Everybody has a story to tell. When somebody reveals to you part of their story - it might only be a chapter (in the form of a tale lasting only 2 minutes) - you end up looking at them differently. Their story gives them character and colour. It gives them an edge which you weren't aware of before.
Recently somebody told me a chapter of their story.
I was shocked and disturbed, but I couldn't help but feel empathy and compassion for this person, knowing now what they once went through. I was also inspired by them because of how they rose above it.
We all know the saying, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger,' but what if what doesn't kill you, makes you wish you were dead?
What this person told me had the enormous potential to drive somebody down a slippery slope.
'I used it to my advantage,' they told me. 'I was just so grateful to be alive. "Bring it on, life!" I would say. People have ended their life because of similar circumstances - but not me. I'm stronger because of it. It's life. You've got to deal with it and learn from it. I wasn't life's victim, I was just part of what unfolded.'
What can you squeeze out of a difficult situation? Even if it's the tiniest drop.
Let that drop of whatever, whether it be hope, wisdom, bravery, optimism, knowledge, love or inspiration, and allow it to grow into a puddle.
Then into a stream.
Then into a river.
And let it flow through your veins and into your life and into everything you do.
Allow it to be the positive driving force behind your words and actions.
Use that drop to help others grow.
When my friend shared their experience with me, I was reminded of this little story, which you might already know.
Twin brothers. Both brought up by their violent father who was an alcoholic. One of the brothers was happy, optimistic and an inspiration to others. The other brother was miserable, an alcoholic and also violent, just like his father. When asked why he was so miserable, he said, 'My father was an alcoholic, what do you expect?' When the other brother was asked why he was so happy and inspired, he said, 'My father was an alcoholic, what do you expect?'