So last week I blogged about going on holiday for the first time in over two years and how it had brought up some unexpected anxieties. Well, we had a wonderful time and in the end, I actually overpacked. The weather, however, did not live up to expectations and it poured the whole weekend nearly. Now for some, this may have been the ultimate disappointment. You want one thing and end up with the opposite. But it really comes down to your state of mind. Are you a glass half empty or half full kind of person? Do you let your dashed hopes spoil your time or do you look for the silver lining? Making the best of it in any situation allows you to find the joy in life, to find the beauty, and realise that just because it’s not what you expected, doesn’t mean it’s not just as great.
Beauty in the rain
Holidaying in the Lake District in Cumbria is one of the places that I know. As a child, we went every October in our caravan and had the best time together. Everything about the place just rings with memory, nostalgia, beauty, and fun. Coffee shops, gift shops, walking trails, lakes, mountains, wildlife, cozy nights, and great food. What more could you possibly want from a holiday? The weather, however, can be temperamental at times. But in my opinion, you have to go prepared for anything. Our climate is becoming more changeable and can change on a dime.
And that is what happened to us.
One minute it was forecast sunny and cold, the next torrential rain. So what are you going to do? Well, find beauty in the rain of course. The hilltops got a sprinkling of snow while we just got rain in the valley, but it made for some stunning views in the low cloud.
Everywhere I turned there were beautiful views of the hills and mountains in the snow and mist. And we would never have had that view if it were not for the unexpected rain. Just because it wasn’t what we would have liked, doesn’t mean it couldn’t be enjoyed just as much. Being able to adapt and making the best of it in most situations in life allows us the freedom to enjoy what is, not what we wish it would be. Of course, there are times in life when making the best of it seems impossible, and can take some time to see the new opportunities, but for those other times, we need to start! Life is too short to be constantly bowled over by disappointment. We need to open our eyes and see the wonder, the beauty, the joy, the possibilities, even when it’s not what we planned.
Making the best of it
My example above about making the best of the bad weather is a very small and unimportant example of making the best of it in a bad situation. We all know that life is much harder than dealing with rain when we want sunshine. But the basic principle stands. We need to learn to see the silver linings in life when things don’t go our way and that all comes down to choice. We choose how we react to any given situation, no matter how bad, and this affects the next steps in our lives.
I’ve experienced the worst of life in the death of a parent at a young age, and the best of life in the joys of love and family. It’s not easy when you’re deep in the valley. Making the best of it seems unimportant, stupid, and impossible. But eventually, we can begin to see daylight and things gradually get better when we choose joy over pain, company over isolation, effort over listlessness. It’s all about choice.
Here are some thoughts on how we can choose better:
Acceptance – the good and the bad
Acceptance of our situation is critical. We cannot hope to do anything to benefit ourselves if we cannot accept what is. Whether good or bad, life throws many situations our way, sometimes they’re our fault and others are not. Regardless, we must accept them as they are and not how we want them to be. The past cannot be changed, but the future can, so we accept it and then seek a way forward.
The wonderful phrase if life gives you lemons make lemonade is exactly true. Life will always be a combination of the good and the bad. How we choose to deal with the bad is up to us. Throw a hissy fit if you want, but the most successful people around us have learned to use the bad situation and make lemonade. This means learning to turn those bad times into beneficial ones, and into learning experiences where you grow mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. And it’s not just once, but repeatedly. Each time you get knocked down you get squeezing and make the best darn lemonade ever. Rather than wallowing in despair over your failings, get up and look for a way clear. Everyone fails, but not everyone learns from it. Be the person who pushes forward.
Perspective is key
Keeping things in perspective is so important. How much time do you spend worrying about things that haven’t even happened? Or overthinking trivial matters that are of little consequence in the bigger picture? We’re all guilty of it at some point in life, but we mustn’t let it become a habit. Losing perspective leads us down a dangerous rabbit hole of depression, anxiety, and worry that drags us deeper and deeper if we let it. We must learn to let go of what we cannot control and realise that living in the now is what is important. When things come along that rock us or are not what we planned, we must take a step away and put it into a wider perspective. Evaluate your response; is it really as big as I’m making it? shifting our perspective can be very revealing.
Flexibility is everything
Unfortunately in life, some people are dealt harder or more frequent blows than others. This can make us hard and inflexible. And it’s totally understandable. Sometimes life just sucks and it can be difficult to keep taking those heavy blows. This, however, can make us inflexible and cut us off from the world whereby we miss out on so much of the best of life.
Learning how to adopt a flexible attitude when things go differently than we planned is key to transforming any situations. When you’ve discovered how to treat the bad times like learning experiences, and developed a method of examining your situations against a bigger perspective, you can develop a flexibility that will allow you to thrive in any circumstance you find yourself in.
Being flexible to the changes in life is like a superpower. We see so much more beauty, are afforded many more opportunities, and can take delight in the things that don’t go as planned.
Life isn’t straightforward. It’s a multifaceted, ever-changing rollercoaster of experiences that will either derail us or thrill us. Making the best of it allows us the chance to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel pain, loss, disappointment, or discouragement. But it does mean we don’t allow ourselves to stay there. We look for the learning, we seek growth, a way forward, and the hope of a new tomorrow.