When I was 22 years old, my brother died of a drug and alcohol overdose. Just four years later, my mother died from a massive heart attack. I was indescribably heartbroken, angry, confused, and disconnected from everything and everyone. And I believed, for a significant time, that I would never recover from those crushing blows that completely shattered my world and my sense of security. But now, with the gift of hindsight, I can see that those experiences were two of the greatest turning points in my life.
If you’re in the middle of a crisis or feel a deep sense of discontent or disappointment with the season of life that you’re in, you can take solace in the fact that something good is very likely on its way to you. Here’s why.
- Contrast is useful.
A breakup. A fallout with a friend or co-worker. Getting fired. What do these things show us? What we truly want. A bad relationship sparks our desire for a healthy, loving, constructive one. An argument or confrontation with a friend or colleague allows us to value peace, understanding, and empathy in our day-to-day lives. Losing a job gives us an opportunity to consider what will make us happy in the next phase of our career. Contrast inspires new ideas, renewed motivation, and fresh exploration of our goals and desires.
- Crisis forces us to evolve.
Often, the universe will do for us what we won’t do for ourselves. An unexpected illness will halt our workaholic tendencies. We’ll get laid off from a job that’s been chipping away at our soul for years. An argument with a roommate might fuel our confidence to live alone or even move to a new city. A crisis is often the foundational stepping stone for getting us to the next level in our lives.
In crisis, we’re forced to pause. To reflect. To make a choice. Painful as it is, the story always ends with a wiser and fuller version of you. Nobody shrinks to new heights. We expand through struggle, because nothing good happens within our comfort zone.
- You build resilience.
Nobody welcomes suffering. I’m certainly not lining up to greet my next traumatic life experience. But nobody goes through life without experiencing hard moments. And allowing that suffering to develop our inner strength and compassion is entirely up to us.
As Sheryl Sandberg says in her bestselling book Option B, “You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process, you will figure out who you really are—and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”
There’s nothing like a crisis to make us evaluate our lives. Spiritually speaking, suffering is our greatest teacher. In your toughest moments of pain and hopelessness, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”, “What is this revealing to me?”, and, “How can I see this situation differently?”
The fortune within your misfortune may appear sooner than you think.