Perfect or Perfectly-Awful Life?: Seeing Blessings and Challenges in Balance

“She has survived so much! My life seems like a piece of cake compared to her experiences.” Sarah, new client, 22 years old

“I don’t think I’m ever going to get out of this. No matter what I do, the hits just keep coming.” Martin, 5th session, 62 years old

Loss, financial struggles, death, illness, pain, suffering, grief, unemployment: a list of the normal, human experiences that will impact all of us over a lifetime. Historically life challenges were simply a part of everyone’s story. For some it was coming back from war, for others it was the death of a child or the loss of the family farm. Folks counted their blessings when life was going well, and came together to support friends and family when difficulties appeared.

Somehow in the present day, challenging life experiences have become almost fetishized. On one end of the spectrum there’s the health-obsessed person. Living on green smoothies, exercising to the point of injury, avoiding all people with “negative energy” and taking a first full of daily vitamins, these people believe very strongly that they can avoid illness, tragedy and death all together. The other end of the spectrum includes individuals who focus solely on their challenges. The news, the weather, the person they just saw: almost every experience becomes negative and makes their lives more and more difficult to the point of impossibility.

Whether it’s our own life experiences or someone else’s, we don’t need to deny or obsess. After a few sessions Sarah was able to talk about her own challenges without comparing them to her friend’s life, and Martin slowly started to see that he did have some positives going for him (loving partner, healthy kids, cozy home). Take some time this week to acknowledge your difficulties, celebrate your blessings, and encourage those around you to find a balance.