Pigs and Chickens: A Parable About Perspective
Once upon a time there was a poor villager who lived in a small and crowded hut along with his wife, his children and a large number of relatives. His days were filled with toil and drudgery and at night he lay awake on his hard mat feeling very unhappy.
Finally the poor man sought out the wisest man in the village to speak of his situation and seek guidance. The wise man considered the villager's plight for several minutes and then solemnly told him that he must herd all of his pigs and chickens into his hut, and then return for further instruction after the next moon.
The unhappy villager did not understand but he reluctantly trudged back to his hut to do as he was told. As you can imagine, the stench and noise and chaos inside the hut grew worse and worse and the man was more unhappy than ever. Finally, at the appointed time he returned to the wise man who asked what he thought of his life now. The poor man cried out that his life was worse than ever and that never before had he experienced such misery and turmoil. The wise man immediately instructed the villager to run back to his hut and kick the animals out and then return after the next moon. This the villager happily did. The hut immediately seemed much larger, his family sang praises to him, and at night he slept like a king.
After the next moon the happy villager returned to the wise man with a smile on his well-rested face, a bounce in his strong step, and laughter on his smiling lips. The wise man asked what he thought of his life now and the man began to dance, throwing his arms in the air and joyously exclaiming: "My life is better than it's ever been: No more pigs! No more chickens!"
The moral of this story is the value of perspective. An identical situation can be seen as either a source of great resentment or gratitude depending on what it is compared against. It's easy to take good health for granted until one has been sick. The tendency to be impatient in a slow supermarket line disappears at the awareness that many people in the world wait hours for a bowl of rice. Gratitude comes in all shapes and sizes, but it's never far away when you remember the many small blessings of life rather than taking them for granted.
When you are simply unable to find adequate perspective to soothe your emotional pain, it's important to find someone who can guide you away from depression and despair toward greater happiness and hope. These are the times to talk to people you can trust by seeking out the comfort and advice of friends, family members, and spiritual advisers, as well as professional guidance for the expertise, objectivity and confidentiality such a resource can provide.
I hope you will take a little time to read some of my many other articles to educate, encourage and inspire you along your journey to a life you richly deserve. If I can provide more personal assistance to you, either in person, by phone or via Skype, please don't hesitate to contact me.