Thankful for the Clouds and Seeking the Silver Linings

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As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, more often than not, people focus on giving thanks for the “good” things that are in our lives—family, friends, health and their personal success—the “sunshine” that causes us to smile. But rarely do we ever focus on giving thanks for the “clouds”—those things that didn’t work out for the best—divorce, lost loved ones, broken relationships or anything else that we may call failure.

If we really stop and think about it, it’s actually those times when we’ve been hurt, disappointed or challenged that have brought us the greatest growth.

Every cloud has a silver lining. Every situation that you felt was horrible while you were living through it actually brought you something good. Getting a divorce was gut-wrenching, but you found yourself and discovered strength that you didn’t know you had. Going through a health issue was terrifying, but it gave you a new appreciation for life. It taught you how to be vulnerable and how to grow closer to your loved ones. Being downsized and losing your job was humiliating, but it forced you to acknowledge the skills and abilities that you didn’t know you had. That layoff is what set things in motion for you to travel down a new career path.

So often, we look at things as they are in the moment. We only focus on how experiences make us feel. Instead, we need to shift our perspectives. Look at situations—not in terms of what we don’t like about them—but in how they can help us become better. Every situation presents an opportunity for change, but it takes a different perspective to be able to use all change for growth.

Seeing the clouds and feeling the rain is a part of our journey. But, searching for the silver lining in each cloud, and understanding that the rain is necessary for us to water the seeds of growth, requires a different type of maturity. Not maturity in age—but mental, emotional and spiritual maturity—that enables you to see past what is in front of you. Determine what lessons you should learn and what opportunities you will gain through this.

After all, it’s not our eyes that see—it’s our mind. The eyes only let in the light. It’s our mind that creates the vision and the picture that shapes our perspective. It’s our mind that determines the way that we respond to the things that happen around us. It’s what determines how we allow circumstances to impact us.