Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Every problem is a gift

I was just watching Tony Robbins on his blog talking about problems being gifts which we need if we want to grow and develop as human beings and it reminded me forcefully of one of the poems in my second collection of poems, Family and More – Enemies or Friends? , where I talk about the people who have had a big influence on my life (the collection was initially inspired by the fact that I come from a mixed background: German mother, English father, meeting in Germany at the end of WWII, and the fact that for me none of my German relatives could ever be an 'enemy'). The poem in question is about a former boss – one of those bosses from hell I'm sure many of you have also experienced! - someone, who was much more like an 'enemy' to me than any of my German relatives could ever be. I finish off the poem like this:

Is she my hated foe, my enemy,
this woman, this boss
with whom I share no commonality?
How can she be?
She's a citizen of the same country!
But her actions, thoughts and beliefs
are anathema to me -
they make the soul cringe
and leave it icy cold,
making it retreat
into a dark black hole.
If she isn't my enemy, is she my friend?
What? Hardly!
What is she then?
Perhaps a valuable lesson in life,
from which I can learn and grow.
On second thoughts,
maybe she is more my friend
than I now suspect or know.

Copyright © 2008 Helena Harper

With hindsight, I realise that my former 'boss from hell' was a gift. From her I have learnt the value of treating people with respect, dignity and compassion and I hope I have come to understand the motivation for her actions better. The whole experience was necessary, perhaps, in order to make me a more understanding and forgiving person.

Have you had similar experiences? Do you consider problems to be gifts or are they just a pain in the neck? Are problems negative things for you or do you agree that something positive can be drawn from them, no matter what? I'd love to hear what you think!

1 comment:

  1. Tony Robbins philosophy probably has its roots in Chinese culture, where the symbol for the English word "crisis" is exactly the same as the symbol for the word "opportunity".

    Although I now primarily work as a photographer, I spent many years working in psychiatry and as a psychotherapist - and have written extensively on that topic. I would encourage clients to see their current difficulties not simply as an opportunity for change, but as an indicator that their life had not been as they would wish it to be for perhaps quite some time, and that the difficulties themselves were a signal that some things needed to change.

    Difficult times, therefore can be seen not as threats or hurdles, but as opportunities for a re-evaluation of our lives, per se.

    Stephen Power