Paiger's TIP OF THE DAY: Turn a Negative Experience Into a Positive!
by Paige Connard
This is something that I've done many times since my head injury, in many different ways, and also what I did on my last posting that I wrote to: Always Check Purse/Pocket For Carrying Appropriate Cash/ Credit Coupons, Memberships and ID!
Because it was such a negative experience, ever since that happened, before I walk out the door I always check whichever purse I decided to carry with me to make sure I have everything I'm going to need when I walk out the door. This is including the things that I leave on the table by the front door ALL OF THE TIME THAT I'M HOME! Which obviously has become a very positive thing!
This also includes checking to make sure I have the appropriate set of keys and the audio-video driving instructions that also change between our 3 different cars/truck!
Doug's Reply. You make a very important point here, Paige. Whenever a problem arises in my life or in the lives of those close to me, I am always quick to say we should look for the silver lining. I believe that during any adversity life really is challenging us to make something good come of it - no matter how awful things may seem at the time.
The shock of not having your ID and most of your cash at the grocery store felt horrible to you at that moment. Most people, if it had happened to them, would have said that there was nothing good about the experience. They would, in fact, wish fervently that it had never occurred.
But now, as you explain above, you can see that the experience made a strong impression on your mind. It was emotionally traumatizing enough that you're probably not going to forget it happened.
So in that sense, it actually was a good thing. You're leveraging that feeling of shame and embarrassment to redouble your efforts to stay organized. Because you really don't want that to happen again!
You really have turned a negative into a positive. The brain remembers experiences that are associated with strong emotions. That's why educators who understand how memory works advise us to find something in the material that we can connect to emotionally, to find some way to become very interested in the information we want to remember.
The same is true of lessons learned in life through experience. We tend to remember the events that affect us strongly emotionally. But then it's up to us to consciously take that memory and turn it into something good for our lives, to turn the negative into a positive.
You have managed to do that, as you said, in this instance and at many other times since your head injury. I hope my visitors take what you're saying here seriously, because turning bad things into good ("making lemonade out of lemons") is probably one of the most important habits anyone can ever learn in life.
It's one of those things that does have to be done consciously. You must actively look for the good in the bad. The first step is to realize that something good is always there, even if you can't see it at first.
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