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The Good Side of Bad

November 11, 2010

We’ve all witnessed bad things happening to good people. Unfortunately. Our moms get cancer. Our friends leave us. Our spouses lose their jobs. Our children have their hearts broken. Our grandparents don’t live forever. When these things happen, it’s easy to become frustrated and feel defeated. To ask why? To become depressed seeing the bad happen to the people that we know deserve only the best. It’s tough to think that no matter how hard you try or how much good you do, in the end, bad things can still happen. It’s scary because it implies that we can’t always control the outcome of our situations. I don’t think this is the case all of the time, because many times we do reap what we sow. But still it’s often enough to be noticeable and cause us anxiety knowing that we’re not in complete control.

So, often times I find myself (as a perennial optimist) thinking… “What good is there in the bad?” I feel there must be something good within even the worst things in life. If not, then bad things are no longer useful to me. Getting rid of the bad things happening to you is impossible. So, it’s what you make of the bad that truly defines your life. If you choose to focus on how bad can actually improve your life, you have the opportunity to move forward and progress with your life despite any situation. But if you choose to focus on the negative, only on the pain, then you can allow yourself to be bogged down and actually move backwards.

I’m not downplaying the impact that bad things can have in our life. There’s no doubt in my mind, that some days, weeks, or maybe even years you’re just going to feel like someone has reached inside your chest and ripped out your heart. But. The next morning, the sun will rise again. And when it does, you’ll have a choice. You can lay in the bed, face down regretting everything that’s gone wrong. Or you can lay on your back, looking up, thinking of the future and how you can make it better. And then you can get up, and try your damnest to make today better than yesterday.

How do you handle your bad days, weeks, or years?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrew Geisler permalink
    November 12, 2010 11:59 am

    If you find yourself asking “what good is there in bad” then I encourage you to also ask yourself “what bad is there in good”. I think the distinction we place between the two will begin to blur a little.

    To address your specific question, I try to ‘look’ at the issue without these distinctions and see what I may find. What one person may call bad, someone else may call good…. do these subjective distinction change what the thing is? The thing remains regardless of what we place on it too….

    Also, instead of asking “Why me?” I try to ask “Why not me?”, or, what I consider even more powerful than that…. “If not me, why someone else?”

  2. November 16, 2010 1:00 am

    I prefer avoiding looking for bad in the good 😉

    But I get what you’re sayin’. I almost called you ‘Ronnie Reality’, but I am trying to withhold. lol.

    As to your second point, I think the point i was trying to make has less to do with whether good or bad is actually happening to you and more to do with your outlook on the future due to past experiences.

    And I love your last note. That’s smart… and I should definitely start asking myself those questions more often. “If not me, why someone else?” That’s a deep question, I should have expected that from you! Thanks for your comment.

  3. November 20, 2010 10:11 am

    As a woman who was recently left by her boyfriend of 4 years, its often hard to find the good in the bad. i wish i could be at that point where I am as optimistic as you are. The only thing that gets me through is that I tell myself that I am not a victim of this loss. That i will feel better one day and might even fall in love again. There are possibilities in my life that I didn’t expect to have, and some days that’s exciting and others it’s so depressing I can’t get out of bed. i’m only a month out from having my heart broken though, so I know I won’t be depressed forever. I’m allowing myself to feel the pain in order to work through it.

    • November 24, 2010 3:09 pm

      hey Michelle –

      I certainly know how you feel. I ask myself the same questions every day. But I do remind myself that happiness isn’t the absence of sadness. It’s finding the things we do like, despite the ones that we don’t. I OFTEN doubt I’ll ever fall in love again, but I know that even if I don’t, I’ll be okay. It always works out when we truly believe that it will. I send you my best wishes and thoughts,


      • November 25, 2010 8:50 am

        Thank you Ben. I need all the good thoughts and well wishes i can get.

  4. Taylor permalink
    November 23, 2010 1:35 am

    I love this. Sometimes it’s near-impossible not to focus on the bad things, but they always pass. I’ve been trying to apply this to my temporary feelings too. I’ll get upset over the silliest things, but acknowledging that the anger will fade actually helps me to let go of it. When you think about it like that, it seems kinda silly to hold onto an emotion that makes you feel bad.

    • November 24, 2010 3:13 pm

      exactly. and like you said, sometimes times it’s HARD. It takes strength beyond ourselves.

  5. November 23, 2010 11:43 pm

    It is so hard to not focus on the bad. Usually it just takes a walk for me. As soon as I step outside, I know that the world is bigger than me and my problems. For bad years, I force myself to look ahead. And if I can’t…I take a nap.


  6. Scott Bryant permalink
    November 24, 2010 3:01 pm

    Bad days….whew. The only thing that gets me through them is positive thinking, which on a bad day, is tough. Its hard to think of anything on a bad day except the fact that you’re having a bad day. So, I turn to quotes and the positive thinking of others, it can be contagious. Wise words can have a great impact on one’s thoughts.

    • November 24, 2010 3:14 pm

      YOU’re definitely good at that! Your words/writings/photos are a positive inspiration to me! Thanks, Scott!

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