Do Not Be Discouraged

“Sometimes things can go right only by first going very wrong.” ~ Edward Tenner, Why Things Bite Back … 

It is easy to become discouraged when things go wrong, and this is especially true when those things that are going wrong are happening to us personally. Fortunately, when we are at our low points in life, there is plenty of room for things to go right. Even in my own life, I have seen and experienced bad things; and yet despite this truth, I always discovered good things that still existed in the midst of it all, and even more that could have come about as a result of those bad things. And by honing my ability to see these things–this optimistic view of adversity in life–I have been able to find much more potential good in bad situations than I ever thought possible.

During the hot summer months, one of my favorite things to do is to take my daughters to the swimming pool. And at the pool, I often find that the pavement, after allowing the sun to beat down it all day, tends to scorch my feet in a very painful way. Generally, when this occurs, I try to find some cool water to get my feet wet. The cool water on my skin is such an amazing feeling in contrast to the hot pavement. Yet this wonderful feeling would not be possible without first feeling the scorching burn from the pavement.

It is in the pain, that we realize pleasure; in the rejection, that we realize acceptance; in the loss, that we realize the importance of presence. I find there is much more clarity in life when I allow myself to experience adversity and hardship in a real way, and then use it to contrast the good in my life. That is not to diminish the importance or the effects of what has gone wrong. We can experience things that go wrong without going through the feelings associated with those things happening in our lives. A breakup is difficult, and it will hurt us and bring us down. Losing a job is tremendously difficult on many levels. However, this is where we can have hope, where faith can play an important role in our lives. Just because the night looks dark, does not mean we have to cower in the darkness. We can allow ourselves hope that the light will return, and work to make sure we have done something before the morning light.

Life is a journey filled with many highs and lows. And at some point, we will all face similar situations in which we must deal with adversity and hardships, and find ourselves impoverished by our losses. Yet somehow, a thing going wrong often acts as motivation for us to change and to work towards improving. And it is from that growth, and a strong faith in life, that we are able to hold onto the hope that things can and will get better someday.

Take a moment to reassure yourself of any doubts you are currently facing. Tell yourself, that this too, shall pass.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of things have you seen go right only after they have gone very wrong?

Why is it important to keep our eyes open for the silver linings in every cloud that comes into our lives?

Think of people you have known who have faced great adversity. What kinds of attitudes have the people had? Which people were able to make more positive strides after having had things go wrong?

For further thought:

“In the hour of adversity, be not without hope; for crystal rain falls from black clouds.” ~ Nizami Ganjavi

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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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