Forget the times of your distress, but never forget what they taught you.
~ Herbert Gasser, Physiologist
I know from personal experience that it can be hard to forget the times of distress. Yet, it is important to not let the distress hang around for long periods. I whole-heartedly believe that difficult experiences are here to enrich our lives, to help us grow, to lead us into becoming our best self. Allow yourself to see all hardships as a means to learning. It is through these life challenges that we are able see things differently and to explore the small and gargantuan miracles and magic that this life holds.
The unfolding of who you are is happening in this very moment. It can be quite a practice to seek the gifts amid the struggles but I encourage you to open your eyes, heart and mind to them. The gems in every experience we go through are eagerly waiting to be found.
Here are a few tips to help you in this process:
Note – seeing the positive and highlighting the learnings is, in no way, meant to suggest that you deny the difficult times or ignore their impact. These suggestions will help to re-frame the challenges and entice your brain to have a different focus. As we focus on the negative, the negative perspective is enhanced. As we focus our attention on the positive, the positive is enhanced. Energy flows where attention goes.
Focusing on what you’re grateful for helps to shift your mind’s attention to the positive which will bring all the more to be grateful for.
Start a gratitude journal – every day write down at least 5 (or more!) things that you are grateful for. Get creative! For each entry, think of at least one new thing you appreciate. If you get stuck, feel your appreciation for the sun in the sky, for the bed you’re resting in, for the yummy lunch you had…
Send a thank you email or card to someone who made a difference in your day, in your life
Contemplate what you are learning/have learned from this challenge that you are in or have been through. Notice the positive ways that this event or experience has changed you and/or enhanced who you are. (This is even more powerful to write down which allows your body and your brain to more fully absorb the learnings.)
Consult a Life Coach, Counselor, Support Group, Therapist or very supportive loved one to brainstorm what the learnings may be that might be harder for you to see on your own