At some point in our life we’ve all heard that we should count our blessings. This usually happens when we are feeling down, or when something tragic begins to consume us. When we hear it, our response is most interesting. Typically, we tend to nod and toy with the truth of the sentiment. We agree with it, but we don’t actually do anything about it. We never count our blessings. We just sigh, a deep sigh. We say yes, my life is full of blessings, and we just move on with our life.

But what if we counted?

I mean really counted. What if after you read this, you got out a piece of paper and started a list. A list containing names, places, ideas, and realities which have and continue to bless your life.

What if you did this when you were not down or in a terrible funk? What if you took stock of your life before adversity slaps you across the face? Doesn’t it make sense to get into the habit of counting your blessings now, so that you feel grateful before anything ever happens. Doesn’t it make sense to see the meaningful story of your life, instead of the one you will quickly write when you’re down; full of half truths and nagging disappointments?

How many names would make your list if you gave it a try?

Mother? Father? Grandfather and grandmother?

Brother? Sister? Aunt? Uncle? Cousin? Half Cousin?

Superman? Ironman? Chewbacca?

What about your wife or husband? Ex-wife? Ex-husband? (too much?)

Your children? Grandchildren?

What about your best friends growing up? Best friends now?

Neighbours? Colleagues? Your favourite boss? Your favourite singer or band?

Comedians? Athletes? Actors? Painters? Writers? Journalists? Waitresses? Bartenders? Clowns? 

What about that guy with dirty hands at Mr. Lube, who is always so nice, and always so complimentary?

What about that nice middle aged woman who serves you coffee with a smile each morning?

How many names will can you count?

How many names are you blessed with?

What other blessings can you dare to count?

I have a very large list and I try to add to it every day. Every time a new name makes it on the list, or repeats itself, a flood of memories comes to me, reminding me what a great life I have, and how exciting it is to be alive.

I think we need to redeem the phrase ‘count your blessings’.

We have to drag it out of the heap of warn out phrases and metaphors and follow its mandate.

This doesn’t have to be a complicated process. A pencil and a piece of scrap paper will do.

Make the list early in the morning, or make sure it is the last thing you do when you go lay your head to sleep at night.

Remember that our memories are not always reliable when we need them the most. We file the away and forget a lot of things, but our blessings are very important to remember.

Blessings are not just for funerals or weddings.

I think we can live better lives if we took stock of who and what we have in our life. I don’t think we would bitch as much, or take ourselves as seriously. We might even crack a smile and laugh a lot more. We would work a little harder, be positive a little longer, live full of energy, and have a positive lasting impact on everyone around us.

You should write your list.

When you begin, don’t stop with you gather a few names. Dig deep. Travel back and forth in time, until you’ve gathered everyone on your raft.

This doesn’t be a very burdensome exercise. Keep your list to ten or twenty items. Writer it everyday for at least a month, or find the courage to write it for the rest of your life. Reexamine and exhaust all the names, places, ideas, and realities that shape who you are.

Count your blessings.

And help other people count theirs too.


Cover photo generously provided by photographer Thought Catalog via