Turning Bad Experiences Into Something Positive

It has become a common trend in current times to want to eliminate negativity and only focus on the positive. I’m not saying positivity and good vibes are not the way to go. However, what we fail to understand is that negativity is part of the ebb and flow of life, hardships and difficulties are unavoidable. It is something we all need to “experience in order to have a full, rich life”.


Acknowledge That Life Doesn’t Generally Go As Planned

John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. This legendary quote reflects the paradox that happens in our lives. We all make meticulous plans to ensure that our lives are kept secure, peaceful, and happy. But in the end, as much as we plan, life is out of our control and simply happens to us.

While some may find it easier to roll with the punches, others may struggle through it because of the predetermined expectations they have set for the course of their lives. This is why one of the very first things we must come to terms with is the acknowledgment and acceptance that life as mapped out as it can be, still has room for unexpected change, flaws, and errors.

Failure Is Your Teacher

Failure is not bad. Failure enables us to learn and become better versions of ourselves. If we stop the buck at our low points we never truly rise. Sarah Blakely, the owner of Spanx shared with the business insider about how “her dad used to invite her and her brother to share their failures at the dinner table. Instead of being disappointed or upset at their failures, he would celebrate their efforts.” This helped Sarah reframe her definition of failure. Failure was no longer the outcome, but rather the lack of not trying. This understanding enabled her to take on her failures fiercely.

Like Sarah, I have learnt that in every situation there is a little lesson that can be learnt irrespective if the situation you are in is positive or negative. We have to be courageous enough to ask ourselves the question “What is life trying to teach me right now?” And once you have discovered what it is, you must choose to use it to your advantage as life is a constant lesson.

“What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” – Friedrich Nietzsche –

Use the negativity in your life as fuel to kick-start the much-needed change in our lives. I know I did. If you have lost your job and are struggling to find one, it’s alright to be angry and disappointed, but then allow the creativity to flow, maybe it is time to get that dream that you have shelved up and running. If you find yourself in the middle of a break-up sob fest, take the opportunity of singleness to love on you. Self-love is more important than waiting for someone else to love you. If your surroundings are filled with toxic people know that it’s ok to take a step back or even let them go. It’s not wrong to want to surround yourself with healthy relationships when it comes to friends and family.

Take Responsibility

We can play the blame game all we want and sometimes certain situations may warrant it, but at the end of the day in some way, we have to admit we all had a partial responsibility to the outcome of a negative experience. In saying that we also have the responsibility as to how we overcome these experiences. How we choose to respond is entirely up to us, that responsibility is ours and ours alone.

On a daily basis we face many positive and negative experiences, and sometimes life simply just happens to us as Lennon said. But in the end, we hold the power to choose what we do with these experiences. The responsibility is ours we must learn to accept the highs and lows, face the negativity, and use whatever life throws at us to our advantage. Life doesn’t end at a negative experience, it is simply the beginning of a positive on.

Psychology Today
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