As a teenager, I witnessed the personal havoc a friend experienced after a breakup with his girlfriend. He had planned his whole life around their future together. She loved him, but was not ready to commit to life together, and she needed to explore the world first. He was devastated. I felt helpless because I could not do anything to relieve him of his suffering and I made a vow to learn how to be of service. This is what inspired my career.
It also inspired me to go on a quest to find out how people get through potential devastating situations in life. I interviewed whoever was willing to talk with me, asking: Have you ever dealt with something potentially devastating to you and, if so, how did you manage it? The quest resulted in the formulation of five core beliefs that I have used as guides throughout my life.
I have a vision of a world in which we see and bring out the best in each other. This core beliefs that "there is greatness in everyone" helps me to do my part in creating such a world. Do your core beliefs support the kind of world you wish to create? Do you know what kind of world you wish to create?
The first of these beliefs is a recognition that the human spirit can rise above tragedy and even turn tragedy into triumph. This is a great theme in literature and movies. Suffering has its place and can pitch us into a black hole of pain. But it is typically not the end of the story. We turn loss into lessons, roadblocks into renewal, and injury into inspiration. The actual wording I used hold this idea at the time was: “there is something of value inside of all people that is always there and you can always rely on it.” Later, I simplified this idea to: There is greatness in each of us.
I believe there is greatness in each of us and the greatest gift we can give another person is our belief in their potential. When we look beyond limitations and recognize the unbounded spirit that lives in each person, we call forth the possibility of that greatness. There is a longing to be recognized in this way, to be seen with angelic eyes. When we hold to the vision of greatness in another, we become the advocate for the Beauty, Strength, and Grace that is at the core of each of us and we then serve as guardian angels of the soul.
Some say this is a fool’s errand, that looking for potential is a set up for disappointment because people inevitably fall short of the mark. Falling short is not the problem. The problem is settling for our limitations and letting the field of our greatness go fallow. Missing the mark of potential need not be a cause for disappointment, but a cause to celebrate because it means that we rose to the challenge and, in that effort, we made ourselves and each other greater.
The act of turning tragedy into triumph is now recognized by science as a fundamental human capacity
and it is referred to as "Post-Traumatic Growth."
When have you turned tragedy into triumph? How did you do it?
Please share your comments and thoughts below.
Photo, Prose, and Recital © 2016 Nick LeForce.
All rights reserved.