By Rev. Canon S. Sebastian Campbell
“Count your blessings, name them one by one…”
Have you ever counted them?
The big bad wolf keeps coming. So what do you do? Throw one blessing in his path at a time. It will certainly slow him down. You see, he cannot deal with blessings, he survives only on negatives.
The big bad wolf is dirty, nasty and despicable. He fumes at the mouth and spits hate all the time. There is a big bad wolf for everyone of us. Many have been sent to untimely graves because they couldn’t or refuse to paralyse this ugly monster. We feel him and make him more dangerous by feeding him a diet of hate; tit for tat.
Focusing on the negative while ignoring or downplaying the positive will certainty increase stress. If ten things went well and one thing went wrong, most people will talk about that one thing when someone asks how your day was. Doing so can deflate your mood and make you question your abilities or value.
I go into self pity many times. Yes, I have those pity parties. I think I should be much further in life than where I am. And yes, I blame some people out there for messing me up, spoiling my chances, talking bad about me, reporting negative things about me, especially to my superiors. Yes, I’ve a hit list of all those architects of my stagnation.
In our society we have many women who believe that at 40 they should be married with children and so they avoid class reunions and friends who they believe are ahead of them in the way we measure success. Does anyone of us have enough to show for our time spent in this world?
How often I forget my heritage:
Product of the happiest family in the world from the greatest geographical area known in the world
A graduate of Arthur’s Town All Age School, St John’s College, the University of the West Indies and Princeton
Earning degrees of value
Being privileged to have served in both church and state throughout the Bahamas and further afield.
Having friends who will go to war for me
Having my own super great family.
And it doesn’t end there. I will continue to count my blessings. No big bad wolf can overcome any one of these. Each is a hurdle to him.
You have much to show for your life. Listening to the stories of others, don’t compare yourself. Simply appreciate your blessing; it’s peculiar to you.
To reduce your stress and improve your mood, focus on the positive. Think of what is going well in your life. Consider your relationships, career, work, health and fitness, personal or professional growth and spirituality. Where are you solid? When can you say with confidence “I’m somebody!”
Focus on your specific gifts, strengths and successes. Write them down. Give yourself credit for being a good family member, a great parent, a good sibling, a great leader. Ask a friend to say what good they see in you. Add them to your list.
Think of the challenges you have overcome. What strengths help you to succeed? What has helped you to cope in the mess of life. Think of how you overcame the onslaught of a false friend. How you have coped in a messy divorce. How your negotiation skills saved some deal you were fighting for. You must have an incident in your life where you have overcome some obstacle. You have a super human trait in something. Count them all!
Look for strengths in other people (not just their faults); we tend to suffer from a selection bias. If we look for what’s wrong in ourselves or other people we’ll find plenty examples. So hunt for positives. Identify two strengths for each fault.
Keep a gratitude journal. Studies have found that writing down things for which we are grateful can improve sleep, reduce symptoms of illness and increase happiness in adults and children. Keep your entries short – a simple sentence – and make them personal. focusing on people to whom you are grateful. This has more impact than focusing on things. Make a list of the people who are impacting you for good.
This is a wonderful time of the year to count your blessings.