blowing dandelion with children's hands, photographed with the light from one flash

Why I Don’t Prefer To “Count My Blessings”

I was strolling through the garden shop the other day when a kindly Grandma stopped to chat with me.

Ok.  It didn’t exactly go like that.

I was chasing my wild, unruly three year old twins down the garden aisle as they ripped flowers and leaves from any plant within their reach, sweat dripping down my face, back and inner thighs when a woman looking to be in her mid sixties stopped to engage me in a full on discussion about my life, my children and my marriage.

Were the twins my only children?

Four girls!  What are their ages?  What are their names?  Why her Great Aunt had that name before she passed away and oh what a battle that was.  What does my husband do?  We must have married young.  On…and on…and on.

The twins ran circles around us and the sweat continued to trickle down my skin.  Finally I had answered all of her questions and she ended the conversation with, “Well the Good Lord has blessed you beyond measure.  Make sure you count your blessings dear.”

I smiled, said goodbye and took off for the veggies and herbs.  At least there the twins could eat the foliage and be certain not to die.  As we piled in the Basil, Thyme and Rosemary I couldn’t help but feel miffed.  What was my problem?  I stop and chat with random people all day long.  Having twins is  like wearing a giant, blinking sign that says, “Please stop me and ask me about me uterus.”

Was it the sweat?

The toddlers?

The mental tally of how much money I was in the process of spending on plants that will die in a few months?

No.

It was that last line that bothered me.

Make sure you count your blessings dear.

Here is the thing.  I am not an overly religious person.  In fact I am not a religious person at all.  Faithful…yes.  Religious…no.  We no longer follow an organized religion and have made sense of faith and life in a way that we are comfortable with. That is my particular choice and path and if yours is different I am good with that.  In fact, I am great with that.  Life can be hard as all get out.  It throws you curves, kicks you in the bazooka, makes you claw and scratch your way out of the darkest of shadows.  It is not always a pretty picture and many people depend on their religion to help them through their struggles.  Religion gives them peace, comfort and solace.  It can be a really beautiful thing, it’s just not my thing.

 

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33 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Prefer To “Count My Blessings”

  1. I think as much as people like that can be very annoying it is good advice. I think looking at things positively is the thing. You could say nature blessed you if you think of it that way

  2. It is good advice – but i’m with you, it’s also cliched and annoying. I like to hope that my two little blessings know how loved they are, and I try and remember how very lucky I am too. In between taking stickers off the cat and porridge out of my hair.

  3. I think people make these sort of comments and don’t really think. They don’t know you or your thoughts and it can be annoying even when they mean well!! Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

  4. I really dislike when total strangers poke into my life… or worse, offer advice! Had it happen all the time when I was out and about with my boys in their younger years! #fandayfriday

  5. I hate it when strangers feel at liberty to pass comment on my life. It has only started happening since I became a mother. It’s as though you are not part of society before you have a child, and then when you have a child and you are part of society, other people think they own you and own the right to pass comment about you. Positive or negative, I doesn’t really matter, I still hate it because it is none of their business. Pen x #FridayFrolics

  6. That’s a really interesting view point. We are not religious, but it hadn’t occurred to me that a ‘blessing’ is connected to that way of thinking specifically. I guess we have always taken that saying as having a bit of luck our way. Fab read, and I agree that a lot of things come down to sheer hard work. #DreamTeam x

  7. Oh I totally agree. I am not sure I by the ‘luck’ or ‘blessings’ thing. Like you I prefer to see it as hard work paying off, cause damn have I worked hard as has Mr Tammy and I think we deserve to be where we are. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  8. I wholeheartedly believe in God and, whilst I work hard for things, I believe that I can only achieve what I have because of the the intelligence and gifts God has given me, etc. But we don’t have to agree on everything. I DO agree that being told to count your blessings is totally annoying – it’s like someone thinks you don’t appreciate what you have, and actually nobody can be happy all the time. #blogcrush

  9. I’m not a believer so something like that would really annoy me!! Great post. Sorry for the late comment, better late than never! Thanks for joining #TriumphantTales.

  10. You are just the best, I love your writing so much! Being an older sister to twin brothers I think people always feel the need to stop and ask questions. Sarah #FabFridayPost

  11. I am always oddly uncomfortable trying to respond to the phrase “I’ll pray for you.” Do I thank you? Do I ask you not to? Do I ask you to do it nightly for a week? Do I ignore it and move on the conversation?

    I don’t know. I usually just nod, mumble, and shuffle away. #GlobalBlogging

  12. I don’t think counting your blessings has to have anything to do with religion. I’m an atheist, and I see that phrase more of a “remember to be thankful for what you have, not what you don’t have” or a “yes shit happens in your life, but focus on the good and you’ll realise it’s not all bad”

    I feel blessed that I have 2 healthy and happy children, and a wife that loves me enough to share her life with me. I often need people to remind me of that when I think life sucks and am questioning what I’ve done to deserve a tantruming child or a wife that just won’t see my logic. It only becomes about religion if you let it.

    #globalblogging

  13. Yes, it can be bloody annoying to hear things like that…. but….. and I’m an atheist, I say ‘blessings’ not that the lord has blessed us, but that nature and the divine universe has blessed us.

    And sometimes when you open up to the idea that things happen for a reason, no matter good or bad, they happen to US for some purpose, it gives clarity.

    And taking a minute to ponder the amazing things in your life…. (people to gratitude lists etc) it’s a thing I practice daily (well, try to) especially if I find negative thoughts starting to weight me down…. it does help, it centres you and pops your negativity bubble.

    P.S I’ve been doing a thing this month… and it’s not taking ANYTHING personally…. because I used to take EVERYTHING personally, sometimes the things were not even negative and I’d find a way to get pissed off by them!
    And at time it made me miserable… so I tried it… to not take anything personal, even when it feels like it is….and it’s amazing.

  14. With the older generation I’m guessing it’s a religious thing, but I do say I’m blessed and I’m not really thinking of it in relation to God, just that we’re so lucky to have these kids. But I have a friend who’s an atheist and she doesn’t like when people say the blessed thing. #globalblogging

  15. I always try and remind myself that comments like that are coming from a good place and try to receive them in the spirit they’re meant. But I usually mutter cuss words under my breath when they’re safely out of ear-shot

  16. It’s hard because religion is based on opinion not fact and peoples opinions are connected to their emotions, which can lead to positive or negative outcomes. I am led by facts but I like to respect others opinions. #GlobalBlogging

  17. I couldn’t agree more. It drives me mad when folk say stuff like that to me. No I’m not lucky I’ve made sacrifices and worked hard for what I have, they’ve done things differently and to then say I’m lucky or blessed is a bit be littling. I do think in this case the lovely lady just wanted a wee chat and was genuinley happy for you but so many people do it to jusifty their own choices and that drives me mad! xx #globalblogging

  18. I’m really annoyed by #blessed because really, if you’re on Instagram, you’re going to be pretty blessed in my book! It’s not like you’re starving in some developing country. 🙂 #globalblogging

  19. Wouldn’t it have been nice if she had HELPED you with the kiddos? I just love when someone starts a convo with me as I am chasing mine down and obviously stressed out. That’s my all time favorite! Its like, sure, lets chat as I’m balancing 10 million things while you just stand there watching me!!!

    #globalblogging

  20. I regularly have older ladies in my life who always say “God bless you.” The first few times I was annoyed by it – what if I don’t want God to bless me? But then, like you, I realized it’s really how they feel and it has nothing to do with me. I say things like “Have a great day” and really have no idea how someone’s day is going – I think it’s similar. Just a natural statement that flows from your mouth without really thinking about it. Now I choose to take these blessings in the spirit they are intended, regardless of my religious dogma (or lack of it!)
    ~Jess
    #GlobalBlogging

  21. Intersting reading your words and also the comments left here. I am not sure I relate blessings to just coming from God, I guess I just take it as I have a lot to be grateful for. I worked hard to have my kids, really hard, and have bene through some tough shit, as most of us have, so I guess I like to feel grateful for what I have now ,even though I created and chose my own path, I still feel grateful to the universe and to my own body and mind, does that make sense? #globalblogging

  22. There’s nothing worse than being stopped for a looooong conversation when your kids are running riot. I have an old guy who stops me in the street every time I see him and I’m usually trying to hold on to a pushchair and two dogs who are very interested in the shopping bag he is carrying and he always insists on standing really close making it ten times harder to keep hold of them. Even when they start jumping up and whining and the toddler starts crying he will carry on telling me a story about a bunch of family members I’ve never heard of or the latest political crisis. He’s a nice guy and I’m always friendly and polite but I have been known to suddenly take a diversion when I see him coming 😬
    #GlobalBlogging

  23. Poor old lady. Probably lonely. I get this too sometimes. I hear you. I’m an atheist (humanist in nicer terms), but this sort of thing doesn’t bother me. Lot of other things do: having to go to church just to ensure a place at the best and closest school is one of them. Or MIL starting my 3 yr old’s religious education is another. Those send me bloody through the roof. 😠 #globalblogging

  24. I’m not religious and have lost track of the number of times I’ve been told the same. Of even worse, when Joseph died – “It was gods will.” Whaaat? People are crazy sometimes and don’t think before they speak, I wish I had a witty comeback but often I just smile and hurry away! #globalblogging

  25. It amazes me the amount of people say to count your blessings. Yes we may be fortunate, but we could also be less fortunate in other aspects of our lives, people dont know whats going on behind closed doors. You know what you have but like you said, you worked hard at your life to get it where it is today and there is no blessings that can take responsibility for that! (sorry for the late comment – this weekend has been hell) #globalblogging

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