An incredible colleague of mine asked this question the other day.
Have you ever had that experience, when something happens that seems terrible, and while you couldn't see it at the time, it turns out to be the best thing that could have happened?
Maybe you lost a job and started a business that you otherwise wouldn't have.
Maybe you went through an unwanted divorce, and have 3 beautiful kids to show for it.
These are pretty ordinary examples. If they haven't happened to you, you can probably think of someone you know who's had this type of worst-to-best experience.
But when it's us, and when it's something that seems out-of-the-ordinary, like estrangement, it can be harder to see.
Well, correction: the worst is easy to see.
For me, it's the disconnection from my granddaughter.
How could that possibly have a best thing?
It was almost physically painful to think that our separation could include anything positive.
But after some thought, I know the best thing is that we had the connection in the first place.
Maybe that sounds simplistic.
But I see the connection we did have as so pure. Some of my favorite memories ever are of my husband just loving up that little person. They shared such an adorable bond. He generally doesn't take selfies with people, but with our granddaughter, there are enough to chronicle the entire time we knew her. It's breathtaking and beautiful.
We were never guaranteed a relationship with a grandchild. The best thing is that we had one.
Looking for the best isn't denying the worst. It's seeing where the two can co-exist. Where it can be the best and the worst. And then decide where to put your focus.
What about you? How is your worst thing also the best thing?
Our brains naturally go negative. That's just the way we humans are wired.
We look for evidence to prove our thoughts true. Our negativity feeds on itself.
We get stuck there, living in all the muck. We can't really move forward or feel better.
I know estrangement is so painful, I get it.
If it's easier to find the best thing in the worst thing when the worst thing isn't quite so painful, go for it. Try it. Practice it.
And then, when you're ready, apply it to your estrangement worst thing.
It's not about denying that estrangement hurts, a lot.
We miss our granddaughter so much. Thinking we had a beautiful relationship won't change that. The truth is, I wouldn't want it to.
But it does help us have peace. And focus on the truth.
Because the truth is, we have a granddaughter we no longer see, and we had the most precious experience of having a beautiful, loving relationship with her.
Let's not just talk about this, let's live forward and do this:
Write down the worst thing in your estrangement
Write down what the best thing is about that worst thing in your estrangement
List or describe the reasons why this is the best thing. Writing will affirm it in your brain
See how you feel. Does this exercise lighten your emotional load?
Practice - don't deny the negative, but train your brain to look for the "ands" - where the negative can co-exist with a perspective that feels better, if that's in sync with your goals
This is for you, mamas. If I can help, you know where to find me: www.jennbutlercoaching/coaching