Today is the darkest day of the year, astronomically speaking.
Most people eschew the physical darkness, that's why we invented torches, lamps, and flashing strings of Christmas lights. Most people eschew emotional darkness too, that's why we invented self-help books, Zoloft, and maybe even this blog.
But I'm here to tell you that the darkest day isn't so bad. Whether it's physical or emotional, the darkness is the best way to make room for the light.
Darkness strikes fear in the hearts of most. The dark of night makes it difficult to see what lies on the road ahead, eliciting the dread of uncertainty. The dark of night is the hour of the nefarious, spurring the worry of danger. The darkness of emotions are some of our most depressing moments, reminding us of the worst that life has to offer. And according to science, the dark of the Winter Solstice creates a negative physical reaction in our body leading to SAD -- seasonal affective disorder -- which unironically makes you feel actual sadness.
But there’s always a glimmer of hope.
Despite the well documented problems associated with darkness, I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. I think the best way to get out of any dark period is to look for the light of the silver lining -- and there’s almost always a silver lining.
As the adage goes, it’s "darkest before the dawn.” That’s true in both the real world of the sun and the metaphorical world of our heart. The impending dawn is the silver lining.
So if today is the darkest day, that means it can’t possibly get any darker. If today is the darkest day that means it will only get brighter from here on out [silver lining]. You could see your darkest moment as the saddest time of your life, or you could see it as the moment things changed for the better [silver lining]. It’s all about your perspective.
The darkness also teaches us a lesson in appreciation.
Imagine you live in a world that is bright and sunny all the time. In this world you have no concept of darkness because you never get to see or feel it. Imagine how difficult it would be to truly enjoy the cozy warmth of the sun when you’ve never felt a bone-chillingly cold night.
Darkness makes us grateful for the light. Sadness makes us grateful for joy. And once you realize this you start to appreciate any kind of darkness for the perspective it awards you [another silver lining].
Nothing, not our personal world or the big picture, exists in a vacuum. What each of us knows is made up of our experiences and our perception of the great big universe swirling around us -- the sun and the moon, engagements and breakups, friendship and fights, birthdays and funerals, ups and downs, light and darkness.
How you react to any part of life is up to you. You get to decide if you let the darkness get you down or use it to make the light that much more powerful.
Choose to bask in the light, even on the darkest day of the year... especially on the darkest day of the year.