Ripples #1082: The Gifts of Adversity
Feb 17, 2020
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
-Mary Oliver, shared by a friend in Montana
Cultivating an awareness of the gifts of adversity can help us to not only weather the difficult storms of our lives but also come out wiser and more compassionate than ever before.
-Carolyn Gregoire, shared by Pete in Sedona, AZ via Tricycle.org
I’ve recently connected with a few people who are going through some super duper tough stuff lately, and one of them shared the quote featured as today’s pebble. I marveled at this person’s ability to see glimmers of “something good will eventually grow out of this” while enduring waves (and waves and waves) of really unpleasant crappiness (massive understatement).
Seeing the potential upside of tough times does not require us to like them. And it is important to remember that we don’t have to be glad something happened in order to grow from it.*
I think it is important and healthy and useful to be able to say out loud, “I am greatly displeased by the unpleasant aspects of this current situation.” Or, you know, something more succinct, like “*#&@% this $#@+!”
Acknowledging the downsides of difficulty can make more room for seeing the upsides: “I didn’t choose this, nor did I want this…but since I’m stuck with it, I can choose to either simply go through it or find a way to grow through it.”
If you or someone you care about is currently struggling with either tiny or titanic adversity, I invite you spend whatever time you need grumbling about it and then see if there is room to identify potential gifts it has to offer.
May you keep going, keep growing, and keep glowing all the while.
The Ripples Guy
*P.S. I spoke these words out loud to my sweetie on Sunday morning while we were sitting at the bagel shop assembling this issue. And then I paused and said, “Wait a minute…that sounds really familiar…is that a meme?” We did a google search and the only place I could find the line being used was in a blog post from 2012…our very own Ripples #687. How the heck did I manage to quote myself verbatim from 8 years ago?