Two Sides of the Same Coin

Although it can certainly feel like it when you’re in the thick of it, you were not put here to suffer indefinitely. Whatever you’re facing, Abe Lincoln was right – “This too shall pass.”

You were put here to live a life. But whether you’re happy about it or not, life – a real life – contains a certain amount of sorrow.

Like me, your first response to this news might be to spend the next few years thinking “Okay, so I’ll just figure out how to avoid sorrow at all costs, then. To be “out” whenever he knocks on the door. To forever be one step ahead. How do I do that?”

Well, I won’t stop you from trying, and I couldn’t even if I wanted to. But what I can do is nudge you gently towards an alternative way of seeing things.

I remember the first time I ever read the following passage. It was over eleven years ago in a piece by Steve Pavlina titled Follow Your Heartbreak, and it has haunted me since. I took the hint there and then that maybe there was more to lose by trying to avoid my sorrow at all costs than there was to gain.

Eleven years on, and several experiences on both sides of the coin later, I can confirm this to be true: joy and sorrow are two sides of the same coin and you cannot have one without the other.

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Kahlil Gibran – “The Prophet”

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