Question :

I feel so hard done by. I hate feeling like this when I know that I have many blessings to be grateful for, like a great family and wonderful children. But no matter how hard I work, it always seems like others have it much easier than I do. They are left inheritances, win prizes, travel the world, and I just slog and slave to live a decent life. I harbor such negativity – it is unhealthy. How can I start feeling more grateful for my blessings and less resentful about my hardships?


I hear your frustration. Let me offer you some wisdom that I was taught this morning. I learned it from my baby daughter.

She continued to sob, oblivious of my efforts to make her smileShe has been unwell and very moody and clingy over the last few days. This morning, for no apparent reason, she would not stop crying – nothing I did would placate her. I made funny faces, dangled her dolly in front of her and rubbed it in her face, sang silly songs, and made strange noises by cupping my hand underneath my armpit. But she continued to sob, oblivious of my efforts to make her smile.

So I changed tactics. I sat next to her on the floor and started crying myself.

It worked. She stopped crying immediately. First she looked at me a little surprised. But then, from behind her tears emerged a broad smile, and she started laughing. The more I cried, the more she giggled. She had finally snapped out of it, and we had some happy moments together for the first time in days.

Later I reflected on what had happened. What made her stop crying? Why was she laughing? Then it hit me. It is so simple.

The minute we focus on someone else's pain, we forget our own.

In her own babyish way, my daughter was doing what we all do sometimes, wallow in our own problems and feel miserable about them. This mindset is self-perpetuating. The more we think about our problems, the more miserable we feel, and the more we feel miserable, the more we focus on what we lack.

The best way to break this cycle is to look outside of ourselves and see if we can help someone else.She could now stop crying because she was freed from being stuck in herself As long as I was trying to take my baby daughter out of her sadness, it was her and her sadness that absorbed our attention. The second I shifted the focus and started crying myself, she was drawn out of her own sadness and became aware of my presence and my needs. She could now stop crying because she was freed from being stuck in herself. She was no longer the pitiful crybaby; she was the comforter and soother of a crying dad. So she laughed.

I think my baby girl is right. You may have good reason to feel down. But you need to stop soaking in self-pity and look around at what good you can do for others. Don't think of what you need, think of how you are needed. Don't look at what you are missing, see the gifts you can share with those who may be missing them.

You have so much to offer and so much good you can do. Don't let bitterness and envy prevent your soul from giving forth its light. It's time for your baby to stop crying and start smiling.