Bad Situations - the10principles

  • Positive things grow out of negative experiences
  • My eating disorder improved my life
  • Bad situations make us brave

Bad situations pop up in all our lives. When they happen it can feel like there isn’t a way for things to get better. But time passes and we heal. And if we take time to look back we can find, much to our surprise, the good in difficult experiences.

Jian Ghomeshi was fired from CBC a year ago. It feels like longer. Chatelaine Magazine asked 7 women how that day changed their lives. While each woman’s response gave an important perspective, CBC Radio’s Piya Chattopadhyay’s reflection resonated with me the most.

What Piya learned from bad situations

While that period was difficult for Piya, she recognizes positive things grew from the experience. She said it made her talk more openly with her children about why her work is important and how to be kind to others. She also realized it made her stop, think and take stock of her life. But what I love most was when Piya said:

I’m a much better broadcaster than I was a year ago — I have been much more human on air, I wear my emotions louder.

My life is better because of bad situations

These sentiments got me thinking about my eating disorder. When I was finally healthy and found my way back, I was initially overcome with regret. I thought it was too late to catch up to where I would have been if I hadn’t been preoccupied by weight. But as time passed I was able to understand the experience better. I can appreciate where it took me and everything I learned along the way. Interestingly, the outcome I’m most grateful for is similar to Piya Chattopadhyay’s.

Bad situations taught me 3 things

My illness made me more empathetic. I didn’t understand my own experience for years. So how can I understand other people enough to lay judgement? We’re all trying to figure out the world, ourselves and where we fit in it.

I also learned how to problem solve. Until then I was determined to get better alone. Isolating myself meant there was no way to learn I had all the wrong information. When I found myself down a dark hole I had no choice but to ask for help. I started talking about what was going on and lots of people gave me advice. Through trial and error I got better and learned how to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Now I know being open to learn and share is a strength in any situation.

Being able to throw myself into what I’m passionate about is the best lesson that came from my complicated relationship with food. Now I take risks and make mistakes while I navigate new territory. Before I was limited by the idea of perfection; too afraid to mess up to get out of my comfort zone. Discovering how much more I can achieve when I give myself permission to fail, has opened up the whole world to me.

In short, a difficult period in my life helped me build empathy, be open, and trade in the pursuit of perfection for passion. All these attributes have made me more human. And maybe that’s what it’s all about. Maybe everything we go through is about becoming kinder and braver at being our true selves.

Learn how Piya and 6 other women grew from bad situations in Chatelaine Magazine.

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Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it

What are the best things you’ve learned from bad situations?