The Most Important Thing You Can Do With A Negative Experience

I’ve received numerous emails or comments from people who have a desire to start a blog or give back in some way, but they don’t feel like they have anything unique to say. They doubt their own abilities and what they’ve learned simply by living.

I remember that for every tough time I went through — every situation where I thought that I was the only one and I would never get out on the other side — being able to see that someone else had gone through the same (or similar) thing and survived made so much difference.

Over time, I realized the most important thing you can do with a negative experience.

Wondering what the point of life's negative experiences is? Learn about giving back to others, what I think is the most important thing you can do with these experiences.

Personally, I think the most important thing you can do with a negative life event or experience is use it to help others.

You would be surprised at how helpful your experiences can be to another person. Maybe they are going through the exact same situation, maybe they need to hear an outside perspective, or maybe just seeing that another person has struggled gives them hope to get through. You honestly have no idea what will help someone else.

Hitting my bottom was such a contrast to where I saw my life heading that I HAD to look outside the box for meaning or I’m not sure I would have gotten through it all. Once I got to the other side, I asked myself what the POINT was. Why had I gone through all of that and struggled to pull myself out? The answer was almost immediate. To give back to others. To raise awareness. To show that there is a way through addiction if you put the work in. Not just for those in it, but for family members and friends as well.

This approach is not exclusive to addiction, but to the myriad of negative life events that we all go through at some point in our lives. A quick, but certainly not extensive, list includes:

  • Relationship struggles
  • Death of a loved one
  • Being laid off
  • Having a chronic disease
  • Failed business
  • Eating disorders
  • Mental health
  • Financial issues
  • Infertility
  • Coping with an injury

Not only does sharing these hard times help others, it also helps the person going through them. The next time you encounter a negative life situation, take a step back and ask yourself what you can do with it to help someone else or give back in some way.

I’m not telling everyone to go out, start a blog or a YouTube channel, and yell it to the mountains. Tough experiences can be personal, sensitive, and not everyone is going to want to talk in great detail about them. Even if you open up to just one other person, the healing and processing can start.

I’m all too familiar with suffering in silence. It’s a dark and lonely place to be, so next time life gets tough, think about letting some light in. Reach out. Talk. Share your experiences with others, even if you’re not on the other side yet. Think about how you can take your own negative experience and turn it into a positive.

  • Write poetry
  • Start a blog
  • Start a podcast
  • Volunteer
  • Share at self-help groups
  • Update others as you work through issues
  • Write ANYTHING
  • Live as an example of change

What do you plan to do with your negatives today?

Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.

Also, a big congrats to Heather for winning the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day gift basket!!

Questions:

  • How do you view your negative experiences?
  • Have you ever used your experience to help others?
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27 Comments

  1. June 2, 2016 / 5:46 am

    TOTALLY agree. I started a blog so that I could demonstrate that life with chronic illness doesn’t have to be lived in the shadows. I could be more overt about what I went through, but at the end of the day, I want to keep that part of my story in the fine print. That, to me, is how I live as an example.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Unstoppable : The Strongest Woman I KnowMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:24 am

      You’ve helped a lot of people by talking about it which is awesome!

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:24 am

      Isn’t that the best??

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:25 am

      Exactly! It’s always been helpful to me to try and find a positive in whatever it is.

  2. June 2, 2016 / 7:23 am

    This is so true–one of the reasons I started a blog was because I wanted to share the TRUTH about certain issues. I wanted to show the good and the bad. I hope to help someone out there who may be feeling the same way. <3
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Secrets from an IntrovertMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:26 am

      That’s the awesome thing about blogging – we all seem to be motivated by sharing our stories and connecting to help others out. Love it!

  3. June 2, 2016 / 7:41 am

    I agree! Though I started a blog to share a positive experience (training for my first race), I definitely share the negative stuff in hopes that it helps others.
    Bri recently posted…2016 goals update: Six-month check in!My Profile

    • Tammi Lewis
      June 2, 2016 / 4:47 pm

      Hi I started my blog for the very same reason..training for my first race. Now the training coach uses it for others in his program. Who would have thought!

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:26 am

      I can tell you it definitely does!

  4. June 2, 2016 / 8:46 am

    This is spot on. It’s the reason I started my blog in the first place! My whole life goal is to help other women recover from their eating disorders through my writing. Anorexia is not something I’d ever wish upon myself but I realize now that I went through it in order to help others.

    There is always a positive in every negative situation, no matter how bad it may seem. Thanks for the incredible reminder this morning <3
    Amanda @ Real Life Recovery Diary recently posted…treat yourself the way you would treat others: a post for world eating disorder dayMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:27 am

      Absolutely! I love it. It’s always so important to show others that it’s possible to get better. That’s so powerful!

  5. June 2, 2016 / 12:22 pm

    I’ve had a few negative experiences over the years and in that at that moment, i thought were going to affect me for the rest of my life. overtime though i’ve learnt to come to grips with it, and now want to help others who might be going through the same thing. Even if i talk to one person who might be going through the same thing, it’s totally worth having dealt with it and being able to ‘give back hope’ so to speak.
    Beverley @ Born to Sweat recently posted…Salted Gluten Free Walnut BrowniesMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:28 am

      Yay! That’s so so awesome. And your fitness posts definitely help motivate me for sure 🙂

  6. Paula
    June 2, 2016 / 12:34 pm

    My experience with anorexia was what compelled me to get involved with Girls on the Run! During my recovery, I learned so much about self-love, body image, and healthy attitudes towards food and exercise; but I wished I had learned those things at a much younger age. Working with GOTR means I get to share these lessons with girls BEFORE they have to learn them the hard way.

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:29 am

      That’s amazing. I’m working on a whole book of what i wish I knew when I was younger. It’s so frustrating that it took so long to sink in!

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:29 am

      Thanks Rachel! Hopefully it helps!

  7. June 2, 2016 / 1:07 pm

    This is actually one of the reasons why I don’t regret my eating disorder and why I wouldn’t go back and change anything about it if I could. It’s taught me so much and I really feel like I’m a better person than I was going into the whole thing. Being able to help people is an amazing thing 🙂
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…it feels so good to be back! (ToL#185)My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:30 am

      Absolutely! I don’t regret anything I went through either bc without all of it I wouldn’t be where I am today.

  8. June 2, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    Yes, I totally agree with this!
    I think this is why I’m so open when things don’t always turn out as planned, because I KNOW I’m not the only person in the world who has had that happen to them and maybe my experience can help others.
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Currently: June 2016My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:30 am

      Totally. It’s so helpful to read when someone goes through the same thing.

  9. June 2, 2016 / 4:12 pm

    YOU GOT it! Sharing what you’ve learned from struggles seems to be actually one of the best ways to heal and to bless others. I’m grateful that you are doing both!
    Emily recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: Travel and TrustMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:30 am

      Thanks Emily! Same to you!

  10. Tammi Lewis
    June 2, 2016 / 4:50 pm

    Great post. I totally agree. A great way to take a negative and turn it into a positive; and allow yourself to move forward in the process.

    • erinsinsidejob
      June 4, 2016 / 6:31 am

      Thanks Tammi!

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