“There stood Beethoven, gravely ill and totally deaf. Eyes closed, he kept conducting the orchestra even after they had ceased their performance and the audience had risen to its feet in thunderous applause. As a singer stepped from the choir to turn him around to see those whose shouts of bravo resonated throughout the convert hall, tears of elation filled his eyes.
Perhaps the worst loss a composer could experience had been the catalyst for a remarkable adaptive creativity that allowed him to transcend his tortures to become immersed in the thrill of conducting the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, the ‘Ode to Joy’ “
(Pearsall, Paul (2003). The Beethoven Factor: The New Positive Psychology of Hardiness Happiness, Healing, and Hope. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing, p.xi.)
Have you ever read this before now? It’s beautiful,isn’t it? I was introduced to this true, short and sweet story when I picked up the book, “The Joy of Appreciative Living” by Jacqueline Kelm. I seriously recommend this book! It is great! The author helps us develop and strengthen the habit of seeing the good in life. She provides steps to exercises that we can engage in to really ingrain the habit into our heads. It has great reviews and testimonies. But her steps should not be taken loosely if you want true effectiveness. We must work at in seriously and be dedicated. I believe it helps to not view this as a hassle or boring task just to get the results. It benefits to view it as a joyful journey that will eventually lead to greatness and evolution of the self.
The book, “The Joy of Appreciative Living,” has a forward by David Cooperrider and Mr. Cooperrider provides the above story about Beethoven. He explains that Beethoven became extremely successful “not only in spite of but because[emphasis added] of the way he related to his adversity.” He was able to rejoice in this moment and inspire all who experienced this with him and discovers his story.
This is a great lesson to all of us. Any painful or difficult experience we endure can be used as the catalyst for positive change. Because of our pain, we can become even better, wiser, stronger, and more enlightened than we would be without that painful experience. Disabilities of any sort, health issues, losses, any difficult or painful situation can be used to our advantage if we allow it and work with it.
When we’re currently experiencing pain, we may not be able to see how this can possibly benefit us. But if we think back to previous painful situations that contribute in some ways to better us, we can keep hope and strength alive that this, too, will somehow be advantageous to us.
You can be creative with your situation and think of ways that this difficulty can actually be your strength and inspiration. Then work to make that happen.
Going out to intentionally look for pain is not the best idea someone can have.
But as long as we live, some kind of pain is probably inevitable for almost everyone. So let us take that pain and use it to evolve in any ways we can. We can build on ourselves and develop a greater sense of wholeness. Pain can help people be more empathetic and compassionate to others. It can help us acknowledge and appreciate the simple treasures of life. It can provoke us to change our whole lives around for the better.
So if you are experiencing pain or any difficult struggles, keep in mind that even though it may not feel this way now, you can take that pain and run with it, own it, and be better for it.
Whenever I am hit with a severe episode of clinical depression I let that be my reminder of how much better I am than I used to be. I no longer contemplate killing myself when I’m severely depressed because I worked on myself intensively to better myself. And now when an episode hits, no matter how severe, throughout the episode, I generally have hope that it will end and I keep in mind how strong I have become.
It’s extremely painful but I am able to use it and view it in a positive way.
Own every step you take.
Let your pain make you better, not bitter.