There is a difference between being blessed and being a blessing.
The Merriam Webster Dictionary gives 3 definitions for the noun “blessing”:
- The act or words of one that blesses, or gives approval/encouragement
- A thing conducive to happiness or welfare
- Grace said at a meal
The Random House Webster’s College Dictionary has 2 more definitions I quite like:
- a special favour, mercy, or benefit
- approval or good wishes.
In the Oxford Dictionary, the primary definition is not wealth or comfort, but rather:
- God’s favour and protection.
Most people consider themselves blessed if they have things like their health, a steady job and income, and a strong circle of friends and family around for support. Eating three square meals a day and having a house to go to home to doesn’t feature as high on most folks “blessings rankings.” That’s more of a “given.”
We feel blessed when we are comfortable.
But what if you are being denied these comforts? Does that mean you are not blessed? I’d argue that you would find it hard to regard yourself as blessed if, say, for example, you were not living in a free country. And if you were being persecuted, marginalised, and treated with injustice, feeling blessed also can’t be easy. You have a valid excuse for not feeling blessed if you are experiencing racism, sexism, or any other form of prejudice.
But although there may be good reasons for not feeling blessed, the decision to be a blessing is within everyone’s grasp. There are many stories of heroic people that have overcome enormous personal challenges, and still manage to be a blessing to others.
In his famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Emil Frankl (1905 – 1997) tells the story of how he survived the Holocaust during World War II. By finding personal meaning in the experience of life in a concentration camp, it gave him the will to live through it. He was blessed to be able to positively influence many other prisoners, saving countless lives in the process.
After the war, he established a school of existential therapy called ‘logotherapy’, based in the premise that man’s underlying motivator in life is a “will to meaning,” even in the most difficult of circumstances. In his search for meaning, regardless of how dire the circumstances, he discovered he could be a blessing to others.
Here are some ways worth trying to be a blessing to others:
Add love to whatever you say, to whatever you think, and to whatever you do. You and the recipients will be blessed with more truth, honesty and authenticity.
Do great work
There is no easier way to show you care than by giving 110% in whatever you do. You and your boss, your peers, mentors and mentees are jointly blessed with work that matters.
Take care of the marginalised
No-one deserves blessings more than those who have stopped expecting them. Blessings flow when you do for those that are not able to return the favour.
Practice “do unto others…”
Being able to put yourself in the other’s shoes, is an act of humility. When we are vulnerable, we are blessed.
Encourage and praise others
Catch people doing things right, instead of trying to find petty reasons to complain. Everyone can do with some well-timed praise and encouragement. Blessed are those that are able to dispatch it timeously.
There are no heavier burdens to carry than those of hatred, anger, resentment and revenge. Having these in your heart and on your mind is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The blessing of being able to forgive is as ‘holy’ a position as a human can get.
Start by being a blessing to yourself
We tend to forget that we need to look after ourselves before we fend for others. Caring for and being cognisant of our own needs is the start of being able to be a blessing to others.
In what way can you be a blessing to the people you meet?
Have an awesome weekend! 😄
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