What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to console over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is so terrible?”

A month later, the horse came home–this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?”

The farmer’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, “What makes you think it is bad?”

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. “What makes you think this is good?” said the farmer.  (Johns Hopkins Magazine, Nov 1993)

When I was 8 and had the chicken pox, other mothers in the neighborhood brought their kids over to play so they would catch it too.  The thinking was the kids would get the then-inevitable disease over with, build immunity and not worry about getting it as an adult.  The kid got sick once and then never again.  Nowadays there’s a vaccine for the chicken pox.  While I didn’t have a profound learning experience from having the chicken pox, there are other times in life when what appeared devastating at the time actually proved better for me down the road.  The challenge is when facing a difficult situation, to remember to have faith that this too shall pass. That maybe what is horrible right now will prepare you for something else down the road.

For example, on Halloween in 2001 I was struck with a horrible headache. Terrible.  It was so bad I had to leave work early, and I never called out sick for anything.  What was worse was that every day afterwards I had another headache which was just as bad.  I tried every over the counter drug there was and nothing.  I went to the doctor and she tried two or three different drugs before referring me to a neurologist.  The neurologist gave me migraine drugs which made the headaches worse, which I didn’t think was possible.  Finally I decided to see an acupuncturist.  To be brief, not only did my headaches resolve but I was able to start processing the grief around my brother dying 3 years earlier.  Without the headaches I may never have discovered my life’s work or processed grief in a healthy way.  Now I can look back and be grateful for what at the time was miserable.

So how do you go about finding a different perspective when you are not in a good place?  Why would you want to anyhow?  To answer why, I ask why not?  There is much in life we cannot control, and in the face of that we have a choice – to be miserable or lighthearted?  Its more pleasant to view life as an adventure than a jail sentence, even though the choice of your view doesn’t do much to change your circumstances.  I find humor to be vital in this situations.  It is afterall an AFGO.  Another F—-ing Growth Opportunity.  Fill in the blanks.  How can you make yourself laugh?

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Category: OPINION

About the Author - Meaghan Massella Walker, M.Ac, L.Ac

Edgewater Acupuncture provides acupuncture treatments on a sliding scale of $15-$35 with a one time $10 paperwork fee for new patients. Acupuncture is for everyone. It’s most effective when received frequently and regularly. This is the reason behind Edgewater Acupuncture’s prices — accessible, simple, effective healthcare for you and your family. This accessibility allows you to come as often as necessary for you to get healthy and stay healthy. You decide what you pay. It’s that simple.

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