I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It has been one tough year for me. Among the worst kind of hurt is betrayal by someone you love and adore, and I experienced that this year. Oh boy, was that a huge blow. I felt heartbreak throughout my entire being. In addition to being thrown off balance by this experience, I later discovered that I was a victim of identity theft. Another painful betrayal—this time by our financial system.
As you can imagine, I was hurt and angry. Life threw me not one, but two tough curve balls I had no idea were coming. But instead of shutting down and giving up, I decided to take another perspective. After all, pressure can bring about beautiful outcomes. For example, without intense pressure 100 miles below the earth’s mantle, there would be no diamonds. 🙂 That’s right, it takes that kind of environment for diamonds to grow!
Perhaps you think I’m taking a too optimistic philosophical approach. But what the diamond metaphor teaches us is that we actually need, yes need, bad along with good. Negative is just the flip side of positive with both sides comprising our whole existence.
Like Yin and Yang are merely two sides of the same Oneness entity, highs and lows of our existence are not only inevitable but are even desirable if we want to grow, to be a more fulfilled and realized person two or three or five years from now. Without Yin or without Yang, there is NO whole. While it is in the wholeness where the real essence and strength of our life experience lies.
In order to appreciate beauty, we need to know what ugly looks like. So you see, without experiencing the low, we would never feel the high: the deeper a trough, the higher the crest. While the polarities seemingly create conflict, their interaction makes our experience whole, which, in turn, stimulates us to grow to new heights and gives us a deeper understanding of all there is.
Imagine a musical composition that consists of one note played over and over again. Your mind would tune out, since you wouldn’t be stimulated because there is no contrast. The same goes for life. If life gave you just one emotional experience day in and day out, you would have neither benchmark nor appreciation for good and bad emotional experiences, keeping you from evolving into a complex beautiful being.
Honestly, some of the most uninteresting people I’ve met lead a sheltered existence without experiencing the highs and lows of life, living with that solo musical note. I’ve never met a fascinating person with an easy past. And I can guarantee it’s their hard times that shaped them into compassionate, grateful human beings they are now.
Okay, understanding the dichotomy and the wholeness is all well and good, but how do you deal with the lows; that’s the tough part. Here’s my suggestion, step by step.
EMBRACE your bad experience. The worst thing you can do is run from it or brush it under the rug. Look into it, examine it, analyze it – then take the opportunity to learn and grow from it, while leaving it behind.
GO INTO the emotion that the bad experience has created in you. Just saying, “Stay positive” is not only an overused cliche by now, but it won’t help you deal with it effectively. That’s akin to running away or brushing it under the rug. Delve deep into that very emotion, get a handle on it, and only then can you pull yourself out of it.
SEEK A SOLUTION to the problem life threw at you. Instead of wallowing in feeling sorry for yourself, which is oftentimes part of the process and okay for a short period of time, seek a course of healing action.
IMMERSE IN NATURE instead of seeking the supernatural and miraculous. If you seek a miracle, you are looking for a solution outside yourself to come down and remove your pain. And honestly, this never happens. Nature is very therapeutic. Whatever your zen is, whether it’s the ocean, woods, or desert, go there and immerse yourself in it.
And when you are low and need the strength to pick yourself up, let me remind you of one adorable proverb: “Just when the caterpillar thought it can’t go any longer, it became a butterfly and flew.”
Keep in mind, even your worst days will only last 24 hours. There’s always a new start tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.
So very truly yours,