Most of my life I was pretty miserable. There are a lot of reasons why that was so. And it took me a long time, a lot of learning, and a lot of effort to turn that around.
But you know what? The secret is amazingly simple. The way to make Bad Things into Good Things is this: you choose to.
“What the crap?!” you yell. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!”
But hear me out as to why that works.
Good and bad are not physical qualities of things. They are perceptions. Opinions. Assigned values. They are not like colors, or density, or weight, or chemical makeup. And the designation of an event or thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depends entirely upon how we apply our previous understanding and opinion upon the event or thing. For instance, you are walking down the street and someone waves to you and says “hi.” If the greeting is from a long lost friend, or a crush whom you’ve wanted to get to notice you, or a celebrity whom you admire, then you may perceive that as a good thing. If the greeting is from an ex you hate, or someone you have been trying to avoid, you may perceive it as bad. Even if it is someone from the first category, you may still perceive it as bad, for instance, if you are self-conscious about your hair today, or your crush is holding hands with someone else.
So, let’s look at making Bad Things Good, now.
There are a few things that are inevitable in life. Death. Injury. Illness. Pain. Having plans, ideals, or expectations in life. Not being able to experience or achieve all of those plans, ideals, or expectations.
Note that I said these things are inevitable. Not only this, they are universal. EVERYONE experiences these things. Everyone. In varying amounts, yes. But we all have them.
Most people will say that death is Bad. As in, cannot have any value to add to our personal lives (though some often throw hate and wishes for death or injury about haphazardly at those whom they feel have wronged them). Injury, illness, pain, all the same. Horrible, terrible, useless, irredeemable things.
Yet some people have experienced a LOT of these things. And they are still happy. How is that possible?
Simple: they made these bad things good.
I’m not saying they decided that someone’s death was a good thing, or they are so happy they were hurt. I’m saying that they have the skill (which comes more naturally to some than others, same as every other skill) to find the good either in the event/thing itself, or in the lesson they can learn from it.
There is ALWAYS good to be gathered. ALWAYS.
It helps me a lot to know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and a Savior who can turn every experience to my benefit. But I have to choose to believe in them and that they will do these things. And I have to choose to let those ideas affect my attitude, behavior, and choices with everything that comes up in life.
It it easy? No. Especially since it is not a talent I was born with. However, I learned. I practiced. I made choices with the events that happened to me. Am I going to let this break me? No, I am not.
I may never be the Itzhak Perlman of happiness. But I don’t need to be. I have learned to be better at choosing to find the good. And this has already moved my life from the ‘miserable’ category to the ‘happy’ category.
It’s a glorious thing.