Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

A silver lining is a metaphor for optimism as it emphasises the hopeful side of a situation that might seem gloomy on the surface. The common expression “every cloud has a silver lining” means that even the worst events or situations have some positive aspect. We seek positive meaning through the negative.

The origin of the idiom is  traceable back to the year 1634, when John Milton penned a poem called Comus. In it, the metaphor appears as: “Was I deceived or did a sable cloud Turn forth her silver lining on the night?”

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As we head into our summer break following a turbulent 4 months of crisis, chaos and uncertainty… as we recover from the upheaval of our lives as we knew them… as we restore from the intensity of being locked down… as we reenter the world following social isolation… as we recalibrate our emotions following the loss, the grief and the trauma that some have experienced… it is an opportunity for us to reflect on what we have learned.

Although our natural tendency as human beings is to list everything that was negative, to dwell on what went wrong and to discuss what could have been done differently, a positive reframe to reflect on the things we can celebrate, the knowledge we have gained and the experiences we have shared will benefit us more in the long run.Silver Linings 2

For 17 weeks we have lived differently. So I have challenged myself to find 17 silver linings from my Covid-19 experience:

  1. I have slowed down and enjoyed the step change.
  2. I have spent a lot more time than normal in my home.
  3. I have enjoyed my garden and watching the change in seasons.
  4. I have not commuted, I have hardly driven in fact.
  5. I have explored my local area and found new places to explore.
  6. I have been on lots of walks and enjoyed being outside.
  7. I have written every day and have a collection of 90 #DailyWritingChallenge blogs.
  8. I have had more time to think and reflect.
  9. I have reconnected with old friends and enjoyed hanging out, virtually, with them.
  10. I have made new connections and fostered new friendships.
  11. I have cooked daily fresh meals at home rather than eating out regularly.
  12. I have saved money by not driving, not eating out and not shopping.
  13. I have launched my own business and enjoyed developing my brand/  website.
  14. I have developed new partnerships for future collaborations.
  15. I have organised and hosted some successful virtual events.
  16. I have been coached and I have coached others.
  17. I have found inner peace after an up-and-down 12 months.

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We have experienced a lot of clouds over the last few months. We have lost things during Covid-19 but we have also gained things. We have struggled, but we have survived. We have also learnt a lot and we need to consider how we capture our new found knowledge. We need to record our experiences  and anchor our insights so that they are not lost. We need to imagine how we will share this part of our collective history in the future, to our grandchildren perhaps. We need to capture the #RainsbowsOfHope that cracked through the darkness and brought the light.

Some ways you could do this:

  • Start a journal over the summer to reflect on what we have experienced.
  • Write a letter to your future self to remind yourself what we have been through.
  • Create a memory box and fill it with key items.
  • Curate a lockdown playlist of the songs that will trigger memories in the future.
  • Build a collage of key images and words.
  • Record yourself describing what life has been like.
  • Plant something as a reminder as it grows.

If you struggle to find the silver linings in situations you may want to read this article and try this activity.  This article captures 5 global silver linings from the pandemic.

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As we head into the summer season let’s fill our hearts and minds with hope, positivity and optimism for what our futures hold. Let’s find and share our silver linings. Let’s focus on what has brought us joy and amplify the positives to drown out the negatives.


Published by Ethical Leader

Leadership Development Consultant, Facilitator, Coach, Speaker and Writer. Experience of teaching schools, initial teacher education, mentoring & coaching, diversity and equality. Passionate about integrity, ethics and values.

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