When something happens we automatically decide whether it is good or bad. However, what if it is really neither or maybe both. Maybe we need not be so quick to judge.
The following is a story a client shared with me.
“One morning after a terrible storm, a wise old man was taking his morning walk into town on his usual route past the corral of a neighboring rancher. On this particular morning he met the rancher, who was repairing the fence around his corral. The wise man asked what had happened, and the rancher explained that the storm had frightened one of his stallions. The horse bolted into the fence, destroying it and freeing all of his other horses. The rancher lamented this by saying what a very bad thing this was. The wise man answered by saying, “Bad, good – it is hard to say.” The wise man continued on his way, and the upset rancher had no idea what to make of this statement.
During the wise man’s next daily walk, he approached the rancher, who was beaming with happiness. When asked what made him happy, the rancher pointed to his corral, saying that his stallion had returned with all of his horses and several wild mares as well. The rancher concluded by saying this was a good thing indeed. The wise man answered again, “Good, bad it’s hard to tell.”
The next day, the wise man encountered another development, as he passed the rancher’s corral. The rancher was again quite distraught, and he explained that his son had tried to ride one of the wild mares and was thrown to the ground, breaking his leg. The rancher complained that this was very bad, a terrible thing that had happened. Once again, as you might have guessed, the wise man said, “Bad, good – it’s hard to tell.” Also, as you might have guessed, the rancher was starting to have his fill of the wise man’s craziness.
Well, on the next day, the wise man passed the rancher’s corral again. This time, the rancher was quite exuberant. The wise man asked how the rancher’s son was, and the rancher explained that the army had come through yesterday, forcing young men into their ranks under threat of execution. They had to pass the rancher’s son over, however, because of his broken leg. The rancher cheered that this was a very, very good thing for sure. The wise man responded, of course, by saying, “Good, bad – it’s hard to say.” And the rancher finally understood.
This story exemplifies a mindfulness skill known asequanimity, which is “The ability to approach both desirable and unwanted situations with the same state of mind.” It is taken from the book,“The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia” by Ellen Astrachan-Fletcher and Michael Maslar.
The book says equanimity is important to learn because when people pre-judge a situation as “awful” or “wonderful” they are more likely to have an extreme emotional reaction to it, which could impair their ability to approach the situation in a healthy way.”1
Instead of being so quick to label something as bad or good.I would like to propose a new thought, or mindset.What if ALL of our experiences have a purpose and are for our good?Each of us was given, not only gifts and talents, but weakness and hardships. Together they create lessons, which are really great opportunities to grow and become a better, more capable US! They also give us knowledge and power beyond what we could have if we were give an easy, perfect life.
We are told that God is no respecter of persons, meaning he doesn’t have favorites.He loves all of us equally.He has perfect knowledge.He knows us better than we know ourselves and He knows which characteristics we need to develop to become our best selves.It is the hardships often brought on by our weaknesses that provide us with the opportunities to overcome those weaknesses.They also provide the opportunity for us to strengthen our faith, determination, courage, humility and our ability to love, in addition to many other characteristics that help us achieve our ultimate goal, being more like Jesus Christ.
Karen T. Prier in her amazing book,Understanding the Divine, says, “Our greatest gifts are attached to our greatest struggles. Just as a butterfly cannot fly without the struggle required to emerge from its cocoon, we cannot achieve our greatest strides without the struggle that requires us to become or best selves. We are required to push past what we might feel is impossible in order for us to realize what is possible. We don’t get strong if it is easy.”
As I look back on my life, and the challenges that I have had up to this point, I can see how each one has made me the person I am today. I can see important lessons I learned and knowledge I gained.If I could go back and change it, and have to give up what I have learned, I wouldn’t. It is those very lessons and the truth that I learned that I draw on every day when I coach others. I could not do what I do today as a Transformational Coach without those learning opportunities!
NO BAD PARTS
of us, just