Friday Musings: "Good" vs. Recognizing Value

I’m not the first to declare that mistakes and misfortune become positive experiences when we commit to learn from them. This idea has easily morphed into “finding the good” in every experience. While we can certainly classify any growth as “good,” naming certain circumstances as positive can get in the way of the true opportunity of progress that they present.

Learning from negative situations does not come from simply deciding that they experience was actually positive. Moving through and growing beyond hardships comes from first understanding the challenges for what they are. We might eventually deem any challenging time as a net positive, but this perspective comes only in hindsight. Deciding to call something “good” from the depths of negatives emotions is delusional and actually limits the scope of growth that will follow.

Rather than trying to find the good, search for the value. The growth that follows challenge comes not from a delusional transformation of a bad a situation into a good one. Growth comes from leaning into the pain. Let yourself say, “yeah, this really sucks right now. In this moment, there is nothing good.” Yet, from the depths of your negative emotions, search for the value.

Losing a parent is incredibly painful. Perhaps you can find solace knowing that their painful cancer will bring them no more pain. Perhaps their passing will cement in the lessons they taught you and fortify the example they led. Perhaps it brings an opportunity to connect deeper to your siblings.

We need not label a tragedy as good for it to bring immense value to our life. It need not even be a net positive. We can feel a sense of sadness and loss for the rest of our life, yet find value in the new strength to face a similar situation in the future.

Do not discount your pain. Leaning into it and seeing the situation for what it is, with all of the nuanced positive and negatives aspects, is how we truly grow on the other side.