Five Good Things About Bad Times

Sometimes it's hard to see that good can come from bad - especially when you're in the middle of a tough or traumatic experience. But in reality (and that's where we find ourselves), you can still take some lemons and make some pretty tasty lemonade. I've asked the Intuitive Mind for guidance about any good that is coming out of the struggle (financial or personal) so many of us are going through. Here are 5 unexpected benefits from living through the bad times:

1. Seeking Self-knowledge.  Ok, you lost or job, and that is sad and scary. Hopefully, you have a cushion or can find one (unemployment, if all else fails), or another job, because you've been actively networking. Failing that, losing a job is also an opportunity to take an internal survey and explore your options. Do you really want to be a stock-broker? Are you ready to move from interior design to graphic design? Can you barter your experience or services with a business you'd like to partner with? Ironically, leaving a job, or even leaving a career, can be a life-changing experience for the better. Especially if you've been unfulfilled and unhappy with your job. Sure, collecting a pink slip is a force to be reckoned with - but this force may actually turn out to be a positive push - launching you into a more fulfilling and rewarding career. I see lots of new opportunities "out there" - many of them you can create for yourself. Psi speaking - we are about to see a dwindling down of 5-day work week and 9-5 jobs.The archaic work day as we know it is about to become extinct. We will see more flex-time, more work on the internet, more opportunities to connect with and work with people who may live a continent away. And also cutbacks in government services that may provide a niche for you. Use your work experience and talents as a springboard to a future that will be far different than you ever imagined - at least where it comes to work. Spend some time reflecting and digging for what you really want - out of work and out of life. Self-knowledge will benefit you.

2. Identifying True Friends. Your true friends will rally around you now. If you're having a tough time, they will call you often to check up on you. They will take you to coffee and listen to your tale of woe. They will cheerfully remind you that "this too, will pass" - and tell you stories about mutual friends or even people you don't know that relate to your situation. They will loan you cheery books that make sense  or movies that will make you laugh. There never is a better time to find out who is truly your friend than a down time. The phony-baloneys will scatter like dandelion puffs on a summer's day, leaving you bewildered.  At one time, you might have basked in their good will and friendly overtures, but if these so-called friends can't be bothered with you anymore, you are better for this knowledge - now. When you recover (and you will), they will be back, like boomerangs, and you can then decide if they are worth your time and energy. I say lather your true friends (the ones who stand beside you) with love and good will and let the falsies go on their merry way.

3. Enhancing Learning and Education. This benefit is different than #1 (self-knowledge). This is about re-educating yourself about the world (geography, history, biography). There is no better time than a tough time to learn about those who overcame obstacles - long ago or recently. From Helen Keller to Stephen Hawking, there are great role-models who have proven that even the greatest challenges are not too great to stop them. Biographies are often overlooked when it comes to reading choices, but I have moved along on my own path by reading the biographies of many who have worked and are working in my area of interest. If you find yourself stuck (in a tough situation), I suggest a trip to the library to pick up a book or books in the fields that interest you (from ancient religions to geography to cooking). Libraries remain one of the last places  on this planet where trust is all you need to borrow something valuable. Reading history or catching up on your knowledge of the world may be just the inspiration or trigger you need to recharge and keep going. If you have time, check out some of the free or low-cost classes offered at libraries or community centers in your area. You can increase your computer skills, learn to paint with water colors, even learn CPR. These are classes you might have overlooked in your previous 24/7 lifestyle. But now you may have the time to learn, to meet new people who share your interests and to add positive experiences to you life.

4. Finding Humor.  I know it's difficult to laugh some times, when you're not feeling so hot. But it's also  difficult to get through any tough time without a sense of humor. The good news is that many of us know how to laugh and how to make others chuckle. The bad news is that most of the comics who make us laugh or give us a giggle have evaporated like a splash of milk in a kitten's saucer. Where oh where have these funny men and women gone? I could so use a Milton Berle or a Groucho or Lucille Ball. (If you don't know who these people are, check them out on YouTube). I have tried to watch comedy on TV and I find so much of it negative, repulsive, gross and banal (and Psychic Chic is clearly NOT a fuddy-duddy). But I can use a laugh as much as the next person, because I know laughter really is the best medicine (thank you, Norman Cousins). Laughter has been proven to improve immune system function. So why not to all you can to boost your immunity, especially if you're stressed.  If you can't find any laughs on prime-time TV in the increasingly dumb sitcoms or in the movies (not any worth paying $10 a ticket for), turn to the computer (see above) or stay up late, very late, to watch the only funny guys (they are all guys) on TV: Leno, Letterman, Kilborn, Stewart, etc. If you are fortunate enough to TIVO or tape, tape the funny guys and play them back later just for laughs. One of the benefits of tough times is that we see just how valuable a sense of humor and laughter really are. To make people laugh is high art. Actively seek out the funny. Now more beneficial than ever.

5. Determining Value. What once was valuable is no more. Or fading fast. At least in terms of "material possessions." And here, I am not speaking materially, but spiritually and personally, when it comes to value. There is no time, like a troubled time, to determine what you value in your life. These times have taken us from Material Girl to Immaterial Girl, if you know what I mean. We are now sifting through our stuff to determine what really matters. Number one (usually) are our family photographs and memories. Number two - well, that's pretty much up to you. If you are having to move or to downsize or, conversely, if you have the means to buy a new home - consider what items you value and cherish. No more going off the credit-card deep-end to keep up with The Joneses. Those days are gone (easy access to credit cards and bank loans, and maybe even The Joneses). If you can pay cash, do so - but determine, before hand, if what you purchase is going to enhance your life or retain its value over the long-haul. Rough times and crises enable us to clearly see what's important to us and what we value. I suggest you take inventory, donate to those less fortunate, recycle, where you can, and affirm, with love and positive reinforcement those people and those possssions that mean the most to you. Just like in the 1970s, Less is More.

There are other benefits you gain from struggling, but these are the top 5 that I intuit.  And while I have keyed these 5 benefits largely to jobs and careers, they apply equally to  relationships. If you are troubled with a partner, and contemplating a split, focus on #1 and #5. This should help you make a decision.

Finally, there is the old saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going" - and at this time, the saying is correct. Put these 5 lessons in your suitcase.

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Sy Kravitz
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