Bad experience?

Bad experience? We can all relate to that one.

Did someone lie to you? Anger you? Did you get ripped off, kicked while you were down, or just plain ignored? Client trouble? Financial mistake? Relationship gone wrong?

On the bright side, that means you’re alive. Phew! (Sigh of relief.)

(Probably after a very bad experience!)

On the not-so-bright side, bad experiences stink. They can spoil a good mood, ruin an entire evening, and even jeopardize relationships. Yikes!

But there IS a bright side. If we change our perspective just a little bit, we can see that bad experiences come as a package deal: bad stuff on top with a lighter dose of good stuff underneath. Can you see the good stuff?

You know the bad stuff. The bad stuff is the experience itself. The unpleasant, distasteful, upsetting, confusing, saddening, disheartening experience you now recollect: The mean coworker. The bullies. The camping fiasco. You know about those. But let me share the good stuff:

First, each bad experience brings individual growth through learning. You grew a little bit because of that experience. You stand a little taller. You’re a little stronger. You’re a little wiser. If you find yourself in a similar situation, now you know how to react. Maybe now you can avoid it in the first place. You probably learned some valuable lessons along the way, too.

Who knows…maybe you even got off easy. For example, I was scammed twice in the same year while online shopping. Combined, I lost $150 buying from complete frauds. But because of this…I learned not to buy from disreputable sellers and to do my homework before making a purchase. That lesson cost me $150. Some people learn that same lesson after they lose $100,000. I got a good deal!

The second silver lining that comes with each bad experience is the ability to help other people. You now know something you didn’t know before, something that many people could benefit from.

Did a mechanic rip you off? Tell your friends; spread the word. You can help someone avoid the same dissatisfaction (don’t you wish someone told you?).

Did a relationship end badly? Use what you’ve learned to help others in similar relationships. Maybe they just need to talk to someone who has “been there”. Now you have “been there”!

Did an employer fire you unfairly? Tell people how to protect themselves from similar situations.

You see, the best chefs/teachers/friends/lawyers/plumbers/golfers/authors/gardeners are the best because they’ve experienced the good and the bad. Thus, they’re well rounded. They can handle adversity and even counsel others. That only comes from experience, good and bad, and they’ve learned to capitalize upon both!

Next time you have a bad experience, remember: it’s not 100% bad. You’ve still learned something, and now you have one more experience that can be used to help others.

Keep your chin up, smile, and keep moving forward. A good experience is right around the corner!

First photo by catalin82. Second photo by sebileakc

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