If you are alive, then bad things are going to happen to you. Even if you are living alone on an island and enjoying the beauty and solitude, you are still going to stub your toe once in a while. Bad things happening are a part of life.
I once had a friend who believed that bad things happen in threes, but I never really bought into that theory. Sure, if you look hard enough, you can find three bad things in a row. And I even think that she used to create experiences that were bad just so that she could say, “See! Bad things always happen in threes!” But, I have a different opinion.
Bad Things Can Result In Wonderful Lessons And Experiences
I believe that many bad things are not really that bad. They may seem traumatic or upsetting at the time, but in hindsight, they were a step to our personal growth, success, and happiness.
For instance, I once thought that it was the end of the world when a boyfriend broke up with me. Obviously it was a really bad experience for me, but looking back on it – thank god he did! I couldn’t imagine still being in the dysfunctional relationship we had.
On the same note, my best friend’s divorce resulted in her being picky about who she dated and allowed her to admit what she really wanted in life. Those two things helped her to take charge of her life and find the perfect man and move to a place where she had always wanted to live.
See – bad experiences can results in a happier and more fulfilling life.
Of course, with hindsight everything is easy to see clearly, but I’ve tried to make it a belief that everything – good or bad -contributes to my life in a positive way. It teaches me something, makes me stronger, or helps me get to where I want to be.
I asked a few people to share their experiences with bad things gone good. Following are their stories.
1. Technology breakdown – Tat From Mum In Search
A few years ago I had a computer that died on me a few days after the warranty had expired. Even though I never liked the computer in the first place (I can’t remember why anymore), I expected to feel stressed and frustrated. I had tons to do (or so I thought) and no way to do my work. But I felt light and happy (finally, I’d get to buy a computer I liked) and a sense of peace and freedom that I now had a genuine excuse to take some time off.
Something else that happened recently was that I accidentally killed my website. It was absolutely my fault (I was playing with the code) and I expected that I’d have to pay to get it fixed. And I what I felt was… relief. I wasn’t willing to pay to get my website fixed, so I just said ‘good bye’ to it and prepared to start from a clean slate. The support people from the hosting company ended up getting my website back up for free, but the happy, excited feeling that it’s time to start something new stayed with me.
2. Unhappiness turned into happiness! – Jeevan From Daring Blogger
I have had plenty of these experiences, especially when I was young – nothing too significant though. It’s usually about going somewhere (and since I was a kid/teen; in most of these experiences, I always had to accompany my folks).
Usually, I would just think that such trips are a waste of my time – I could do something at home (playing games and such). But, in end, I would almost always enjoy the trip.
So, these days when my folks ask me if I want to accompany them on such trips/journeys – I give it some thought. Maybe I will have an amazing experience, perhaps meet new folks and such.
A significant thing I can remember is giving up blogging (I’ve done it multiple times – although, in the end, I always restarted blogging a few months after).
This is the longest period of time I went without blogging, since I started it (about an year now). I thought I might be a lot unhappier with giving it up – and I might end up starting another one soon.
But, I didn’t (Although, I am planning on starting another one soon – this time on an entirely new topic – so it should be exciting, and challenging!).
It didn’t make me unhappy, because it gave me a lot of free time to explore other (new and old) habits – learning, and reading.
3. Tiny, but amazing ROI for happiness – Deborah From Social Web Cafe
My recent college course scared me. I entered into the course and the professor’s expectations had me scared. It was as if this course was the dissertation and any discussion posts had to be written in the form that was ready for publication in a journal, after having gone through the intense scrutiny of other PhD psychologists.
It seemed like there was a missing course where we, as students, are brought from the point where we stand, to the point of what he expected.
I hunkered down for what I expected to be a very laborious process of learning, but one that I signed up for and for which I needed to apply myself.
What I found is that it was a hard course, yes. However, it was not as scary as it seemed to be, based on his stated expectations. And, not only that, but there were two bonuses. He offered to write a personal recommendation for me, based on my academics and “gift” of analysis and the class is fun!
You don’t always expect a doctoral level class to be fun, but it is a class where I have the opportunity to learn “process” as it relates to research and it isn’t just boring academia. It has now become my favorite class so far.
So, what we can learn from that is not to judge that book by the cover. Sometimes the scariest classes are the most fun and the most rewarding.
4. The unexpected happy – Matthew From Confessions of the Professions
There are plenty of things that happened in my life that made me unhappy, but ended up actually making me happier. I live for traveling and experiencing. I have lived in several states and another country. After I had said and done all that, I had come home to settle down in my home state. I was in a lot of debt and got a job as a programmer for very low pay. Such low pay that you could say I was being taken advantage of, but I really needed a job and the money.
Anyways, after 2 years of dealing with a micromanaging boss who was an arrogant asshole who thought he was always right and everyone else was wrong, I had enough. You can read more about this situation in more details in my confession, The Opportunity.
I knew I couldn’t quit my job, so I decided to look, and look, and look some more, until I finally landed a web developer job. At the same time, because I had applied to several, I had been overlooked at first, but got called back by a second company, also looking for a web developer, who had interviewed other candidates, but couldn’t find a match and realized I would be a perfect fit for the company. How could I say no to two jobs offering me a job? Luckily, the first job was for the day shift and the second job was for the evening shift. Also, lucky for me, the second job was working from home.
On top of those 2 jobs, I was also a freelancing web developer for two or three individuals who needed websites built or upkeep. I had student loans to pay off so I was working about 18-20 hours a week, Monday through Friday, while doing additional web work on weekends. This was my life for 2 years. Get up. Shower. Go to work. Rush home. Get ready for work. Go to work. Log off. Log on to my other computer. Do freelance work. Sleep for 2-4 hours. Wake up. Repeat.
After 2 years, I was laid off my the day job. I was depressed for about a month before I realized how free I felt, that I could just sleep during the day. I had been a slave for so long to my jobs that I had forgotten what having a good night’s sleep, or even a full night’s sleep even meant. It was awesome!
I figured I had never had real world experience as a web designer/developer, so this was my chance, and it sure brought at least 10 years of experience condensed into 2 years.
Anyways, I am grateful that my former boss was an arrogant asshole who I couldn’t stand anymore and it forced me to look for another job, else I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Before that, I was in college studying psychology, hoping to help people realize their dreams and figure out a way that they could find a way to be happy in life — helping them realize their true potential and finding a job doing it. I had no interest in computers or doing anything on them. I wanted to be out and talking to people, not staring at a computer screen all day.
The old job was what sparked the programmer/coder/web developer in me to become alive again. The old job sparked me to create www.confessionsoftheprofessions.com, my website dedicated to understanding the workplace, as it provided me with dozens of things to write about. The old job also helped find me the love of my life, and we are still together, four years later.
Why Do Bad Things Keep Happening To You?
In my experience, bad things often keep happening when you don’t learn your lesson the first time. For instance, if you keep dating losers, then there is a good chance that you keep missing the warning signs that clearly tell you that a loser is in your proximity!
I also think that many people misread situations and label them as bad because they are emotionally driven to do so. For instance, my mother-in-law has a huge victim mentality, and simple things – such as getting stuck at a traffic light – can be labeled as a bad thing. Thus – her asking, “Why do bad things keep happening to me?” seems completely valid in her mind.
And sometimes things are simply out of your control and just get real shitty. But, developing a positive mindset, and finding a way to cope when bad things happen, can help you move forward to a happier life.
For instance, my husband found out that he had Multiple Sclerosis and lost his job in the same month. His symptoms included a very poor memory. This happened at a time when he was in his final stages of his CGA designation, and his poor memory caused him to fail two very expensive courses in a row. He studied his ass off, but he could not remember anything he studied shortly after he stopped.
He didn’t hang his head in despair and give in to the fact that bad things were meant to happen to him over and over. Instead, he put his education on pause, kept moving forward in his career, started taking serious action on his diet and lifestyle to improve his MS, and everything has worked out fine. In fact, a number of good things have been happening to him recently!
Bad Things Can Result In Great Things
In the end, bad things are going to happen to you in life – even if you are a good person. They have to in order for you to grow into a better person! They make you stronger, help you see what really matters in life, teach you what you want and don’t want in life, and help you make better decisions for your future.
Sometimes bad things will happen over and over again, but that doesn’t mean that you have to let life beat you down. You get to choose the way you look at bad experiences and how you go forward, and who knows – that bad thing may turn into a wonderful thing for your happiness in life!