Author Topic: Count your Blessings  (Read 11492 times)

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Allyson

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2013, 12:26:49 PM »
I really don't like the 'some people have it worse' attitude. It seems so dismissive to me. By this standard, nobody would ever be allowed to be upset. Well, all right, one person would be allowed to be upset--the person in the world who currently has it worst of anyone anywhere. Since none of us know who that is, I think we can just leave off telling others to count their blessings at all.

I'm pretty sure nobody has ever been made to feel *better* about a situation by being told others have it worse. Just guilty and annoyed.

citadelle

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2013, 02:21:28 PM »
It is annoying, I agree. But sometimes, from the right person, it does/can put things back into perspective for me. I still don't use it on anyone else. Well, except, on occasion, my kids, who are both young enough to need such perspective from me sometimes.

silvercelt

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2013, 02:54:47 PM »
Unfortunately, I have seen similar responses to posts here on EH.  It tends to happen mostly when someone posts about a parent.  That is when I see a lot of "Well, at least you still have a mother. I'd give anything to have mine back, you should count your blessings" type posts.  Just because the person saying this had a great relationship with their mother doesn't mean that the OP doesn't have a legitimate complaint.  Not everyone is the same.

Lynn2000

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2013, 03:01:46 PM »
In the OP's situation and others described here, I can definitely see how it would be belittling and dismissive, especially depending on the tone/other words used.

On the other hand, I feel like variations on this can be very helpful in giving people perspective, if they're tailored to that person's situation. For example, a friend might say, "I hate my job, nobody listens to me, I feel like I'm not making any difference!" and I might say, "Oh, that stinks, I'm so sorry you feel that way. But weren't you telling me last week how Jane appreciated your comments on her reports? So there's one person who seems to listen to you."

Or a friend might complain about her apartment--too small, too expensive, etc.--and, after expressing sympathy, I might say, "But it's so much closer to work, isn't it? So you don't have the long commute like you used to, and doesn't that save a lot of gas money and wear and tear on your car?"

Kind of helping them see the bright side of their particular situation. I feel like I get positive results when I do this, anyway.
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Mental Magpie

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2013, 08:07:35 PM »
I would reply "what a mean, heartless thing to post.  Of course I count my blessings but even the blessed have upsetting moments. I would think a person of the cloth would have some compassion."  Throw it right back at her.  She is invalidating you. And it was a nasty thing to write, meant to literally belittle your feelings.

This is a great response!

To me, "count your blessings" is like saying "first world problem", for any issue that doesn't involve starvation, or living in a war zone, or being at death's door, etc.

???

Why "throw it back at her" on Facebook, of all places?
I don't see that as a great response at all, unless one likes to keep FB fights going.

Before I reply, please clarify: do you mean why throw it back at her at all or just specifically on Facebook?
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Daquiri40

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2013, 10:02:05 AM »
I agree that it is a rude comment.  If the OP regularly complains about trivial things, then I can understand but I don't think OP does. 

If I have one broken leg, and you have two does that invalidate my pain?

I have a friend who was in a psych ward for clinical depression because her 17 year old son died.  A woman in therapy said to her, "is that all?  My mother and father died and then my sister and my child is sick!!".  The therapist said pain is pain.

TurtleDove

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #36 on: February 11, 2013, 10:43:09 AM »
I don't see it as invalidating the pain but rather encouraging a person to gain perspective and not let the pain overshadow the good.  I've had quite a bit of trauma in my life (some I have posted about here, some I have not) and now I truly believe that seeking happiness and spending as little time as possible dwelling on things that upset me is the way to go.  I didn't use to believe that and would focus on how I was justified in being upset.  And the thing is, I was justified in being upset about a, b, c or d.  But did it to me any good to be upset about it?  Nope.  Did being upset diminish the quality of my life? Absolutely. I get that the OP did not appreciate the comment from her friend, but overall I don't agree that the concept of "focus on your blessings" is a bad thing or is diminishing or invalidating pain.  I see it as a reminder of a philosophy of life that works for me and for a great many people. 

Yvaine

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #37 on: February 11, 2013, 10:53:10 AM »
I don't see it as invalidating the pain but rather encouraging a person to gain perspective and not let the pain overshadow the good.  I've had quite a bit of trauma in my life (some I have posted about here, some I have not) and now I truly believe that seeking happiness and spending as little time as possible dwelling on things that upset me is the way to go.  I didn't use to believe that and would focus on how I was justified in being upset.  And the thing is, I was justified in being upset about a, b, c or d.  But did it to me any good to be upset about it?  Nope.  Did being upset diminish the quality of my life? Absolutely. I get that the OP did not appreciate the comment from her friend, but overall I don't agree that the concept of "focus on your blessings" is a bad thing or is diminishing or invalidating pain.  I see it as a reminder of a philosophy of life that works for me and for a great many people.

But it's best used on oneself, rather than used to bludgeon others. I have all kinds of things I tell myself, as tools for coping with things, that would be quite rude if I dumped them on other people unsolicitedly.

TurtleDove

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #38 on: February 11, 2013, 11:02:59 AM »
But it's best used on oneself, rather than used to bludgeon others. I have all kinds of things I tell myself, as tools for coping with things, that would be quite rude if I dumped them on other people unsolicitedly.

In my opinion, posting something on facebook is soliciting feedback.  I would not personally post either the OP's status or the friend's response, but I don't think the friend was invalidating the OP's pain as I explained in my previous post.  I think the best idea is to either not post things like the OP posted or to take whatever comments in the best light or delete the ones that upset her.  I don't think escalating, especially when she said she knows the friend meant well, is the way to go, both in terms of etiquette and in terms of how to have a happier life.  Just my opinion.

oceanus

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #39 on: February 11, 2013, 03:43:20 PM »
The "count your blessings" thing reminds me of some of my elderly relatives, now gone, including my father.  "Be thankful you have a roof over your head and food in your stomach everyday".

Well, okay.   ::)

violinp

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #40 on: February 11, 2013, 03:48:46 PM »
The "count your blessings" thing reminds me of some of my elderly relatives, now gone, including my father.  "Be thankful you have a roof over your head and food in your stomach everyday".

Well, okay.   ::)

Exactly. I can be thankful for what I have and be sad for what I do not have at the same time. The two are not diametrically opposed, and we don't have the emotional ranges of teaspoons.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


bah12

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #41 on: February 11, 2013, 04:02:46 PM »
This is pretty much in line with some recent threads/themes about what to say to someone who is upset about something.  Some people say, "Be positive!  It helps me."  and others say "agree with everything they say about how bad it is, because that helps me."

I'll just say what I've said in all those other threads.  Everyone sees things differently and depending on the person and what they want to hear to make them feel better, there is no "one size fits all" answer.

That being said, I think it's always appropriate to validate feelings first.  Whether or not someone wants to hear how it could be worse, or wants someone else to lament in their misery (this is extreme), validating feelings; i.e. "I'm sorry your dealing with this.  This must be hard for you. etc" is always a smart way to start.

wyliefool

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #42 on: February 11, 2013, 04:04:32 PM »
OP here. I replied to her on the thread and said something along the lines of while it is great to count my blessings and I do realize I have a lot of them, the issue I complained about upset me and there is nothing wrong with that. She simply replied "soldier on" so I'm assuming she got the message.

I'd say not, actually. She's still not saying 'sorry to hear it' but 'buck up.' Hope she doesn't treat her parishioners' complaints so blithely.

TurtleDove

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #43 on: February 11, 2013, 04:12:19 PM »
I'd say not, actually. She's still not saying 'sorry to hear it' but 'buck up.' Hope she doesn't treat her parishioners' complaints so blithely.

As the daughter of a pastor who is dating a pastor and who has spoken with various pastors in times of grief, I have some insight into this.  Of course different people handle things differently, but never was I under the impression that a pastor is there to validate his parishoners feelings and agree with them that they are rightfully angry or upset but rather to provide them with ways of living a happy life despite tragedy or trauma.  I always understood (and experienced) the pastor's role to be one of providing hope in the face of despair, which would be far closer to "count your blessings" than it would be to "you are absolutely right to be wallowing in self pity."  (Not saying the OP is wallowing in self pity, just pointing out the difference in approach here).

Mental Magpie

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Re: Count your Blessings
« Reply #44 on: February 11, 2013, 04:13:29 PM »
I'd say not, actually. She's still not saying 'sorry to hear it' but 'buck up.' Hope she doesn't treat her parishioners' complaints so blithely.

As the daughter of a pastor who is dating a pastor and who has spoken with various pastors in times of grief, I have some insight into this.  Of course different people handle things differently, but never was I under the impression that a pastor is there to validate his parishoners feelings and agree with them that they are rightfully angry or upset but rather to provide them with ways of living a happy life despite tragedy or trauma.  I always understood (and experienced) the pastor's role to be one of providing hope in the face of despair, which would be far closer to "count your blessings" than it would be to "you are absolutely right to be wallowing in self pity."  (Not saying the OP is wallowing in self pity, just pointing out the difference in approach here).

I think it's a comment on how the pastor phrased it rather than on the idea itself.  At least, that's how I read it.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.