The Gift of Tragedy
I wish things could’ve turned out differently… If I knew then what I know now… Why did this happen to me?
Have I said this kind of stuff before? Guilty as charged. I suppose it’s perfectly normal to have moments of self-pity and over dramatization, however in my experience, these moments sometimes drift into extended periods and before I know it I could find myself in quite the funk.
Any of the statements in my first sentence are most probably following a terribly unfortunate circumstance. Whether it be one of life’s harsh realities like heartbreak, financial ruin or worst of all, sickness or death of a loved one, the severity of these situations touches each and every one of us as human beings and honestly, there’s no escaping them…
That’s about as dark as I want this piece to get.
What I’m getting at is the more world-shifting a situation, the greater the opportunity to shift our path in a positive way. The profound learning, wisdom and skills developed through hard times give us perspective we could’ve never gained otherwise.
My father passed away when I was 25, and I can confidently say it was the greatest gift he could’ve ever given me. Now hear me out, the tragedy of losing a parent you’re so close with is horrifying, however I had two options: to take it as the tragedy that would cripple me forever or use it as rocket fuel.
Focusing my energy on the negative, the sorrow and the loss would bring me nothing but more darkness. It would consume me and I’d become the sad son who lost his father. Would the negativity bring him back? Would the self-pity allow me to prosper? Would living in the past make him proud?
On the contrary I would much rather focus my energy on getting as much positivity from a negative situation as possible; living in the present is the only productive option in my eyes.
How could I make it positive?
Well, for starters I have wonderful memories; ones I could never forget. The world I currently live in and the person I’ve become is a constant reminder of him. The gravity of the situation has given me the perspective to not sweat the small stuff; my previous dramas were completely dwarfed after facing something so heavy. Learning true responsibility at a young age is priceless; something no textbook can prepare for.
I could go on forever but long story short, my father’s passing presented me with an opportunity to show my true colors. And that’s the positive I’ve taken from the experience.
But the point of me writing this is not to tell you about what I learned from my dad’s passing, it’s to demonstrate the possibility of digging the positive out of the negative, no matter how negative. Buried inside every world-altering situation is a lesson, a key that will help us on our journey. And it’s up to us to find the gift hidden within the disaster.
In my opinion focusing energy on negativity can only bring more of it, and exponentially so. The same logic applies to positivity; where would you rather focus?
I do have my moments, for sure, but for the most part I’ve turned the “negative into positive” mentality into a game I’ve incorporated as part of my day-to-day. I don’t mean to say I deal with tragedy every day, but more so practicing with the unfortunate events dealt with on a daily basis; it helps build up my “positivity digging” muscle.
No parking: an opportunity to get some extra steps in. It’s raining again: we’ll have a beautiful summer. My business went bust: if it failed then I probably didn’t give it my all, which means I probably didn’t love it, now I have the opportunity to try something new with a whole new perspective.
No matter how ridiculous the positive spin may be, it’s definitely more productive than the alternative.
It’s become second nature to me now and I don’t even realize I’m doing it anymore. Everything I’m faced with can bring me down if that’s the path I choose, but I rather kill it with kindness, and kindly ask for more!
The way I see it, if we don’t take away something positive from the tragedy we’re faced with, then it’s almost like we’ve paid a serious price for something, and forgotten to ever pick it up. In what seems to be a twisted reality in the game of life, the greatest gifts are wrapped in tragedy.
The gravity of these situations alters our worlds, and I believe embracing the new world is much more productive than wishing to go back to the old one.
But hey, that’s just me!