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Reflecting on our blessings

| Thursday, February 23, 2017

I have been advised — on multiple occasions — to write down three positive things that happened to me each day.

Supposedly, this practice would help me to increase my ability to engage in positive thinking. However, I always thought it sounded like tacky advice pulled from a cheap self-help book and never bothered to try it.

Then, one day, my roommate proposed we write one positive thing on our mirror each day. I was still skeptical about the idea, but I agreed to give it a try. Each day, my roommates and I wrote down the small things we appreciated, and invited the friends who visited our room to write on the mirror as well.

Throughout the week, we would accumulate a list of all of the good things that had happened to us. Sometimes, it would be as small as a compliment from a teacher or a particularly good dinner. Other times, we would write about slightly more significant things, such as passing a difficult exam or recovery from an illness. The lists on the mirrors always made us laugh and appreciate the things we would otherwise take for granted. We would often write silly remarks on the mirror — and occasionally roast each other with what we wrote — but we always smiled when we read through them at the end of the week.

From time to time, our friends would come to our room just to write on the mirror about a particular highlight from their day. We would try to guess who wrote each thing on the mirror and ask each other to explain the stories behind what we wrote. During especially busy weeks, I would read through the mirror to see what my friends had been doing. Even when I didn’t get to see them as often, the mirror made me feel connected to the group.

Not only did the mirror did help us to count our blessings, it also helped us to celebrate with each other. While it did actually help me to think more positively, perhaps more importantly it made me recognize the importance of recognizing the successes of my friends and sharing my own joys with them. It helped me to realize that when we are able to appreciate not only the positive events in our own lives, but also those in the lives of our loved ones, our joy and gratitude are able to multiply.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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