Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | Sha'ban 28, 1444 H
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Positive... in our lives!

Telling someone to stay positive in the midst of this global crisis misses an opportunity for growth, not to mention the potential for backfiring only makes them feel bad

During the past period, we note that countless books have been written about (the power of gratitude) and the importance of counting the blessings you get, but this feeling may seem like a cold peace of mind during the Coronavirus pandemic.!

Certainly, praise be to God for every blessing He has bestowed on man is required, but refusing to look into the darkness of life and avoiding uncomfortable experiences is detrimental to mental health. This is the poisonous positivity which - if I may say so - is in the end a denial of reality. Telling someone to stay positive in the midst of this global crisis misses an opportunity for growth, not to mention the potential for backfiring only makes them feel bad.

However, deny that life which has its share of disappointments, frustrations, losses, setbacks and grief would be unrealistic and intolerable. Life is suffering, one day of joy and another day of sadness and no amount of positive thinking exercises will change this fact!

Perhaps the search for optimism amidst the inevitable tragedies of people is something more practical and realistic during these difficult times as in such pandemic crisis. Especially with those who lost a member of their family as a result of infection with the Coronavirus. Here we can see how people have grown in many ways during these difficult times - including increased appreciation of one's life and relationships, as well as increased empathy and altruism, for instance. Most importantly, it is not the traumatic event itself that leads to growth (no one is grateful for Covid-19) but rather, how that event is processed.

Without a doubt, there are many essential advantages of life itself that we often take for granted. After all, humans have a natural tendency to adapt and get used to relatively stable situations. When people realise that their benefits are not guaranteed, many people appreciate them more. In fact, many studies have emerged here to confirm that people who have faced difficult circumstances report that their appreciation for life itself increases and that some of the most grateful people have had some of the most difficult experiences. For example, when you see a patient in the prime of life who faced the risk of her death and that is after she was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo many surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. However, after her recovery and improvement she was constantly looking for opportunities to cultivate gratitude. Indeed, true gratitude rejoices in the other as well, since in the end, the more people are grateful, the more they mentioned that they were more likely to help others.

At end, gratefulness may be appreciated as a fleeting emotion that can come and go, but gratitude or that existential gratitude - if I could say - can permeate your entire life, through its vicissitudes. It asks for nothing but looks for hidden benefits and opportunities for growth in everything - even during a global pandemic like the one we've experienced now. Perhaps the gratitude I mean here is not just a switch that is turned on when things are going well, but a light that shines in the dark.

(The author is a physician, a medical innovator and a writer)

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