I often say if there’s two things in life that we can’t evade aside from death and taxes, it’s stress and pain. Suffering is a part of life, but the mindset we layer over it makes all the difference.
I have so many examples in my life, and you may as well, where a difficult time was upon me and that very time was the seed which brought on the growth of the next moment.
The reality is, we never truly know whether an experience in life is good or bad because we don’t know what’s going to happen next.
In Uncovering Happiness I write about how the deepest, darkest moment of my life was exactly what inevitably opened my mind to seeking out support that led me to where I am today. It was this very experience, and many more like it, that led me to seek out mindfulness, whichinevitably led to me being interested in key happiness components such as compassion and altruism.
I felt like I had been buried in that moment, but really, I had just been planted and now aware of the blooming.
To go even deeper, while we can learn to savor the blooming (a key skill for happiness), it is impermanent. The bloom will come and go and our work is to learn how to be grateful for the time where our lives are in bloom and be graceful during the more difficult times understanding these times are an opportunity for more seeds of mindfulness, self-compassion and grace to be planted.
There isn’t a limit to your ability to plant seeds and water them during good times and bad. The only limit is in our minds and as Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
Thoughts aren’t facts, even the ones that say they are, so don’t let anyone tell you (including your mind) that you can’t learn to ride the waves of life with ease and grace.
Just remember in those difficult moments, you think you’re buried, but perhaps you’ve just been planted. Apply self-compassion, be patient, and savor the beauty of the inevitable bloom.
Elisha Goldstein, PhD
Adapted from Mindfulness and Psychotherapy