Silver Linings


“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.” 

Richard Bach

Life is not always rainbows and butterflies. Life can be hard and dark and a not-so-funny place to be. Everything we experience can be a bummer if we choose to see it that way. The key is to always remember that it will get better and there are always silver linings to every situation. They may not be easy to find, but they are there.

Nearly two and a half millennia ago, Aristotle triggered a revolution in happiness. At the time, Greek philosophers were trying hard to define precisely what this state of being was. Some contended that it sprang from hedonism, the pursuit of sensual pleasure. Others argued from the perspective of tragedy, believing happiness to be a goal, a final destination that made the drudge of life worthwhile. These ideas are still with us today, of course, in the decadence of Instagram and gourmet-burger culture or the Christian notion of heaven. But Aristotle proposed a third option. He described the idea of eudaimonic happiness. Meaning that happiness was not merely a feeling, or a golden promise, but a practice, something to be worked towards and attained.

So what does that have to do with silver linings you ask? Everything. Finding silver linings is a very powerful coping mechanism and something that can help you through any difficult situation. There will be many times in life when you experience tough situations and tough emotions. In addition to using reappraisal to handle your negative emotions, it is helpful to use benefit finding to explore the benefits of situations which, at first, seemed to be negative.

So, let’s try an activity that will help us understand and become better at finding those happy little silver linings.

In this activity, we are going to take a look at a past (or current) negative event in your life. Take a moment to think of something negative you experienced. I know that some negative experiences are very negative, so please select an experience that’s just a little bit negative – nothing too hard for your first time using this activity. After practice we can move to a harder experience.

Please briefly think about this negative event. Got it?  Now I want you to spend the next 10 minutes writing about the positive things that came from this experience. For example:

You may have been  greatly rewarded after experiencing a negative situation.                You may be grateful that you had this experience, because it taught you a valuable life lesson.
Or you may be better off than when the negative event started.

Try to really search your mind for the benefits of the negative situation.

This is a great activity that you can do daily with any negative event. I would highly recommend writing it down in a journal so you can look back at how many good things have come to you out of the dark and negative times. Keep it up. You deserve to be happy.

“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.” 

Richard Bach


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