Does every cloud really have a silver lining? Absolutely, says Betty Rollin, a two-time cancer survivor and author of Here's the Bright Side: Of Failure, Fear, Cancer, Divorce and Other Bum Raps
. Betty says people who have faced adversity—whether it's an illness, natural disaster, divorce or job loss—wind up with something of value that they didn't have before: They gain perspective, feel stronger and better about themselves, and are happy to be alive, she says. "They're grateful in a way that other people aren't," Betty says. "Try feeling grateful and grumpy at the same time—you cannot do that!"
Jean talks to Betty about how to look on the bright side of your life:
- Never underestimate the value of "nice," Betty says. Stop gravitating to the bad men, the bad friends and the bad jobs, because life is too short. "When you've been kicked in the pants by life, you want to be nicer to yourself," she says.
- Betty says the bright side doesn't appear right away. If you're fired, for example, you'll probably feel rejected and down for quite some time. But afterwards, Betty says you'll likely wake up and realize that you weren't in the right job, which will allow you to find the perfect fit.
- Take your time. You don't have to be brave right away, but in time, Betty says you'll be able to pick yourself up. "You get to a point where you get tired of being a loser and you want to win something," she says.
- Be patient, Betty says. Know that you will find something in every experience that will push you forward—something that will change your life for the better.
- According to Betty, major events like an illness or divorce actually allow you the freedom to reinvent yourself and become the person you've always wanted to be. Use it as an opportunity to make changes in your life.