Why You Should Look For Blessings In Disguise
There are moments in our lives when the world seems to come crashing down, and our first response is to bemoan our bad luck. Yet, with time, we look back upon that event and imbue it with the newfound value, like a gem emerging from the thick earth, and we end up calling it a “blessing in disguise.”
Years ago, my life began to crumble around me: a long-term relationship ended, career prospects suddenly dwindled, and I suffered one setback after another. My plans jettisoned, I was forced in a new direction, which paved the way to the most profound, life-changing spiritual awakening. Had life not cleared the way, there would have been no space in my life for all the divine teachers who opened me to higher states of consciousness. Through that experience, I came to appreciate that identifying our blessings in disguise is a tremendously powerful spiritual practice.
What happens when we start training ourselves to look for blessings in disguise? We shift our outlook and start to see our lives differently. That transformation has a number of stages, each building on and leading to the next.
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1. We Stop Making Snap Judgments
It is not easy to remain happy in the face of loss or pain. Life often asks us to endure enormous change. When we practice looking for blessings in disguise, we learn that our initial snap judgments are often wrong. Our reaction that this is “bad” turns out often to be an overreaction.
The truth is that we cannot fully appreciate the role that any given event will have in our lives. When we are able to see events from a broader time horizon, our perspective shifts. Countless people have gone through divorce or lost a job, only later to say that it was the best thing that ever happened to them. For me, the painful end of a decade-long relationship that wasn’t working opened the doorway to finding true love a few years later.
By looking back over our lives and counting our blessings in disguise, we stop seeing ourselves as victims in life. The next time something “bad” happens to you, just pause and say to yourself, “Maybe. It might be a bad thing or a good thing.” Recognize that you are making a snap judgment and that you cannot see the full picture just yet. As the saying goes, time will tell.
2. We Learn the Power of Language to Shape Our Outlook
Finding the blessings in disguise demonstrates the power of language to shape our perceptions. When we label a situation as “bad,” we’re often reacting to how the experience makes us feel. When we recast that same event as a “blessing in disguise” we use the power of our words to alter how we perceive that same event. We can use that power at any time, even before we see the blessing.
When we endure some painful event or setback, we often generalize and conclude that life is cruel or unfair. Unfortunately, we are setting ourselves up to experience more of the same. If our expectation is that we live in a cruel world, life will confirm that for us.
Reframing these supposed calamities with different language is a powerful response. Let go of words like “bad” and start referring to them as “challenges” or “lessons.” Does the butterfly regard its struggle through the cocoon as a disaster or a challenge that will transform it into a miracle? By using different words, we can take some of the sting out of the situation.
3. We Learn Positive Lessons about Our Life
Nothing is truly a coincidence; everything happens for a reason. The “blessing” in a blessing in disguise is often a lesson about life and how to respond to it. Through loss, change, and grief, we may gain insight into our character (i.e., we are more resourceful or courageous than we thought), or the appropriateness of our actions, as often happens when we have treated others unfairly. Karma can be a cruel teacher, but it is a teacher nonetheless.
Looking for “blessings in disguise” allows us to reframe seemingly awful and tragic events to identify their lessons. When we view them as teachers, we begin to perceive the way forward through the situation. Many people have suffered life-threatening health issues or financial disaster—tragedies that later gave them a newfound appreciation for life and taught them how to take better care of themselves.
The moment we look for the lesson, the situation often begins to resolve itself. The next time something happens to you that wish hadn’t happened or seems bad, pause and ask yourself, What is life trying to teach me? As you develop a sense of what the lesson might be, you can draw on the previous step and reframe the entire episode as part of a larger story of your spiritual evolution.
Tragic events often teach us to be grateful for our lives. We tend to take life for granted, only to discover how magical and fragile it can be. Finding the blessings in disguise develops our capacity for gratitude. By taking responsibility for our feelings, reframing a situation with new language, and creating a new meaning for it in our lives, we can regard it with gratitude for all that it has done for us.
As we cultivate gratitude from our past experiences by seeing them as blessings, we develop a new skill: We learn react to new events with greater calm and balance, knowing that in a short while, we will look back at this latest episode and realize that it was not nearly as bad as we originally thought. Knowing that the lesson will soon emerge allows us to regard the current situation we are facing with greater ease. A powerful tool is to create a catalog of events that turned out to be pivotal and positive moments for you—your own list of past blessings in disguise. Keep this list in mind the next time something occurs in your life and use it to foster a sense of balance in the face of the newfound obstacle you’re experiencing.
5. We Realize that Our Entire Life Is a Blessing
The truth is that no blessing is disguised. Everything that is happening in our lives is always for our highest good. The disguise is the creation of our own mind, whose limited perspective sees negativity where there is none and reacts in fear. That fear blinds us to the fact that our personal growth and evolution sometimes requires that we undergo change—including, on occasion, change in the form of pain or struggle or loss. But the blessings were there all along. It was our own fear that hid them.
By practicing finding the blessings that life has presented you, you shed that fear, and new changes become a portal to the next level of appreciation for all that life has to offer.
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