right at this very second that could be considered by most people's standards to have "good" qualities. We take so much that is good for granted.
Never say to yourself, "Well, things could never be worse than this! Anything is better than this." Because I am here to tell you that yes, things can always, always be worse than your current circumstances. Always. This is why it is helpful to see that you DO have good things in your life that you might overlook when other things are going wrong.
Let's review some common gifts that might add to our current enjoyment of life (or realities for you that keep even more suffering at bay). Again, not all of you will have all of these--but most of you will have at least one of these and it might give you at least some small comfort to register something positive, like:
3. Drinkable Water
4. At Least One Remaining Family Member Somewhere in the World
5. One Person You Can Talk To
6. Your Vision
7. Your Hearing
8. Your Mobility
9. At Least One Hand, or
10. A Great Mechanical Hand:)
11. Both Legs, or
12. A Really Cool Wheelchair, or
13. Great Fake Legs:)
14. One Person or Animal in This World You Absolutely Adore (ie LOVE)
15. Knowledge of One Place Where You May Sleep Safely Tonight
16. Something New to Learn
17. You Woke Up Alive This Morning
18. You Notice You Might Be Alive Right Now As You Read This:)
19. You Can See That Perhaps --Just in Theory-- Where There Is Life, There May Be Hope for Even Small Improvement Somewhere in Your Life and in The World
20. You Might Have Something of Your Own You Are Thankful for Right Now. Even If It Is The Cup of Tea in Your Hand or The Phone Access or Computer Access That Allows You to Read This:)
All of this being said, if you are in a dangerous situation where your physical safety is compromised or in some other clearly unhealthy situation that compromises your wellbeing, I am not suggesting that you count your blessings and ignore it. In a case where you are continually exposed to outside influences or people who compromise your wellbeing then I encourage you to seek help and remove yourself as best you can so that you may find healthier soil in which to plant your life and so that you have increased chances of blooming into the person you are meant to be!
In closing, these are times to count your blessings and rid yourself of negative influences in your thought patterns, your social and romantic connections and your external surroundings. It is a time for deep reflection on what works in your life and what does not--with the wisdom to see both at the same time.