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april showers + may flowers: positive thinking in tough times

Back in the day -- long before I even knew about the concept of positivity -- I learned the phrase: "April showers bring May flowers." I always thought of it as a silly thing my mom would say, one of the sayings she'd plucked from her Irish background and sprinkled almost daily in my life. For a long time I ignored this cheery saying, thinking it was just a way to excuse the mood-altering rain that always seemed to find its way into my life during the fourth month of the year. But, the more I think about, the more I realize how important this saying is -- and how further it goes past storm clouds and budding blossoms.

When you're going through a tough time, usually the last thing you want to think about is the good time to come. When faced with unhappiness or negative emotions, it can be hard to see through the rain clouds to a time when sunshine will once again brighten your life. However, looking past those clouds to a brighter, better day is exactly what you need to do when times are tough. I used to be irritated by the notion that, when things are tough, they'll someday get better, but having been through some really tough storms and arriving in a place of sunshine, I know all too well how important focusing on the positive can be.

Below are some of the reasons why it really does benefit you to celebrate the showers (and storms) in your life. Hard as it might seem at the time, focusing on what's good -- whether it's appreciating what you still have right in front of you or acknowledging the cliched-but-true notion that things will get better -- will transform whatever you're going through into something that you -- yes, you! -- can actually handle.

 

Why You Should Embrace the April Showers of Your Life
 

1. You teach yourself to be positive, no matter what. When you find yourself staying positive through a difficult time, you'll feel amazing. Getting to the point in your life -- or in the way you think about your life -- where you can take a negative situation and see the good in it is one of the best feelings. Embracing the difficult times in your life will, without you even realizing it, teach you to be positive no matter what comes along. 

2. You grow stronger with every single storm you weather. With every single difficulty you face in your life, you become a little bit stronger. It's hard to realize this when you're actually going through a tough time, but no matter what the outcome, you gain strength from every hardship. And that's a great reason to embrace the struggles you face in your life. Every single one of them is making you stronger. 

3. You need the tough times to bring out the best in your life. I'm sure you've heard it before: "Without the rain, there can be no rainbow." Cliche? Yes. True? Yes! Without the really tough times in your life, it can be hard to appreciate all of the awesome things. It would be great if we could just have awesomeness at all times, but the tough times really do help us to see (and be grateful for) what we have in our lives. 

4. You will uncover new things about yourself -- and your life. Another cliche, but true, face is that when you're struggling to make it through a tough time, you'll learn a lot about yourself and your life. When in the midst of a difficult situation, this fact can be hard to wrap your mind around -- but it's one of the greatest things about a tough time. Whether you realize it initially (or years later), you always learn something when you struggle to get through a difficulty. 

5. You can be refreshed and revitalized by a spring rain. Just like the flowers begin to bloom after April showers, you too can be refreshed and begin to blossom after a tough time. It might not happen right away, but with time, you will see that any difficulty you've struggled to overcome has left you feeling oddly renewed. Though you may feel beaten down at first (as I'm sure those flowers' stems do when the rains come), you'll eventually begin to show your true colors, blossoming into a new self after the storm has passed. 

 

There are many reasons to doubt the power of an April shower. As someone who seriously dislikes the rain (literally and figuratively), I know how hard it can be to see the benefit behind a downpour -- or even the benefit of a seemingly ageless phrase. But the benefits are there. I've seen them, having found myself nearly drowning in a downpour a time or two and miraculously finding myself stronger, smarter, and more grateful after the storms eventually passed. Difficult as it might seem, you too can find the benefits in whatever storm you're facing. The next time you find yourself faced with a storm in your life, come back to this post and remind yourself that many good things can come from a little rain. The April showers in life might be tough to weather, but waiting on the other side of a rain-soaked time is a serious dose of sunshine -- and a better, stronger you.


How do you weather the April showers in your life? 
Have you experienced any of these benefits from weathering
difficult situations in your own life?  

Comments

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I love this! There was a time in my life when I was pretty much consistently pelted by "April Showers." Just when I had finally dried off, the rain would come again. But, I started looking for the positive in these negative situations, and I promised myself that I would at least learn something from everything I went through.

Bad things are going to happen to us, there's nothing we can do to prevent or control it. But, we can control how we react to those things when they do happen. Why not find a silver lining in the cloud? Life is too short to let ourselves drown in negativity and self-pity. Great post!

> You need the tough times to bring out the best in your life
This reminds me of the saying, "It's not what happens to you, it's how you respond."

I like to think of it as, it's not what's on your plate, it's how you eat it.

Sam - Thanks! I'm glad you love it! It's great that you've experienced what I'm talking about in this post. Bad things will always happen, but we can choose how we respond to those things. Even when it's hard to see, there's always a silver lining.

J.D. - I love the plate/eating analogy! I've never thought of it that way before but that's a great way of putting it!

I definitely discover new things about myself when things get tough. I learn that no matter how bad things get, I can handle it. I also am surprised by new and different opportunities or ideas, new interests or new people. Bad things happen (and that sucks) but I think they'll bring you to a better place.

Molly - Facing hard times can really show us what we're made of and they can often present us with surprising facts about ourselves. It's hard to realize sometimes that bad things can lead us to good, but it's so important to find the positive in whatever negative situations we find ourselves in. Thanks for your comment!

I just came across your blog on Twitter - I LOVE IT!

You are right about how the showers and storms mold us. I don't want to bore you with my life story, but in short, when I went through an unexpected divorce, I was faced with starting my life over completely from scratch (no money, lost my home, etc.). After getting past the initial shock, I became almost hyper-focused. Something occurred inside of me that pushed me to work HARDER, and break through whatever limits I ever imposed upon myself.

I think that if it had not been for the adversity that occurred within my life, the impetus for change would not have been there. So, I'm grateful for everything that's happened in my life. Yes, I seemingly took a step back, but it allowed me to take a HUGE step forward. So, as I see it, things are as they should be.

This article is right on target because it is filled with truth. I'm so glad I found your site :-)

A. Irvin - Yay!! I'm so glad you found Positively Present!! It sounds like you went through some really tough times and you did the best thing you could do -- made the most of your situation. Not everyone does what you have done, making something positive out of the negative, so it's something you should be very proud of. I'm so glad you found the site too! Keep staying positive!

Thanks for this awesome post! We should always think positive to live healthy and live a happier life. I recently got this amazing happy art from an equally happy artist couple (over at http://www.theartofhappiness.net) and it just makes my life brighter whenever I see it hanging on the wall. Amazing how a simple artwork could do that.

Renz - You're welcome! I'm glad you agree that positivity can make a big difference when it comes to living a healthy live. It's great to have inspiring and happy images around us. It's great that you're using art to bring happiness into your day!

Thanks for this awesome post!

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