Finding the Upside of a Down
Please welcome Jon Hearty, our Guest Blogger today! Jon works for Livefyre, the company who provides our wonderful comments system. His thoughtful, intelligent and generous contribution to the conversation is always appreciated. We’re happy that he agreed to do an article for today about dealing with tough situations in life.
As if it were all by design, the happenings of the last few weeks have proved to be increasingly relevant to this post. As I prepared to discuss how I stay up during the down times, I was hit with a series of terrible moments.
First, my engine died while I was on the freeway – no big deal, just money, right? Then, my car was broken into and my backpack was stolen, which contained my laptop, a.k.a. a large part of my life. The laptops loss can not only be measured in dollars, but also be measured in lessons learned.
But that’s life. It follows the same laws as other systems in the universe, and one of those laws is inevitable volatility – the ebb and flow of energy. What goes up must come down, and mastering this universal law is undoubtedly a life-long effort.
See the upside – it is there if you look with the right eyes.
When asked how he felt about going to jail, the infamous “homeless hacker” Adrian Lamo responded, “I’m sure it would be educational. The beautiful thing about the universe is that nothing goes to waste.” If I could have thought of a better way to put it, I wouldn’t have quoted him.
Let nothing go to waste. Make your bad experiences useful.
If we listen to the negative voices in our heads – the one that wants pity, the one that desires sympathy – we will gain nothing from our experiences and therefore devolve. Using the bad experiences as much as the good ones is required to gain perspective and evolve in an always-changing environment.
Look outward to gain perspective.
It is easy to get caught up inside of our mind and forget about everything outside of it. Reaching out to people and to the universe will bring perspective by reminding you of everything else that is going on besides your personal issue.
So what did I do? How did I make sure to not let anything go to waste during these trying times?
1. Meditated. With the vortex of thoughts and emotions rushing through my mind and body, I was inclined to balance the increasing energy with stillness. I sat and just let everything rush through me. Interestingly enough, I was able to sit longer and stiller than any other time I meditated, and attribute this solely to the intensity of the events I had just experienced.
2. Discussed. The obvious inclination is to talk about what happened, but I instead focused on what was to be gained from what happened. I have an amazing group of friends and family, each with their own perspective, and by talking through it with them I was able to see the positives from several different angles.
You can’t control what life throws at you, but you can control how you react to it. What are some ways you have dealt with a tough situation?
photo credit Linda Geng