Many situations are not really “good or bad,” in and of themselves – we make up those definitions, and they often have nothing to do with reality.
By removing the idea that something is bad or good, we open to the possibility that a) it’s okay (or even fabulous), b) we’ve just gotten some really great practice, or c) wonderful things will come out of it, i.e., blessings in disguise.
In 2008, I was fortunate enough to write Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings, which forever changed my life. I believe the Universe only served that up because I had overcome some serious struggles by way of discovering deep gratitude, and devoted a good part of my life to helping others do the same. Lying in a hospital bed with two legs in traction and not walking for a year at age nineteen led me straight to that book, my second book, and to this blog post. It also led me to the love of my life, but that’s another story.
So, what to do when something seems to go south? Don’t default to defining it as bad, south or stressful, overall. Instead, take a pause, step back, and ask, “What’s could possibly be good about this?” Maybe the burnt salmon means you go out to dinner. Consider that relationship struggles offer endless opportunities for self-knowledge, growth and deeper intimacy. In my world, overdoing a piece of art simply means I had terrific emotional release and a lesson in learning when to stop – or not.
In other words, things don’t really “go south” – they simply change course. After all, Florida can be pretty great if you like warm weather.