Finding the Silver Lining

The first time I heard the idiom “silver lining” was on a movie called “Silver Linings Playbook.” I just enjoyed the movie without even bothering to know the meaning behind the title. The movie plot is about a guy in his mid-thirties living with his parents and wanted to rebuild his life with his wife after losing his job. He was also looking for ways to get out of a mental health institution. It was all about a journey to find the silver lining within his miserable life. After watching the movie though, I always knew the meaning of the term but in its Amharic version. Silver lining indicates looking for a hopeful prospect out of a bad situation and focusing on the bright side. It takes a whole lot of courage to look and find the bright side of any misfortune. How can a person going through a heart-sickening situation or a tragedy manage to find consolation and say there is a bright side to my suffering?

Is there a hopeful prospect out of losing your job? Is there a positive side coming out of a break-up or a divorce? Is there “a break in the clouds” from getting sick? It all depends on the circumstance that led to the outcome and the personality of the person bearing all the bad things. For instance, getting fired from a toxic work environment for a minimum wage might be a blessing under disguise. Maybe it’s an opportunity to find another area of work where you are appreciated and valued. Or maybe it gives time to reflect on yourself and find what truly makes you happy. Regardless of the prime factors, finding the silver lining is getting one step closer to healing. It is a painful, therapeutic personality that we all need to possess and pass on to generations.

Some people automatically start searching for the silver lining without enduring any pain. It is an admirable quality of human nature but caution needs to be taken before searching for the bright side of mayhem. Rushing to find a silver lining is the same as running without stretching. I have witnessed people who relapsed after jumping to find the bright side because they didn’t deal with the bad situation in the first place. There are many venting mechanisms to deal with bad things such as talking to someone about the situation or conversing with oneself to understand how and why it happened, or even crying. Whatever the mechanism is, it’s better to stretch and engage with emotions before going to a quest for the silver lining.

A recent bad situation that is happening in this time of the year is a worldwide pandemic called COVID-19. A significant number of people are dying everywhere. People are losing their loved ones. Social distancing has led to self-isolation behind closed doors. People are heartbroken because churches and mosques are closed. Therefore, in these dire times, finding a hopeful prospect out of such a situation is essential. The best place to find the silver lining in this time is within us. The social routines that we all follow are somehow predictable and redundant. It’s school, work or social engagement, which always involves immersing ourselves in a group. We don’t usually have the time to be alone and enjoy the presence of no one.

Therefore, let’s find that bright side of self-isolation that this pandemic dragged upon us. It is a perfect time to explore what we truly aspire to be and even start the journey for the aspiration. It is time to read anything that we always wanted to read. It is time to pray to get rid of the fear. It is time to focus on the body, mind and soul. Start exercising to fill the body with enough energy to ignite the mind. Read or write to engage the mind, and meditate to calm the soul. Focusing and working on our self is the silver lining during the prolonged self-quarantine.

Written by Bethelhem A. Aberra