Life is hard. But silver linings are everywhere I look.
When I crashed the car; and the rental was a mustang convertible—just happened.
When I lost a job; and the next gig proved to be so much better—two years ago.
When heartache gives me something to write about—the story of my life.
I do know that many people experience unimaginable loss and never recover. But I’m a believer that every difficulty or setback also brings the potential for beneficent outcome.
Take my new friend M.
Six years ago, a massive flood washed away his home and everything in it. Friends and strangers donated kitchen items and some pretty spiffy clothing that fits him well. With wood he salvaged from the rushing St. Vrain River, he built himself a bed.
Now, every time he wakes up, or fries an egg, or gets dressed to go out, he feels grateful. He remembers that people are good. And that he is strong.
Rebuilding is hard. Maybe that’s why it’s so important to believe in silver linings.
Whether our ability to rebound is due to luck, or good karma, or our own wherewithal—most likely it’s a combination of all three—here are a few reasons to appreciate the times that test our mettle.
We regain control. Chances are, we won’t get to decide how or when the rug gets ripped out from under us. The ground is always shifting, so it’s awesome to be reminded that we get to choose where to next plant our feet.
We remember compassion. When hardship strikes our neighbor, we can relate. We are more likely to be supportive, and to give something of ourselves, when we’ve been in similar shoes. We’ll even be kinder to strangers.
We experience gratitude. Some say the well of generosity runs deep. But until strangers surprise us with their goodness, we may be skeptical. After they surprise us, we can’t help but be thankful.
Our overall health improves. Gratitude floods our brains with dopamine. And because that feels so good, we are motivated to feel it again. This makes us more inclined to be thankful, and to do good for others.
One of my favorite rebound movies of all times is Silver Linings Playbook.
Remember Pat, the character played by Bradley Cooper? He’s rebuilding his life after losing his house, his job, and his wife.
I think he said it best:
The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. That's guaranteed. I can't begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else. But guess what? Sunday's my favorite day again. I think of what everyone did for me, and I feel like a very lucky guy.
Happy Sunday, everybody. Or whatever day it is in your neck of the woods.