So… here it is almost March, and I have just finalized my New Year's resolution. See, I am a procrastinator, but since I accept that and am not resolving to stop procrastinating anytime soon, it's OK that I just figured out my goal for 2005.
The point of New Year's resolutions isn't that they start on the first day, but that they do start; that it doesn't matter how long we actually pursue them, but that we did, even for a little while, make the effort.
That right there, is a great example of my resolution – to only remember the good, to only regard things with positive light. It would seem easy enough to do so, and sometimes it is, but if you really stop to think about it, we rarely remember the good as much as we should. Sure, we all love to remember the Kodak moments in our lives, those picturesque times we could not forget if we wanted. That is easy. But I bet that within all those unforgettable times there are significant memories that when we look back on bring up the same negative feeling we had when they happened. Times when our character was criticized, in which we felt a pain like no other, when we thought our world could never go back to how innocent and secure it once was.
Moments like these – bad times, horrible words of exchange, harsh realities and heartbreaking trials – happen to the best of us, and while I also believe they should not be ignored, there is something to be said for how we take them in.
Why is it, when someone gives us a compliment, all we can do is shrug it off, not really taking it to heart? Why is it, when we find ourselves having a crush or meeting a new friend, we put a guard up, even if we don't mean to? Why do we get nervous to share something publicly that means so much to us, that we think is incredible and want people to enjoy?
Because somewhere back there in our memory lies a bad moment, comment or experience that makes us remember that things aren't always happy-go-lucky. Hearts take awhile to mend, and trust takes time to restore. Compliments aren't always sincere, criticism is easier said, and some people, no matter what, will only agree to disagree.
Bad moments in life are hard to overcome and even harder to forget, and a lot of the time we remember them for a reason. Some of the greatest lessons learned are through the hard way, and those should not be forgotten. Milestones within our life often revolve around difficult situations, and it's almost impossible to ignore those. Bad things may happen for reasons, or sometimes just because, without any explanation or cause. But it is the lessons and milestones that come from them that we should focus on, not the negative connotation that tends to follow along. It is the light that seemed to shine down on us again that should be remembered, not the cloud that had been raining on us before. While we may not be able to forget the hard times in our lives, it is the good that comes from the bad that we need to focus on remembering.
Criticism, even if constructive, can always seem harsh and be taken personally no matter who said it and why. Heartache often feels never-ending; fear may seem inevitable. And sometimes it feels as though our ability to trust will never be fully restored. But what we need to remember is that people can only criticize if they pay attention, and only the worthwhile things are given a piece of our time. That heartache is how we know we've been touched, fear awakens us to the challenges we need to overcome, and that deception enables us to define trust and recognize its significance.
So remember next time, no matter how bad something may be, it is always possible for good to come from it. We just have to rise to the occasion, never forgetting that often the most precious jewels in life are hidden among the rough.
Kelly Hagenah is a senior speech communication major. Her column runs every Thursday in the Collegian.