01/31/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Lost Everything, Found the Blessings

A friend of mine told me recently that she'd "lost everything." In truth, she hadn't lost everything. But she had lost more than she ever expected. Her life had changed suddenly and profoundly and would likely change even more in days to come. She told me she felt angry and asked me what she could do.

My first thought was that regardless of what she had lost, she still had herself. So I suggested she be kind and loving to herself. Being angry wasn't going to solve anything. I encouraged her to remember she is perfect just the way she is, even though she may not think or feel that way. The best way I know how to do that is to look for the blessings in her situation.

The truth is that regardless of what any of us have or don't have, we are perfect just as we are. And each and every challenge we face is perfect for us in some way. That perfection is most readily known when we discover the blessings in our challenges and then claim them as our own.

One of the blessings in any challenge is the opportunity for us to learn. I suggested that what my friend saw as losing everything could actually be providing her with experiences she needed, perfect ones that would help her grow and become a stronger, more loving and joyful person.

"What if 'losing everything' is important for your learning?" I asked her. "What if these challenging times are here to teach you something valuable and worthwhile about yourself?"

She said she had her doubts. She judged herself as having been bad or cursed. She said she felt she had done something wrong. She criticized herself as "no good" and worried that she somehow deserved those losses.

"You can hang onto that negative way of looking at yourself if you want," I said. "But if you want to heal, it's important that you don't exclude yourself from the blessings. In fact, you can be the one to bless your situation right now."

"How can I bless this situation?" she asked. "How can I possibly see these losses as blessings?"

Every situation can be blessed, whether it's ours or someone else's. Any of us can call forward a blessing right now because blessings exist within every challenge. But we need to be open and allow ourselves to find and experience them. And we need to have faith and trust within ourselves that because we ask, it will be done.

"Consider that a blessing is already placed for you right now," I said. "All you need to do is to be willing to allow it."

In my view, blessings are done according to what I consider God's will being done. They take place in ways that are best for us or what I call "for the highest good." That means the blessings don't always come forward in the ways we think they should. So I suggested she be open to experiencing the blessings anytime, anyway, regardless of the situation.

"The situation doesn't need to change for you to experience a blessing," I told her. Blessings often take place inside ourselves rather than outside in the world. So even when things in the world don't seem to change and we feel frustrated, angry or upset, we can still experience great blessings inside.

"If the blessings are inside, how can I find them?" she asked. "How will I know a blessing has taken place?"

"Claim the blessings and be open to receive them. Then go inside and look for your peace and joy," I responded. "That's where you'll find the blessings."

I encouraged her not to demand or expect a particular experience. When we have patience, we allow the blessings to manifest themselves in their perfect ways and perfect timing.

"You'll start noticing something different inside of you," I said. "You'll find yourself looking at the challenge in a different way. What matters most is the change you experience within yourself."

We all have challenges to face. But as we love ourselves and the perfection of every situation, we can experience the blessings and a sense of peace and joy regardless of our circumstances.

"Keep looking for the blessings," I told my friend, "and you'll find them." And as we choose for the blessings, they will take place even more.