Audrey Hepburn said, “If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, excitements and worthwhilenesses I have been lucky enough to have had. Not the sadness, not my miscarriages or my father leaving home, but the joy of everything else. It will have been enough.” Do you think you would do the same, or do the sad times stand out in your mind?
It’s hard for me to sit here and reflect on the positive experiences I’ve had in my life, or even the past few years, because it’s always been overshadowed by the negative and sad times – I think because they’re the moments that generate a more significant emotional reaction; they’re the ones that are the hardest to deal with and the ones that take more of an emotional toll on us.
That’s not to say that I haven’t had some great positive experiences, I certainly have, but they pale in comparison to the sadness, pain and hurt that I’ve had to endure. I think that whilst the happiness is always great to reflect upon, because of the great memories that it gives you, and the smile it puts on your face and the warmth in your heart you feel from it all, it’s the pain and the sadness that makes you grow as a person.
You don’t necessarily learn and change from happiness – if anything, it just makes you want to experience more happiness in your life, and you soon find yourself actively seeking more happiness, almost like it’s some kind of drug. The pain and the sadness is a constant learning experience though – it’s the moments that make you reflect and ask yourself why it happened, and make you stop and question how it could have been avoided so that you know what to look out for in case it happens again.
It’s the pain and the sadness that test your boundaries and your resilience, and gauge how capable you are at bouncing back from such setback and heartache. These are what help shape us into the people we are; these are the things that determine our emotional boundaries and reactions, and how we manage to deal with it. It’s what challenges and tests us to show whether we are the sort of person that completely falls to pieces, or whether we suck it up and just soldier forward with our lives, or whether we need to have the support of our friends and family to help us pick up the pieces in order to get back on track.
So when I look back, I’ll be looking for the balance of the good and the bad experiences throughout my life.