This is a true story, lived by yours truly with the help of a miracle best friend. I told you, we all have our Dumbledores, and in this case, mine is a 32-year-old gorgeous Arabic woman with purple hair, a loud mouth & an unstoppable spirit, who I am proud to call my friend. I know her description & soul sound magic, but she really exists and has been kicking my ass into self-development shape for years, better than any shrink, priest or TED speech.
How did I come to this rule?
The 5 to 1 rule came to us while we were debating the stories that were playing in my head for so long and that were messing up my reality, my future & my health. It was so serious and it got so bad that I couldn’t stop my thoughts from flooding my mind each night, not getting any sleep, going to all sorts of doctors since all of my internal systems were off the charts and I was feeling sick all day long. I’m talking dizziness, heart problems, kidney & thyroid issues, just to name a few. I already know that every physical condition is an emotional question mark and a trigger for some soul searching, but this was getting out of my control, I was feeling powerless, no way out, no hope.
We were talking and this idea came to her while trying to make me see things differently: why not find every good thing that came out of every sad experience that is torturing your soul?
I was severely reluctant telling her that I am aware of the fact that I don’t have cancer, that I own a car, a house, and have a good job, thank you, but this speech is not going to work for me now, not because I am not grateful for them, but due to the fact that all of those still don’t make me feel better about the present moment that has nothing to do with what I’ve envisioned for myself at the age of 30. My life was nowhere near my dreams and more than that, I’ve managed to screw up and lose everything/ everyone I ever loved, nothing I did worked, no effort was good enough.
She went on telling me that she was talking about another scenario in which I need to take every bad relationship, everything I considered to be a failure in my life and find the good things I’ve learned from there.
Ok, since I spent years reading about this, watching speeches, attending conferences, working on my self-improvement, I already knew the concept that everything is a lesson and there are no mistakes or failures. Still, understanding something is not equal to actually applying it. Right. I had no excuse.
Shocking outcomes just around the corners…of your mind
I went home that night and started writing all about the 3 – failed – relationships in my life and was really not convinced about the process, but I did it anyway.
Started with the one I regret the most, for which my heart is still longing for. Guess what? Despite the fact that I was brutally putting myself down for the breakup, carrying guilt that could take down John Cena himself, I found that a lot of things came out of that, including this blog and the desire to write. That combined with a lot of newly found communicating skills that will be the core for every future relationship, whether we get back together or find happiness elsewhere.
It turned out that every missed step I took, every detour, heartbreak, professional setback actually took me closer to acquiring or at least identifying the skills, the needs and the strengths I was lacking until then, and most certainly the ones I was in need of in order to reach any kind of happiness and fulfillment in the future.
The worst romances taught me the most and a lot of great things came immediately after them, regarding all aspects of my life. That was really a shock for me because I was thinking that the only thing I learned was how to yell louder than the other one in the room, how to keep getting stuck in the same patterns and making the same mistakes. But no, I’ve learned to identify the things I don’t want, which are actually as important as the ones you do want to attract, all about my own limits and needs, making positive changes, taking actions and being more aware of any early signs of trouble.
How I actually did it?
My friend’s advice was to get one good out of every bad thing that ever happened. Hey, if you get 2 good outcomes, you are already winning by a long shot, right?
Being the overachiever that I am, I didn’t stop at 2, I increased the pain of going through all the bad memories in order to get more goodies out of them, just like a juicer. So I tried to get at least 3 positive things from each “misfortune”. The funny thing was, once starting, I couldn’t stop with the good things.
What I actually learned?
- Although my writing skills were always pretty good, my communicating skills were never a strong point, because I was doing it wrong, even for the right reasons. For example, I wasn’t saying what I really want, out of fear of upsetting the one I love, out of extra care and patience, letting him do whatever works for him, taking it slow and overlooking a lot of things, because I loved him too much. That backfired because I only was piling frustration until I couldn’t take it anymore. He had no clue, so he kept doing what we thought best and I gave him no chance to change something between us. Needless to say, we grew apart out of too much love and consideration.
- The worst job experience in my life gave me exactly that: experience! I learned in a few months what others might acquire in years and so I became confident and at ease at any job interview that followed, knowing that if I survived and managed to have resulted in that form, I can certainly be able to learn and strive in any other given situation. Needless to say, I had a lot of job offerings after.
- I identified broken patterns and behaviors that only got me in trouble and made a mess out of everything, like the habit of looking for other sources of attention, when I was not getting what I wanted in the relationship. Instead of doing that, I know now how to see the signs earlier and take action in solve the problem before it’s too late
- The latter point brought a lot of guilt and taking over the entire responsibility when things got bad. I know now to blame smart now since I no longer put all the bad on my shoulders, I also add the good: what I’ve tried, how much I worked, how much I changed, what I gave in the relationship, how beautifully I loved, etc. Put the good and the bad together!
The list could gone on for ages, since there were a lot of things to unravel, but let’s get to the practical part so you can do it as well.
How to apply it yourself?
- Pen & pencil, friends!
– Old school approach to every important decision or process you undertake! It creates a physical connection between the hand and the brain, because this will take some work on your part. Let the energy flow and be conscious of the things you write down and change in your mind, from now on.
- Sit in silence
This is of major importance, so please do it right. Don’t get distracted by others, noise, your phone, the tv or others stuff. It’s a moment of true honesty with yourself, of seriously soul digging to find out all the changes that you might have missed, that might have appeared with no further notice and that you somehow took for granted, for quite some time now.
- No rush
Take your time, this is not something you do in hurry, you might even want to leave this thought to wonder for a few days in your mind and access new resources for finding out the good in everything.
- Make a list
Write down all the situations that brought you sorrow, by name, date, however, you find appropriate. This is something you do just for yourself, it’s not a show-off, or a show and tell so it just has to make sense for you.
- Real commitment to yourself
Seriously get to thinking of everything that you learned, changed, made differently from that point on. It’s not just about writing stuff down, it’s about the AHA moment of realizing what you gained, what you acquired and made your own from that day on, of what you decide to make happen and of the action you took.
- Ask the right questions
In order to find the right answers, ask the right questions. Here are a few examples:
- What have I learned?
- How did I get to that lesson?
- What were the signs along the way? What did I miss?
- What can I do differently?
- What did my gut say & when?
- How did I manage to move on?
- Why was it so important for me to get over it & change?
- 5 for 1
Getting to the hard part: for every bad thing you must find at least 5 good things that happened after. The first couple of things might come easy, but the tricky part is to go deeper and find out more. That is where the real process begins. In my case, I found myself not being able to stop, and writing down so many things, making connections, uncovering the truth and revealing the fears.
- Extra effort
Getting them out and writing down is just not enough if we are looking at them like you would at a pretty picture. You have to make them a part of you, just like until now the bad things that happened where all that you measured yourself by. Enjoy every new good thing you discover and make the most out of this experience.
- Change the pictures in your mind
Now that you have a 5 to 1 score for every troubled moment, you need to make the changes in your mind as well. So that that breakup no longer means you’ve lost the love of your life, but it changes to the chance to meet other people, get out of your comfort zone, make better choices, learn to anticipate the troubles ahead and better communicate you really want in a couple. It might be the reason you decided you deserve more, lost weight, got into shape, got the extra drive, time and energy to focus on your job and got all the amazing results. See, this way we are no longer talking about a down moment, but about what great things came after it. Anything sad can potentially be a wake up call, a blessing in disguise or shift in the way you see, feel and enjoy life.
- Turn this good feeling into a habit
Feel proud of all that you have accomplished until now and for all the goodness that is about to come your way if you stick to this new pattern of seeing things. Start applying this principle to all aspects of your life and you will soon have so many things to be thankful for. Make this change and the quality of your life will improve almost instantly.