How Life Teaches Positivity Through Negative Experiences?

by Hurmat Altaf

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”

A Burnt Child Loves the Fire
Oscar Wilde

Life has a predictable cycle, only dates are secret

When we experience things way before they are meant to be; we become wise way before the age of wisdom and eventually we become more cautious before doing or performing any sort of activity. Unless and until we do not experience something bad; we won’t ever be able to cherish or adore good experiences.

Life! What is it? But a journey – a voyage in which we encounter a lot of people, learn a considerable number of lessons and gain enormous experiences both good as well as bad. Every being is born in a state of innocence, then with the changing times and circumstances; one encounters reality and comes out of that stage of illusion. A matter of fact is that it is only via bad experiences that we come to know the actual meaning of life and the way it should be lived.

As, Khalil Jibran has rightly said, “I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.” So, it is always from the dichotomy or the binary that we learn things.

If I take a simple example of two people who are good friends, with the changing time one of them realizes that the relation of friendship which he considered pious was nothing but a mirage. As the person whom he considered his friend was a wolf in the guise of a sheep because he betrayed him to an extent that it shattered his imagination. Thus, his friend becomes the reason for his disillusionment and in the grave future, he becomes more vigilant about whom to befriend and also whom to allow in the personal space of his life, for that matter.

Undoubtedly, one gets traumatized by such unfortunate events in one’s life but at the very same point in time, one derives a didactic meaning out of the same and becomes more prudent. Didactic not only in the sense of becoming more circumspect but also in the sense of realizing the fact that one bad experience doesn’t ruin our life but there are many more good experiences, which we would adore just because of this negative one.

So, we should accept the fact that life is lived through negatives and this one wrenching event should not become the reason for our hatred towards other people whom we would encounter in our life. As Gabriel Garcia Marquez has said, “What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.” So, remembrance and memory play a vital role in shaping our personality as we ought to remember things in a way that we should continuously derive meaningful lessons from it.

Each one of us has to endure to some extent and deal with various challenges in our lives showing patience as well as prudence. If we meet bad people; we then also meet a lot of good people in our lives as well who tend to release us from horrible past experiences. Life bestows us with a good friend not in any trivial sense but in actual one with whom we create a lot of precious memories and remember those with nostalgia. We tend to explore the world with a fresh eye/perception and thus it results in the progression in various aspects of our lives. Our dilemma comes to an end as we start to believe in ourselves in a way as we were not at fault but it was that other person who made us believe so and also indulged us in drastic situations. And thus, we gain good experiences.

I believe in the fact that life makes us learn a lot of lessons through negative experiences and with negative experiences eventually come positive ones. Thus, the lesson which I learnt so far in life is that, you meet different sorts of people at different stages of your life; some are good and some are bad and bad ones (be it a friend, teacher, cousin or anyone) demoralize you; they make your life miserable to an extent that you lose your self-confidence but wisdom lies in learning from such experiences and getting a hold on your life by trying to find meaning in your life; overcoming your fears and allowing only those people in your life who tend to relieve you from all the toxicity you have had faced.

GB Shaw has rightly said that “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” which means that our success in the future will not be determined by the recollection of the past, but the success will be determined by learning and applying things from our past experiences to shape a better future. Life itself is in flux so we should move on because we should not forget that only the dead fish swims with the stream.

I would like to conclude with the quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, Love in the Time of Cholera: “He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves”

(The author is pursuing BA Honours in English from Cluster University Srinagar, Kashmir. Ideas are personal.)

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