We all know what’s good for us: running, getting up early, eating a salad instead of a burger, ect. That doesn’t mean we have to like it.
But what about when situations don’t go our way? Is that unpleasantness, in fact, good for us?
Anyone who has ever been dumped by someone they love knows the gut wrenching emptiness that comes with it. We cry and scream and swear the hollowness we feel in our chest will never be filled again. We drink too much or forget to eat anything for days.
But weeks pass and months go by. With perspective and distance, you start to realize it wasn’t such a perfect relationship after all. Maybe someone new and perfect for you comes into your life. You become incredibly thankful that you went through a horrible breakup because it freed you to meet someone better.
Or maybe you take a chance you never would have if you had still been in the relationship. You move, take a risk at work, or discover a new passion. You become happier and more fulfilled in a way you never had been.
The pain of a breakup can be a catalyst for someone or something greater in your life. It is absolutely horrible at the time, but you live and you learn right?
One of my biggest disappointments in the past year is now something I’m thankful for everyday. I’m involved with an organization and I wanted to be president for three years before I actually ran. When I lost, I was devastated. It had been my goal for so long that I felt adrift without it and I didn’t know what to do.
It was the best thing that never happened to me. I was beyond upset at the time, yes, but a year later I can see I wouldn’t have been happy in the role. The time commitment would have kept me from doing other activities that I love. Not getting what I wanted opened my life up to move to Spain for four months, spend a summer in New York, and master my yogi headstand. I figured out how to be content with who I am — without a title.
I suppose that validation was really what I was looking for all along. I just didn’t know that I could find it in myself.
Life doesn’t always give you exactly what you want. It does, however, give you consistent opportunities for growth. Sometimes situations suck, people are mean, and you might feel totally lost. Breathe. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It might just be way better than what you originally thought you wanted.
This post originally appeared on Thought Catalog.