Why The Bad Stuff Is Soooo Important
By Chris Palmer, M.A.
I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about it. Maybe you’ve talked about it yourself.
The talk about wanting to be happy. And the complaining about all the bad things that happen in life.
“If we could ONLY get rid of the bad stuff, everything would be great.”
Sure it makes sense when you hear it. But it’s actually crap.
Why? Let’s answer by imagining a world with nothing “bad.”
Your meals are always cooked well, served well, and eaten well.
People are always kind and decent. No one ever says or thinks a “bad” thing.
We never have conflict. We never have stress. We never have anything to fix or solve or resolve.
The weather is always sunny. We always have enough money. We have everything we want so we never want anything.
We’re never hungry or tired or bitter or worn down.
Sounds good, right?
But how do you think “good” feels over time? How good does that meal taste when you have it served perfectly every time with nothing worse to compare it to?
And how interesting, compelling, stimulating, or intriguing do you think your interactions would be with everything always perfectly harmonious?
And if you don’t need anything because everything is stress free and there are no “bad” things happening, how fulfilling would your life be?
Because without the “bad” things in life: stress, problems, conflicts, illnesses, accidents, needs, worries, insecurities, obligations, etc., the good stuff has nothing to provide a contrast. “Good” and “bad” are relative terms. They literally need each other to provide perspective.
But it’s bigger than that.
Think of a time you worked hard all day in the yard in the hot sun and then rested in the shade with a cold drink.
How AMAZING did that drink taste?
And how about days or weeks you worked on a project for hours and hours until you finally completed it? How accomplished did you feel after all that work?
And despite the crazy amount of work, sacrifice, and worry, good luck trying to find a parent whose eyes don’t fill up when talking about their kids.
In short, the “bad” stuff makes the good stuff AMAZING and meaningful.
Sure it sucks in the moment and we all know what it’s like to be in the weeds, feeling like the world just takes a giant crap on us whenever it wants to.
But it’s actually kind of a gift.
It gives life meaning and purpose.
It gives us perspective.
And it helps us appreciate the good stuff.
Now I’m not a complete idiot. I don’t expect your next string of “bad” circumstances will be easy now that you’ve read this. And I am sure I will have a few choice words for the next guy who cuts me off in traffic.
But part of me knows that JUST the fact that we are still alive means we have made it through EVERY “bad” thing that EVER happened to us.
Think about that. You’ve overcome EVERYTHING.
And you’ll get through this too.
And if everything goes the way it usually does, the good stuff is going to taste better, smell better, and feel better.
Just like that cold drink after that long hot summer day…
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Chris Palmer, M.A.
Founder and Life Design Trainer and Coach
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