Bad is never all bad
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
I use to puke a little in my mouth whenever I heard someone say "It is what it is." But I have to say, as wisdom builds (another way of saying "as I've made more mistakes than I care to remember"), and I've discovered that bad situations arent always all bad, this cliche of cliches is growing on me.
For some, overcomplicating things is a problem. In my case, it was the opposite. I was a bit too 'Black and White' back in a previous life. Things were either all good or all bad. If it was bad, resist it or fix it. If it was good, well, it's 'all good.' So, whenever I ran into something that challenged me (i.e. 'bad'), I'd stress out obsessing about ways to fix it, resist it, pretend it wasn't there, or try to counter it with a positive thought - either way, it was a constant mental drain.
While I'd like to say that I've got dealing with life issues nailed, I haven't. However, I'm starting to get better at 'embracing the suck', and along with it, subscribing to the principle of "Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn." The real challenge then becomes one of figuring out what I'm meant to be learning from the situation, not one of spiralling southward, while constantly trying to climb over brick wall after brick wall.
Like anything one wants to be proficient at, this takes repetition, practice, and trial and error. After trying a few different things, I've found exercise, meditation and prayer to be most effective for me. I've also found that trying to figure things out at the heat of the moment, when often your head is filled with inner dialogue about fight and flight options, is usually darn near impossible. So, whenever I find myself in a pickle (Australian for 'when crap hits the fan'), if possible (it's possible when there's no real risk of losing life or limb), I try not to respond or act until I've had the opportunity to empty my head. An analogy I'd like to draw on to illustrate this is one of an emergency case being treated in hospital. Step one is always to stabilise the patient. Only after you're successful in doing so do you proceed to fix them up.
In my most recent post before this one, I shared some of my thoughts around the positives that have come out of COVID-19; more time with family and family dinners, a much more simplified daily schedule, cheaper fuel, mother earth granted some reprieve from centuries of abuse, time to write blogs, among others. All this came only after I consciously took time out to extract my mind away from all the craziness and doom. The main takeaway, in this case, was a voice in my head that said, "Casper, you've always known that you needed to simplify your life, COVID-19 has just proven to you that you can, and this is what it looks and feels like!" Often, the biggest gem of lessons learnt from dark times is one of self-discovery.
So here's my challenge to you this week. Get yourself at least 20 minutes of uninterrupted time each day (hide in your car if you have to), close your eyes, think back to some not-so-nice times in your life, and apply the "Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn" view over the top of it. I guarantee that you'll discover that bad is never all bad. Ultimately, it simply is what it is.