When someone doesn’t get what they want, whether it’s the job of their dreams, acceptance to their top college, or a good date, it’s hard to know how to respond. That said, it can be even harder to hear what others have to say about it. The go-to “Aww, I’m sorry” is probably the last thing anyone wants to hear. I’ve envisioned myself sucker punching people in the nose who give me responses like that, and though I felt a sense of guilt for my internal imagery, it felt justified.
One day, I held my breath as I told my yoga instructor what I was going through, but her response is what really took my breath away.
“Congratulations,” she said without prying for any more information.
That response shifted my perspective on what we perceive as failure or disappointment. Boyfriend dumped you? Congratulations! You’re free from being tied to a boy who did not love you the way you deserve to be loved. Got fired? Congratulations! You’re moving forward toward a path more suited for you. Didn’t get accepted? Congratulations! You’re on your way to finding a better fit. Had a bad date? Congratulations! You are one step closer to meeting the one who’s right for you. You now know more of what you’re looking for, and you are clearer about what your standards are.
This is not some bogus hippy-dippy positive vibe shit to ignore the pain. These are changes that are moving us forward regardless of how it makes us feel. There is good and bad in every situation we find ourselves in, so why not congratulate the good it brings? I can congratulate myself and simultaneously feel like the offspring of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh and Butterpuff from the Powerpuff Girls. Even when the pain is there, knowing that it is all worth celebrating gives me a sense of liberation—and an opportunity to claim my power.
This thought has completely changed the way I process experiences in my life. I don’t try to avoid the pain that certain circumstances bring, and I spend more time in a growth mindset. To me, that is a recipe for healing and forward movement at it’s finest. Read this all the way through? Congratulations! You can radically change your life by applying this mentality to your life experiences.