When my Mom and I started planning the new site for The Silver Lining News, we decided to start a tradition that every staff member should include their own silver lining story, beginning with ourselves. But we quickly realized how much easier it is to identify the silver lining in other people’s stories than it is to identify it in our own stories.
So many random, little tender mercies grace our lives every day, but how long do we remember them? It may have been someone that gave up a cab or parking spot and consequently, you were able to make your critical meeting, or an officer that gave you a break when you accelerated to the doctor’s office with a feverish kid.
Silver linings, we think, come in many forms: favors, flukes and just being darn lucky sometimes. And that’s why, when looking inward, it may not be so easy for you to recognize a silver lining, much less know how to tell the story. Mrs. S. Hall, a book reviewer, observed this too in a review of the novel Marian; or, a Young Maid’s Fortunes,published in The Dublin Magazine, Volume 1, 1840. “As Katty Macane has it, ‘there’s a silver lining to every cloud that sails about the heavens if we could only see it.’”
An SLN how-to:
At SLN, we’ve developed our own simple formula to help you identify the silver lining stories in your own life:
- Give it time:
If you can’t see your silver lining in a situation yet, you are probably still in the middle of the event. Give it time for things to evolve and change before you try to look for your silver lining. Your best silver linings are most identifiable from the occasions that have past.
- Keep a daily diary:
This is not blogging or journaling. A diary is shorter than journaling and is more appointment and event oriented – it’s a list of what happened during the day. It will jog the peripheral things that happened around your daily tasks.
- Take a past-life assessment:
What happened in your home, school, sport, job, career pursuits, and relationships; what are the significant things in these areas that were game changers?
- What did you learn from the experience? What was the take away?
- Identify those people who were there: what did they bring to the game or event?
- What gratitude did you develop for the experience?
Maria Niles, contributing editor at BlogHer.com, and Hollye Jacobs, speaker, nurse, social worker, child development specialist, and author, also says that developing gratitude is the turn key to identifying a silver lining, especially in difficulties when silver linings are harder to see. Here’s their take, and a couple of others, about grasping your silver lining story:
- Don’t look at only the happy endings:
The general meaning of the proverb “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining,” according to The Phrase Finder, is that every bad situation has some good aspect to it. But at SLN, We understand reality means that sometimes there isn’t a happy ending or even something that is necessarily good.
Rather a silver lining is anything redemptive which elevates something to a level above what it would be otherwise. Silver linings can grow, they can diminish, but at the very least, they are a sigh of relief that holds value and potential. Grief experts say sometimes seeing that takes a significant amount of time — after the “clean-up” and healing phase following a loss.
One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from the medicine man, Ketut Liyer, in “Eat, Love, Pray.” He sees that Felipe has a broken heart from his divorce and says, “This okay. To have broken heart means you have tried for something.” This is perspective, which we believe, in and of itself, is good and moves us forward.
When you find your silver linings, please share them with us. You may ask: “Who cares about hearing what my “sigh of relief” was? – something as insignificant as that? Let me answer that with another question:
Who cares that famous fashion model Kendall Jenner’s dog is pooping all over Kris Kardashian’s house and it is extremely upsetting to her that her daughter Kendall, who owns the dog, is too busy to take care of it?
Well, apparently quite a few people were interested in this episode of ““Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and other episodes. The series attracted 2.3 million viewers in 2013, according to USA Today. Please. If the Kardashians’ story about doggy diarrhea can hold an audience…well, then! We think that’s because it just comes down to the everyday human experience and somehow, we don’t feel so alone in it when we see that even affluent celebrities deal with the same poop in their lives that we do.
Your silver lining story might just be the light bulb to someone out there who is saying: “If I could only see it.”
-Linda T. Kennedy