It is kind of interesting to me, that today, December 6th, 2013, we are commemorating the Ecole Polytechnique massacre of 1989, as well as the life and death of Nelson Mandela.
It is so easy to become fixated on all the bad in the world, and in our own lives and sometimes seems much more difficult to see the good. But there is good. And beauty. And love. You just have to look a little harder to find it sometimes.
The massacre is, of course, one of many horrors in human history, but Nelson Mandela and the legacy he has left is proof of just what a huge difference on person can make.
There are psychological theorists who believe that the cause of much human suffering is a lack of engagement and sense of meaning in our lives. I do feel I see evidence of this in my practice as a counsellor. What most people seem to need and want is a sense of purpose and belonging. Of course, this is what changed my own path in life. I spent years absolutely miserable in jobs that had no intrinsic value for me. Now, I am doing work that I am passionate about. Nothing makes me happier than feeling like I am helping others and making some sort of significant difference. And this too has been shown to be linked with positive psychological outcomes for people. It is difficult to feel bad when doing something good.
So go find some good this weekend, or, even better, do some good for someone else.