This post was most recently updated on October 24th, 2023
Some would say the happiest people on earth are those who live in the present and move on quickly. You might disagree and say these two actions are quite the opposite. You would think that it’s difficult, and even impossible, to do both simultaneously. Living in the present means acknowledging where you are and what state of mind you’re in currently. It means being intentional with your time and actions which would lean towards taking things slow.
On the other hand, moving on quickly entails being in a hurry or going faster from an event or a feeling, which would mean not fully grasping the situation at hand. Sometimes, it would mean skipping one or two steps to get ahead of the process. Now, you say, to live in the present and to move on quickly are mutually exclusive. But when you come to learn when these actions can be done simultaneously at the right time, you would change your mind.
Life, as we all know, is a paradox. It exists and revolves around the duality of human motive and circumstance. In life, there is death. In safety, there is danger. In joy, there is sadness. And so on. As humans, we can learn to take things slowly during happy moments while moving on quickly from paralyzing, melancholic periods in our life. We can bend and modify our ways of thinking depending on the event. This goes to say, that with discipline and self-awareness, we can master the art of seeing the good in bad by seeing the common ground in both.
How does your outlook impact the quality of your life?
Now and then, as we try to achieve arbitrary successes and superficial labels in life, bad days seem to triumph over the good ones. The reasons to give up tend to outnumber the reasons to keep going. These bad days come often, usually on times when we least expect them, and can heavily affect our mindset and attitude.
When you wake up in the morning already mad at the world, you’re filling your mind with this expectation, that although makes you angry, that you want to satisfy. As a result, your behavior will string from that absurd goal of proving your emotion right. You will get into fights or submit yourself to things that make you angry.
Negative thoughts mean negative disposition and behavior, and thus, ruined relationships. If all you choose to see is bad in every situation, it’s going to be hard for you to see the good in a good situation because you’ve trained your brain to only look at what’s missing or what’s wrong.
Equipping yourselves with the knowledge to shield our minds from negativity, criticism, and self-loathing is essential. If your outlook in life is filled with resentment and anger, you will be stuck and drawn in a downward spiral for the rest of your life.
“Life is always going to contain a little darkness, but we get to decide whether or not we recognize and appreciate the light.” – Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha
Why is it important to see the good in the bad?
Mastering the skill to see the good in the bad is the key to a good life. When you finally accept the harsh reality that everything happens for a reason, you learn that life still goes on with or without your interference. Life will still find ways to put your plans on the drain even if you do everything you can to avoid it. Once you realize that there’s only so much you can control, you become wiser in how you view life and how you respond to inevitable situations.
Applying these skills of resilience and flexibility paves the way to bigger opportunities and higher chances of experiencing happiness. The sooner you see the beauty in adversity, the quicker you come up with a plan of action that will get you to a better place. Moreover, you can be an instrument to those who are still trying to cope with their problems. You can use each situation as an opportunity to share your experience and teach them what you did to overcome your trials.
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Ask Yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”
Asking yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen in adverse situations helps you to be grateful for the problems you have now. It’s such a powerful question that urges you to think quickly on your feet. When you’re at a scary point in your life, it’s easy to get swayed by emotion. But making it a habit to ask this examines yourself with your priorities, goals, and fears. It makes you think deeply about your decisions and their consequences. As the problem gets bigger, that’s when you know it holds more meaning to you, and, thus, is more important.
In addition, asking yourself this question makes you feel better that you’re not dealing with even worse problems, and just acknowledging that you’re in a less harmful place is an act of seeing the good in the bad. If you think you’re expiring the worst-case scenario, then create an even worse, almost impossible scenario that will make you think otherwise.
Your mind is good at imagining things, why not do it again for the sake of finding reasons to be grateful? Even in death, you can find something beautiful in it. It can be no more hospital bills and financial setbacks, a lesser burden on the caretakers, or knowing the person’s suffering ends, as well as yours too. Unless you genuinely wish ill for others, letting yourself think good things about death doesn’t make you selfish or ungrateful.
Find Humor In It
Although this is not suitable for every adverse situation, humor has always been one of the effective ways to good health and happiness. Sometimes, to see the good in the bad is to remind yourself not to take your problems too seriously. When you realize how big of a universe we exist in, you come to think your problems are just the size of a grain of sand. There’s nothing given to you that you can’t handle. Make a joke out of your lapses.
Cite embarrassing experiences and share experiences with your friends. Enjoy the fact that you’re human, and a part of what makes you special is your vulnerability. You are born to make mistakes and learn from them. The trials in your life are important in creating a stronger and wiser version of yourself, so celebrate it with good old-fashioned humor.
Never Lose Sight Of The Bigger Picture
Remember that the situation you’re dealing with right now is only a part of a much bigger story. The challenges you’re facing are only a few of many and the successes you will achieve are unlimited. Your life is a book you get to write and decide how you want the story to end. When you hit rock bottom, keep in mind that this is only a page of that book. The sooner you extract the lesson behind the problem and move forward to the next page, the quicker you are to transformation.
One way to apply this concept is to create a system or a habit that tracks your progress. Make it a habit to execute your plans and not end the day without doing something you love. It can be through documenting your everyday life or writing down the highlights and low points in your journal/diary. You can also track your growth by making it a goal to change someone’s life for the better every single day.
You can take note of your achievements by how people talk about you to others. Then, you will have to realize how much a single gesture of kindness can impact other people. By the end of the year, you will look back and remember what you’ve been through to get to the point where you are now.
Let Things Happen
When things get out of hand, you need to learn to let go. There’s no point in ruminating about what you could’ve done and dwelling on the possibilities to make yourself feel better because that is not what happened. Wishing you could’ve done something differently in the past will not change the past but will change your future. There is a difference between accepting the disadvantages of being in control and letting go of what’s beyond your control.
Sometimes, when you’re used to living your life the way you exactly want it to be, you put yourself under too much pressure and blame when things are in disarray. Some people don’t take responsibility for their actions because they’re too scared to bruise their ego. When the event you’re looking forward to gets canceled, accept it. When you lose in a contest, congratulate the winner. Everything ends and passes eventually, so don’t be scared of the pain.
Train Yourself To Survive In Discomfort
A great way to master the art of seeing the good in the bad is to submit yourself to discomfort. Make every day a challenge to learn to be okay with change. Instead of taking your car on the way to work, try commuting. Instead of eating food that you want, try eating something new. Instead of studying in a library, try studying in noisy places. This way, you’re somewhat building immunity against inevitable incidents that take away your comfort.
Someday, your car will break down. One day, the food you want to order from your favorite restaurant will not be available. Maybe tomorrow, you will be given a pop quiz by your professor and the only place you can study in is your living room where your nieces and nephews are playing. Training yourself not only to get used to but also to thrive in discomfort is the secret to mastering this skill. With discipline and intention, you would be one step quicker than the rest because you see adversity as not a setback but an advantage.
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No matter how bad a situation is, there are always a thousand ways to see it. It’s a matter of improving your self-control. Choose to take the angle where you understand the reality of feeling happy and free. As long as you have a healthy outlook in life, you know that there’s always a good thing to look back on and another good thing to look forward to.
Remember that you will get through anything as long as you keep going. It all boils down to making a choice: constantly worrying about what you can’t change or take action with what you can. If you keep envisioning your best self and showing up to be her, you start believing in what you’re capable of. When you believe you deserve nothing but the best, that’s when miracles start.
About the Author:
Monique is a student blogger in her twenties behind the Life Begins At Twenty from Cebu, Philippines. The undergraduate is taking BA COMM in her 3rd year at the University of San Jose – Recoletos. In her lifestyle and wellness blog, you can find sisterly advice about how to navigate your twenties. If you want a constant drive for motivation, relationship guidance, and adulting pep talks, Life Begins At Twenty is the best place for you to develop the right attitude and mindset. Check her out on Twitter or Instagram.