This post by Gila at My Shrapnel once again hits the nail on the head.
This past year, while working with my students, I often found it hard to believe what some of these teenagers had gone through in their short lives. It made me feel really lucky and a little bit spoiled about the fact that I feel like I've gone through some difficult times. When really, in comparison to a 14-year-old who has experienced traumatic physical, emotional and sexual abuse, my pains are nothing. I truly am blessed when I look at it that way, and my challenges have been for the best to help me be able to help others, to be a strong individual and to have the confidence to know that I can make it through difficult situations.
And the other point Gila brings up - whether all these things are fair. Well, as my parents often told me while I was growing up - life isn't fair. If you add God to the equation and try to rationalize and put things in terms of the bigger picture, maybe some people can walk away with peace of mind. I can't really. I know I can't and never will understand. The horrible things that some people go through just are not fair. And I guess I have to stop wanting it to be.
I've heard the phrase that goes something to the effect of "if you don't expect much, you won't get disappointed." I'm not completely in line with that thinking, but I do believe that if you don't expect to have all the bells and whistles and breaks and ease of your neighbor, maybe you can feel better about your own lot. If you don't try to compare and you just work your hardest to get through what you are thrown, then you can take it one day at a time. It's impossible to compare, because how do you assign relative value to the assets and gifts, or challenges and frustrations, that one person has over another?
I think what it all boils down to is attitude. There is not a whole lot else you have control over. But you can choose to see things as a gift and lucky and a blessing. Or you can choose to see the same things as a burden and a curse. That's your choice. And I think that makes a huge difference.