February 26
You learn more from ten
days of agony than from
ten years of content.

Sally Jessy Raphael


Today's Meditation:

Sometimes when things are going very poorly or when something awful is happening, it's important that we be able to find the silver lining in the clouds that threaten to overwhelm us.  One of the things that helped me through some of my darkest hours was constantly reminding myself that eventually, all of the things that were hurting me would make me a stronger person, and all that I learned from the bad times would make me more useful to other people in the world.

I knew from experience that the people who had gone through hard times were much more able to help me through my hard times.  I saw that people who had worked their ways through many obstacles tended to be more resilient, and they tended to give better advice and be able to be more compassionate with people who were having hard times themselves.

There are times when no words from friends can help us, when nothing that other people tell us makes us feel better.  There are times when we need to help ourselves get through difficulties, and knowing the truth behind Sally's statement, accepting it, and believing it can be an effective strategy for us.  It may not end the hardship, and it will not cure things like depression or take away something like grief, but it can give us a strong sense of perspective that may help us.

In the short term, this idea won't change much of our situation.  In the long run, though, changing our perspective can help us through the situation whether it changes or not.

Questions to consider:

If you're going through something difficult, do you value advice from someone who's been through the same thing over the advice of someone who's never experienced it?

What's the value of learning through adversity?

Just because we learn more from agony, does that mean we want to search out agonizing situations?

For further thought:

You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden,
but you will grow if you are sick, in pain, experience losses,
and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain
and learn to accept it, not as a curse or punishment,
but as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross


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