“You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events.”

– Joel Osteen

A young man at a convenience store is working the manager’s night shift; everything is going as usual when a masked man comes in and demands money. Without provocation, the young man receives a severe beating. After the robber gets his money and leaves, EMTs rush the young man to the hospital. After routine checks including a CAT scan, the young man lies awake in his hospital bed.

With a disposition of pity and anger toward a man who beat him so severely for no good reason, the young man wonders why. Shortly thereafter, a doctor comes into the room and tells the man that the CT scan discovered a brain tumor. Luckily, it was caught just in time and is non-fatal. It can be removed safely.

This is the true story of a young man named Jeremy Willey, a married father of three from Phoenix, Arizona.

They said that had this not been found and soon around the time that it was found, that he probably just would have gone to sleep one night and not been able to wake up.” Jeremy’s wife said.

In our limited capacity, we human beings really don’t know why things happen to us the way they do. When something bad happens, we feel victimized – at times rightfully so.

It’s important to remember that things are not always as they seem.

Truthfully, there are blessings in some negative events. Indeed, what we interpret as negative could indeed provide us with a message or a blessing that turns out to be very positive and lifechanging. Psychotherapists, psychologists and other professionals agree: there are actions we can take to equip us to turn more negatives into positives. Among them are psychotherapy, meditation and prayer.

Within an interesting study at Washington University in St. Louis, researchers show that when negative emotions arise but can turn into positives. This suggests we can transform anger into creativity, adversity into growth and development, shame into compassion, pessimism into productivity, envy into ambition, and loss into gratitude.

Additionally, the study shows how negative thoughts and emotions present an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Essentially, we can change our relationship with negative emotions and experiences by feeling these things without judgment.


The Takeaway: whenever you experience something negative in your life, how you react is the most important thing.

If you are grateful and thankful for the good things in your life, you equip yourself to turn negatives into positives. The secret is in being present, breathing, and loving yourself.