Everything, both good and bad, that has happened to you or that is happening to you has a purpose. The difficulty most of us have with negative experiences is that we cannot see their purpose through our immediate pain and suffering. In the moment, when we’re going through something that seems to be the worst experience of our lives, we can be caught up in all kinds of negativity, thinking things like “why is this happening to me?”, “what did I do to deserve this?”, and in some desperate cases, “my life is ruined”, or worse….
The questions do have answers, and the statements are simply wrong.
It took me decades to realize how profoundly my life has been impacted in a positive way by negative experiences. It has taken effort, self introspection, forgiveness – to both others and to myself.
Without my own negative experiences, I would not have the same perspectives to share with others to help them through their trying times as well.
One of the hardest things to see when in the midst of a stormy period of life is the positive effect that the hardship will have on your life or the lives of others. If you think about it, there are instances of positives in negatives all around. The creation of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), which has saved countless lives, would never have manifested if it were not for the founder’s own tragedy. Countless masterpieces of art, writing, and music have been birthed of the pain and suffering of the artists themselves. Scientific discoveries and research have been borne of loss of loved ones to disease. On a more personal level, both positive and negative experiences have made you into the individual you are today, have given you the strength and wherewithal to deal with other less trying circumstances with ease… to help yourself, your loved ones, and others…
Recognizing and seeing more examples of how POSITIVE negative experiences have effected both myself and others helps tremendously when dealing with both day-to-day stressors, as well as accepting and working through more difficult times that have yet to come.
Life is not perfect – it is not meant to be. It is messy, dirty, and all of that is ok and beautiful at the same time.
The key to all of this is your perspective… The above image is a perfect example. If you’re constantly looking for a vase, you’ll always see a vase, but as soon as you look for the two faces, it’s hard to see the vase alone. You might oscillate between the two, but you can always CHOOSE to see the faces once you’re aware of what to look for.
In the beginning, changing your perspective is difficult – particularly when there is an emotional response attached. But over time, you will be able to see how numerous good things in your life would never have manifested had you not gone through certain negative experiences. When this happens, you might even feel thankful for the negative experiences LEADING you to the positive outcomes.
The more you look for the positives in the negatives, the more you will see. A goal of this shift in perspective is to help you deal with the rough times when you’re still in the fog and clouds with no end in sight… so that you can trust that at some point you will understand the purpose, that you simply know that at some point, something good will come of it because the positives are forever bound to the negatives and vice versa.
An ultimate realization is that life experiences are neither inherently good or bad in and of themselves, they are simply what comprise LIFE – something we experience with both joy and pain.
On a final note, we are not alone in this world. Although we often think only of ourselves, life is not always about you, or me…Some of us will have to look further to see the positive in the negative – outside of our own personal experiences. I choose to think of those people which have to look outside their own experiences to balance the good with the bad as having a higher calling… a purpose in life that is meant to take on a burden that others could not, or to impart a larger, much greater positive effect on others than the negative effect they themselves have endured.