The Missing Silver Lining

Often we hear or read stories about life changing events. Usually they are positive stories – an unexpected opportunity, a chance encounter, a brilliant epiphany. Even the slightly more misfortunate stories of bad decisions, undeserved illness, or plain bad luck have happy endings and lessons to be learnt. I’m not a cynic, far from it I hope, but I wonder if there really might be life changing events which are indisputably ‘bad’.

It’s not events which define your life, but rather your reactions to those events.

I wonder though, if something should befall a person incapable of dealing with it at that point in their lives, isn’t that indisputably bad? Wouldn’t it be possible that such an event would do damage too severe to reverse, leaving them with a permanent scar? Without the ability to turn a life changing event into a source of strength or anything ‘good’, could it ‘ruin’ you forever?

Every cloud has its silver lining.

Is that silver lining worth anything if we can’t see it? I worry that it’s not. I guess that’s why I’m so harsh on myself and on others about dealing with issues head on, and not just sweeping them under the rug. I worry that when something comes along which is so big it can’t possibly be swept under the rug, I won’t be prepared to deal with it. I don’t mean this in a “I don’t trust people” neurotic kind of way, but as a kid you learn some things are just out of your control and you get two choices – you either hate the world and yourself, or you try to make the best of things. I’ve always tried to go with the second option, and pushed my friends to as well. It can come off a little bit harsh and intense at times, but I hate seeing the people I love let themselves wallow in self pity and make themselves miserable. Lately though I’ve started thinking maybe there’s a third option – acceptance.

The thing with misfortunate events is that sometime they’re just that – plain misfortunate with no silver lining. Sometimes things happen, and no good can easily come out of them. I feel like at those times we try too hard to find the positive, to spin it into a feel good hollywood movie about finding yourself or realising what’s really important to you. Wouldn’t it be easier to just accept things as they are, move on and leave yourself open to the rays of sunshine that will shine tomorrow? Instead of staying in the storm, looking for the illusive sparkles of silver, can’t we just put up an umbrella and wait for the sun to come out? As long as we remember to put down our umbrella when the sun comes out, is there anything wrong with waiting out a storm without getting soaked?

How do we go about finding that delicate balance between courageously facing our fears, and self-preservance by simply coping with or acknowledging those fears?


  1. You’re amazing, I love you.

  2. I believe in the third option you speak of. In acknowledging that we are miserable or suffering, that might just take us closer to understanding why we suffer. In a way, this gives us a chance to learn from our suffering.

    Some people can pull very brave faces and have the strength and resolve to go through any hardship, but I think defeating your fears is different to mastering your fears through understanding. No storm will ever erode their grip on life, they will grit and struggle. Still, the person who masters their fears will come prepared with an umbrella instead of braving the storm.

    1. Xiel, you said it even better than I could myself 🙂
      Sometimes being brave isn’t rushing out into the storm and I think it’s something I need to recognise.

      1. Yep, as Nietzsche once said: To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning out of the suffering. I think that’s the question at heart when we find ourselves suffering Why am i suffering? The most painful experience of my life took 5 years for me to resolve, and I only moved on once i understood and accepted why it happened in the first place.

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