“Misfortunes make happiness more sweet when it comes.” – Latin Proverb
Taking a similar approach to the English proverb, this Latin proverb reminds us that misfortune doesn’t rob us of happiness, it only makes it that much sweeter.
No one seeks out misfortune. We try to avoid it at all costs. Aspiring to live a happy, comfortable life with a secure job and stable finances. Sadly, the world isn’t fair and the reality is that no matter how safe we may feel, there is the chance of misfortune striking at any possible time. Suffering is inevitable in life and we all endure hardship, it is part of being human.
Acceptance of this is one of the strategies advocated by Lucy Hone, a wellbeing and resilience expert in her TEDx talk: The three secrets of resilient people. Second is to carefully choose where you’re directing your attention or what is known in psychology as “benefit-finding”. To be resilient it is necessary to make a conscious, ongoing effort to tune in to the positive and be grateful. Thirdly, you need to focus on helping yourself by checking in and asking yourself, “Is what I’m doing helping me or harming me?”
These three things were invaluable in helping Lucy cope with grief after a devastating personal tragedy. Her resilience research turned out to be an essential survival skill for her and enabled her to find and offer profound insights on how to find meaning in loss.
Writer Andrew Solomon gives a different perspective in his TED talk: How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are. Although his struggles are different, he also gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from hardship.
In his words, “We don’t seek the painful experiences that hew our identities, but we seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences. We cannot bear a pointless torment, but we can endure great pain if we believe that it’s purposeful. Ease makes less of an impression on us than struggle. We could have been ourselves without our delights, but not without the misfortunes that drive our search for meaning.”
There is countless evidence of misfortune being necessary for true connection and growth – as we seek happiness in the face of it. Anne Frank captured it beautifully by saying, “Riches can all be lost, but the happiness in your own heart can only be veiled, and it will still bring you happiness again, as long as you live. As long as you can look fearlessly up into the heavens, as long as you know that you are pure within, and that you will still find happiness.”
There is always a silver lining, let us at WellsFaber help you find it if you need – so you can relax and thrive.