By Jill MacDonald
Many years ago I read the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. In the book he talked about how everything has an equal or greater benefit within it. That thought puzzled me and intrigued me at the same time.
There have been some really hard things that I have been through in my life. Things that when I thought back on them, with Napoleon’s comment in mind, I couldn’t see where the benefit in that situation was. However, I kept that thought in my mind. I pondered on it for quite a while, in fact a VERY long time! I had in mind a particular situation that happened to me when I was a little girl. This situation had caused me a lot of heartache and pain. I struggled over what had happened. I went to therapy over this for years. That situation had affected every relationship I had from that time forward. How could this situation contain within it an equal or greater benefit? How was I better for it? I just couldn’t come up with an answer to those questions; I was stumped!
I have learned about how powerful our thoughts are and that nothing is either good or bad, it just is. It is what we think about that situation that makes the difference.
As I was talking to my therapist one day about my feelings about the situation, he said that very same thing to me. He said, “Jill, others have been through the same thing as you have, but have felt very differently about it.” He reassured me that the way I felt about it wasn’t bad or wrong, it was just different. What he said stuck with me. I mulled it over in my head. The thought kept coming to my mind over and over again! How could someone see that situation differently? How could they not see it as anything but bad? How could they not have it affect them anyway but how it affected me? Again I was puzzled, but also I was curious! Was there a different way I could think about it? Was there a way of not having it affect my relationships negatively? I determined that – yes there was, because my counselor confirmed that he had many clients who thought differently about it. They had a very different response than I did. Again, I sat with these thoughts for a very long time. I was puzzled, but I was starting to see or feel a spark of something new. I didn’t want to lose it, so I decided that I didn’t have to have the answer yet. I could just sit with it for now and that was okay.
I sat with these questions and thoughts for around a year or so. They stayed with me long after I ended seeing my therapist.They were still there in the back of my mind swirling around. One morning as I pondered on them for what felt like the millionth time, I realized I wasn’t the same person that I was even a year ago. My relationships were way better than they had been in the past. I realized that I felt different about the situation I had been through. I was able to look back and see I was a new me! But what happened? Was it something big? Was it a big event that had changed me and snapped me out of it and forever altered my life? As I sat with these new questions, a big resounding NO came to me! It was not a big life altering event that changed me, but rather, small and simple things that had occured. It was the culmination of small steps every day. A book I read, a thought someone shared with me that helped me see things in a different light. It was many things like that which had shaped me and changed me into who I am today. I was able to see the change and the difference in me because I was looking for it. I was able to see what Napoleon Hill was talking about. I saw that what I went through was hard, but that it had shaped me into the person I was today. Yes, it was hard and it was painful – but because of that I struggled and I sought for a better life. I had endeavored for a better me. Because I struggled with it and was curious instead of bitter, the curiosity changed my focus and helped lead me to the answers I was seeking!
Now I get to help others discover those things within themselves as well! And that is a good life indeed! So was there an equal or greater benefit? You bet there was! In fact, I would say that out of that situation I have received a much greater benefit – and for that I am profoundly grateful!
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