Finding silver linings!
`Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining’ is a metaphor commonly used, describing optimism for something that on face value appears negative. However, how easy is it to find the silver lining or to encourage someone to find it for themselves?
The flow of water!
It was the last day of January. I had gone to bed thinking how great the month of January had been for me and my partner. Normally, I would wish the month away as a depressing month with no money, but this year I had changed my mindset and chosen to embrace the many positives of January. This was easier than I thought, partly because our wonderful nephew Gabriel was staying with us from Brazil. We did so much with our time, which in itself reminded us of what our wonderful city of London has to offer, without spending large sums of money. From now on, January can bring it on. I choose to love it and have found my silver linings.
Back to the story
Anyway, back to the story! It was 0300 and my partner came rushing into our bedroom, desperately trying to wake me up from my slumber, frantic in the need for my help. Through my sleep induced disorientation, I slowly began to understand that a pipe had burst in our bathroom and cold water was gushing all over the floor. This realisation really sunk in when my bare feet stepped into water. The whole bathroom floor was submerged and now spilling into our hallway and two bedrooms. Neither carpet nor laminate floor like water. Ironically, the bathroom floor is tiled so no issue in the bathroom but a very clean floor after the tidy up.
So, after what seemed like an eternity the water was still flowing and we were unable to find a way to shut if off at the source. The only option was to access the mains tap, which is behind a panel outside our front door. Unfortunately, the panel was fixed on with six screws. Out came the tool box and eventually we were able to remove the panel, switch off the water and start the clear up process.
As we cleaned up, my mind was racing. I told my partner that I had had enough. This is the third time that we have had water damage and I was beginning to feel a little jinxed about it. I told him that we should sell up and find somewhere else to live. He quietly listened, letting me rant and blow off steam. We went to bed and he calmed me down as I eventually drifted off to sleep. The sleep didn’t last long as I had much to do, including calling work to say I would not be in that day.
Having called work, I then called my insurance company to arrange for a plumber to come and fix the pipe. The company concerned called to say that they would be with us the next morning. I began to feel that everything was going against us and worse still I could do nothing to control it. In fact anxiety started to creep through my veins and in an attempt to distract myself, I turned to Facebook for something to cheer me up.
As I scrolled though my wall a few things brought a smile to my face. Then I saw a post stating that Sir Terry Wogan had passed away. My self-pity instantly evaporated as I realised the triviality of the previous night’s events in comparison to losing a loved one. It was like my tap of negativity had been turned off. So we had a burst pipe during the night. At least we were alive and in good health. The water was switched off, preventing any further damage, the plumber was booked for the next day, we had insurance and my employer had been supportive and granted me a special leave day.
That was just the beginning of my rationalisation. My partner woke up and we started discussing what had happened and actively sought the positives from the situation. We even laughed at my disorientation, quite clear in the video my partner had shot as evidence for the insurance claim. We quickly realised that the situation could have been so much worse. What if we were not home that night? Our neighbours were away overnight so how long would the water have poured before someone noticed?
We decided that we would go to the gym in the evening so that we could use the shower facilities, solving the problem of me being able to go to work the next day in a presentable state. We had not used our membership for months and were constantly declaring our intention to go back. Silver lining, tick! Our bedroom is in need of some maintenance and decoration including replacing the flooring. We had been putting this off for months. Now we had to do it. Silver lining, tick! I needed an idea for my Facebook Page, Happy Life People the next day and now I had one. Silver lining, tick! I also needed a topic to discuss in this blog, with a deadline looming. Silver lining, tick!
Finding the silver lining
In our situation it was actually very easy to find the silver lining by using rationalisation and common sense. The lack of severity in the situation made this process relatively easy but what about more serious situations such as poor health. What tools are there to help you find the positive? Firstly, there has to be the element of choice. The desire to find positivity must be there. You may have to delve deeply to find something good in what you are experiencing, but there will always be something and there will always be someone else in the world who is either worse off than you are, or at least going through something similar. Stuff happens to all of us, we call it Life!
Gratitude is an essential part of life. We should be practising gratitude every day. Focussing on what we have allows us to face and understand the hurdles and obstacles that life sends our way. Living in the here and now, even when faced with loss or terminal illness, allows us to make every second count. Time that we cannot bring back. Sometimes the silver lining is that by experiencing something that ultimately doesn’t help you, does help others. When Jade Goody was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer, awareness was raised and younger women started to request screenings. I have no doubt that lives were saved by her death.
We can also arm ourselves by looking after ourselves, both mentally and physically. Connecting with nature and putting technology aside. Going back to basics and appreciating small moments. All these things encourage us to be positive by default. When we are then faced with a challenge in life, we are better prepared to face it and find that Silver Lining, tick!
About the author: Stuart Dickson’s passion for personal development began in September 2013, when he joined a Network Marketing Company. Part of his development is increasing his spirituality and the many ways of doing this. His first blog, Happy Monday People was born from a project that came about from his personal development journey facebook.com/Happylifepeople
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’