Contrast. It is a term used frequently in the creative world.
Art, writing and film almost always need to contain contrast in order to be impactful. The most stunning works are those that have the highest level of contrast. The Count of Monte Cristo, for example, is memorable because of contrast. If the protagonist had not lost everything he had in such a dramatic fashion, his rise back to prominence would not be quite so gripping. In fine art, contrasting colors and empty spaces might be used to create a similar, visually contrasting effect. The same goes for movies and music. These moments of contrast are powerful and cause the consumer to take a deeper look into why the contrast exists.
I believe that this effect is deeply important.
To stop, look, and analyze why the artist decided to do the things they did. But even more so, I believe we can take this same idea and apply it to the contrasting experiences that we live through on a daily basis.
In therapy, I often tell my clients that the goal of our work is not to attain happiness, but rather to be able to experience happiness along with the entire spectrum of human emotions, to understand that happiness is not a permanent destination to be arrived at, but rather a moment or series of moments to be enjoyed when they present themselves. If we were to be happy all the time, we would find it difficult to appreciate that happiness because we have nothing to compare it to.
While I don’t necessarily think we need to seek out hardship, I believe it has a particular importance in being able to appreciate and be grateful for what one has. Without hardship we would simply have the expectation that things are going to be perfect, and if they were perfect all the time we would have a hard time being grateful because we would have no basis of comparison to a time when things weren’t perfect. A total lack of hardship is pretty unlikely, as most of us have gone through something difficult at some point in our lives and through those experiences we learn the grit and resilience necessary to make it through the next challenge. Those who avoid hardship or failure rarely grow into people who will take risks to make their lives better. Failure and success are in direct contrast, and you would be hard pressed to find many successful people who did not experience failure at some point in their career.
For many, failure can be the most motivating factor for success.
It is fundamentally important that we look back at our past challenges, hardships and failures with a sense of wonder and not a sense of judgment or victim hood. Understanding why we have made the decisions we have made lets us know ourselves better, and allows us to make better choices in the future. We are able to look back and see where we came from and how we have evolved. This is a lifelong process, and being able to see the contrast allows us to appreciate how far we have come, have gratitude, and be prepared for whatever the future might bring.
I provide therapy and counseling for individuals. My style integrates various techniques, but I tailor my approach to each client’s unique needs. I am committed to helping people that experience anxiety resulting from trauma, work-related stress, legal issues or major life transitions. Together, we will work to calm your mind and create lasting change.