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You know how things happen that hurt, disappoint, or frustrate you? And then later you look back and see that something good came out of the bad stuff?
The sooner you can find that silver lining, that positive spin, the happier you’ll be.
Lately I’ve been thinking about some of the things I’ve been upset by – and the good stuff I ended up getting.
1. Having A Disagreement With A Friend
I’m one of those confrontation-avoiding people who loves everything to be harmonious, everyone to be happy.
But every now and then something bugs me enough that I need to express how I feel (usually after several glasses of wine – also known as ‘courage’).
And every now and then I’m on the receiving end of some else’s um, self-expression.
I hate the way it feels and the discomfort of being at odds with someone I care about.
But I’ve realized that the process of talking it out can bring you closer, help you know each better, deepen the relationship.
I certainly don’t advocate looking for things to fight about, but these days I’m grateful for the occasional friendship tunnel, because I really like what’s on the other side.
2. Having A Crappy Vacation
Last month my husband and I went away for a few days. We spent a lot of money (for us) in a beautiful place, to relax, apparently.
But we realized that although such holidays make many – maybe most – people feel great and help them unwind, they don’t have that effect on us. Although we enjoyed aspects of our getaway, mostly we just wanted to go home.
In retrospect, we should have spent the time and money having a staycation. Wandering around our beautiful city, buying and reading books, maybe getting a new TV (ours is 12 years old). After all, we spent our 10-year anniversary buying books (yes the entire day!) – it may not have been conventionally romantic, but it’s one of our most cherished memories.
But I don’t see the vacation as wasted. It taught me a lot about myself, about us. And although it was confusing to be having such a supposedly great experience while feeling impatient to get home, I’m grateful for the reminder to listen to the little voice inside, rather than the loud voices all around.
3. Getting Labelled An Introvert
In general I’m not a fan of labels, especially in psychology. Words like depression can take on an unhelpful power if used without care.
One label I was not happy to have slapped across my forehead? Introvert.
During a semester of psych testing in my psychology degree I underwent many of the standard tests, including personality tests. There were no real surprises (I score high on neuroticism – shocker!) except for the revelation that I’m extremely introverted.
But after getting over the social-outcast, Emily-The-Strange implications, suddenly so much made sense. I was neither a misanthrope nor a freak. I just didn’t like big groups, felt uncomfortable around strangers, and needed to re-energize on my own after time with people.
Getting a huge I on my personality report card allowed me to understand myself better, enjoy my friendships more (pretty much from that day I gave up any pretense at friendships that weren’t meaningful to me), and manage my social life more effectively.
All of which made me a better partner to my husband, who no longer got my social dregs after I was exhausted by everyone else.
It also gave me confidence to work for myself, from home. Which is one of the best decisions I’ve ever, ever made.
What Crappy Things Are You Grateful For?
How about you?
What disappointments or mistakes have brought you blessings?