When something unforeseen and terrible happens, you book an express ticket to Gloomsville and are usually not ready to check out until after a couple of days. While letting yourself sort through your feelings and disappointments is absolutely necessary, there's still a way to find the silver lining in bad situations. It might seem impossible when you're still reeling from being kicked in the teeth by life, but by holding on to the knowledge that there's some positivity in the situation as you sort through your disappointments, you're able to climb back onto your feet much easier. Why? Because you know that you're in control of the situation, and a positive attitude will only encourage you to get things back on track faster rather than letting life win this round.
So how do you find positivity when negativity strikes? The trick is to look past the situation, and to acknowledge how it can still bring forth some rewards and opportunities. Often times we might feel stubborn in our emotions and not want to look for the good (because we're hurting — how can that be good?!) and instead hold onto the adversity. But there is opportunity, and I'll show you how to find it. Below are seven ways to find positivity in negativity.
1. See It As A Chance To Reevaluate
When something scary happens like losing your job, falling into a tight spot with your bank account, or parting ways with a significant other, it can seem like nothing positive at all can come out of it. But you're missing one crucial thing — this is your chance to re-evaluate a couple of things.
Juliana Breines, Ph.D from Psychology Today wrote, "Sometimes a crisis can jolt you into re-evaluating your life in a major way. It can force you to ask yourself if you’re really doing what makes you happy and spending your time how you want to, or with the people you want to spend it with." This can be your shot to change career tracks, to focus on personal growth rather than tending to another's needs, or to practice breaking away from materialistic tendencies. Here's a real chance to restructure your life and get it back onto a track that you can be proud of, so take it.
2. Remember That It Will Make You More Compassionate
Talk about walking in someone else's shoes, huh? Whereas before you might have thought that someone losing their job was totally on them and their couch potato ways, now you know that all sorts of bad things happen to people who in no way "deserve" them. While it sucks experiencing something that shakes your stability, the silver lining is that it helps you grow into a more compassionate person because you've now experienced it, too. You'll be less likely to bend to knee-jerk judgements, which is important and you should feel glad for the opportunity.
Breines explained that now "you’re more likely to recognize that everyone is vulnerable, and that bad things happen to good people all the time. Someone else’s suffering no longer represents a threat, but rather can be a source of connection and kinship." If no good can come from your situation, at least know that you're growing emotionally.
3. Think Of Why You Should Be Grateful
Let's use this example: Did you break up with an SO? You probably parted ways for a reason, so think of what that new free time and independence can bring you. Did you lose a job? Maybe now you can use this time to chase after a career that would make you excited to go into work every morning. Did you get a really big bill in the mail? At least now you know the importance of having a nest egg for moments just like these.
Rather than letting the bad situation tear you down, look for the spots you should be grateful for. Gregory L. Jantz, PhD at Psychology Today offered, "One of the quickest ways to shift your focus away from negativity, judgment, and disappointment is to list the things in your life for which you are grateful." So take a beat and search for the good that's coming out of it.
4. Create A Game Plan
Alright, what happened to you sucked, but now it's time to start moving in order to turn it all around. Things will change, they always do. So here's your chance to take control and bring the positivity back into your life — and the way to do that is to draft goals.
As entrepreneur write Melyssa Griffin at self development site Nectar Collective advised, "Having goals to work towards can make us more positive. When we feel stagnant and unconfident, it’s a lot easier to see the bad parts of life. Start small, and remind yourself of all the great things you can accomplish." See the silver lining in your situation by having the knowledge that your goals haven't been snatched away from you. Start rebuilding them and you'll see your circumstance turned around.
5. Teach Yourself To Use Different Words
There's no way you'll be able to see the silver lining in a bad situation if the conversation you let loose in your head is all about negativity. If you find yourself constantly reaching for the words that best describe how sucky everything is, it's time to retrain your brain. Teach yourself to use positive language and to search for the opportunities instead of the pity parties.
Lifestyle writer Emma Watson from Lifehack wrote, "Are you a person who continually beats yourself up mentally? Do you constantly question your actions? Believe me, I’ve been there. Nobody needs to call me stupid, because I can do that just fine myself! Retrain your brain to stop doing that to yourself." Take on a forgiving, we-can-do-this voice instead and you'll feel the dark cloud over your head dissipating.
6. See The Bad Situation As A Critique
Did you get into a fight with your SO and are now on a break? Or maybe you're on thin ice at work, or are pretty sure you're not going to make rent. Take this as an opportunity to use this tough time as a critique. There's a reason you're in this pickle, and because of it you're now aware of certain flaws you can work on or at least polish up. It's a blessing in disguise.
Lifestyle writer Donald Latumahina from self development site Life Optimizer suggested, "Look at the content of what people say to you for something positive that you can act upon to improve yourself. Don’t just reject the whole messages." Even if you didn't deserve what happened to you, there's something you can do in the future to help you deflect that same blunder from sneaking up on you again. Take it as an opportunity to take notes and strengthen up.
7. Remember: You Have The Power To Change Your Situation
While you may be unhappy now, keep in the forefront of your mind that you have the power to change your situation, and at any time. It may be hard, it might take some uncomfortable soul searching and long hours burning the midnight oil, but just know you don't have to be stagnant in this bad feeling.
Lifestyle writer Michelle Uy at Tiny Buddha pointed out, "I will always have the choice to make change happen, if need be." Rather than letting the bad moment ride out, take control and force it towards more calm waters.
You have the power to find the silver lining in every situation — and that go-getter attitude will help you rise above your set backs.
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