del alma: Dichos of Encouragement

Ay, mama. When you’ve walked through your own version of hell and survived the singe, it is hard to remember to keep your big boca closed about the benefits of implosions when friends are in the beginning of their own crisises.

You know the pat answers like: “Everything happens for a reason” and “Every cloud has a silver lining.” It is hard for me not to say these things, which can sound so pithy.

When someone I love is struggling, I seriously have to bite my tongue to not bust out the: “Lo que sucede conviene.” And even more so, my personal favorite dicho in tough times:

“No hay mal que por bien no venga.”

Translation: Bad stuff always brings some good.

That just is not, I repeat is not, what the person in crisis, the one you’re trying to encourage, wants to hear. But it is true. ‘Cause, really, otherwise it wouldn’t be a well-known dicho, right?

OK, sometimes, it totally is not applicable and some happenings are so beyond bad that saying such a thing to someone is unthinkable.

But, take a good look at all the bad stuff that ever has happened to you. Looking back, I bet some of it wasn’t even as bad as you believed it to be. And, for the most part, you’re OK now, right? Maybe even better than OK. You have gone on to luchar another day, better and stronger and smarter.

Some of you reading this may be thinking I am una loca descarada for even suggesting that good can come from bad. But, from where I have sat, it has been so true, and so true more than once.

I share this personal truth with friends who are struggling, especially at work and in relationship. The tough times push us forward, force reevaluation, and sometimes the outcomes don’t match what we originally wanted, but at least we are not stuck “back there” anymore.

Not too long ago, I listened to a friend cry on the phone. I shared details of my own tough times to offer strength and proof of good things to come. And I did say “No hay mal que por bien no venga” because, with this friend, I could.

My wish is that my friend heard what the age-old proverb offers: encouragement and light.

“No hay mal que por bien no venga.”

Y tu?

How do you encourage a friend in need?

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By Carrie on August 15, 2011 · Posted in dichos + del alma

24 Comments | Post Comment

Tia Mirtha says:

Oye, mi sobrina, I am a firm believer that “No hay mal que por bien no venga” Now that I am older.. no vieja… I can tell you that el dicho is perfecto and so right.

Todo pasa por una razon, what you think today is the worse thing that happen to you. In the future you will look back and say “Thank you God”..

Posted on August 15th, 2011

Monica says:

My husband and I have gone through a lot, including the loss of our home in a tornado. Looking back, I see now that even though we were devastated at the time, wondering “Why us?” that now I see how that “catastrophe” led to a series of events that has brought us to where we are now. Everything we’ve done, every decision has led us to this point. And although there are a few things I wish I could change, I don’t know if I would.

Without a doubt, I know that EVERYthing happens for a reason. Sometimes we just have to wait to figure out what that reason is.

Posted on August 16th, 2011

Yoly says:

Like Monica, I believe that everything happens for a reason; a good one hopefully. This also reminds me of all the times I didn’t listen to mami and then had to heard that I told you so.

Posted on August 16th, 2011

Patty says:

Thank you Carrie! We have a friend in our circle who is going through a tough time and we are at a loss at how to help her and be supportive. Your post y el dicho may have just given me a way to reach her. Gracias!

Posted on August 16th, 2011

Mercedes says:

I think listening goes a long way and pointing out examples of good in the situation.

Posted on August 16th, 2011

Lisa Quinones-Fontanez says:

This was beautiful! It’s easy to sit back and think “woe is me” but we often need to be reminded to be thankful for what we have. Thank you!

Posted on August 16th, 2011

Carla says:

Love this saying! I’m an eternal optimist and I truly believe, deep into my bones, we’re never given more than we can handle. It might royally suck and be the damn hardest, tragic thing in the world but getting down and out will not get you anywhere. Love this saying!

Posted on August 16th, 2011

Bren says:

For every Latin friend, I use that very dicho b/c mami says it to me ALL the time, which if I think about is entirely too often–suggestive of always being in a “bad” place…. for my non-Spanish speaking friends…hmmm. too much to pin it one thing… it’s just a different culture and i’ve not found that one dicho that sums all up as passionately as “no hay mal que por bien no venga!”

Posted on August 16th, 2011

Laura Tellado says:

This is wonderful, Carrie! I think we’re all guilty of saying nauseatingly optimistic things to try to cheer our friends up. I know, I’ve done it before. Now what I try to say is, “Yo sé, te entiendo, rezaré por ti.” Sometimes that’s all you can do!

Posted on August 16th, 2011

rachel says:

I went through a very ugly time a few years ago. I needed it. Yep, I needed it. I learned a lot about myself. I grew stronger. I’m always there when my friends need me. I listen with my heart. My goal as their friend is to make sure they know they will pull through.

Posted on August 16th, 2011

Carrie says:

Your positive attitude always inspires, Tia.

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Carrie says:

It is awesome to look back and see the big picture, isn’t it?
I am with you on “catastrophes” leading to new places. We went through a tornado too. Horrible, but we all healed.

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Carrie says:

“Te lo dije!”
LOL

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Carrie says:

You are welcome, Patty. Gracias a ti and good luck to your friend.

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Carrie says:

Listening and not trying to “fix it” si?

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Carrie says:

Sometimes, we gotta have a “woe is me” day and then kick into action. Hope you’re feeling better, Lisa.

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Carrie says:

Keep the optimism, Carla. You will be rewarded.

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Carrie says:

I wonder why the dichos work so well with us, but not with the non-Latinos?

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Carrie says:

“Te entiendo” is a great thing to say. I think we all just want to be heard.

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Carrie says:

Amen, Rachel. I feel the same way. It is why I share some of my story with whomever needs to hear it. xo

Posted on August 17th, 2011

The Wise Latina Club says:

Guess what I did last night? As a friend opened up to me, she did what I do, began the self-flagellation, the I-shouldn’t-complain-b.c-at-least-I-have-my-eyes-and-millions- are-blind, the brushing off your sadness, disappointment, frustration to not appear to be an ingrata. She looked at me with the please-let-me-just-keep-talking look. SO, sometimes you just need to zip it and listen, all while sending your friend: No-hay-mal-que-dure-100-años-ni-cuerpo-que-lo-resista vibes!

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Uchi says:

I also love “no hay mal que por bien no venga!” I truly believe in this and I think the same way.”.Looking back you feel better and stronger and smarter”.

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Ana L. Flores says:

This is definitely one of my most-used dichos and the one guiding light in my life. Everything has a reason for being!

Posted on August 17th, 2011

Presley's Pantry says:

I am a firm believer in bringing positive energy into your space even in the bad moments of life. I live by these words on a daily basis.

Posted on August 17th, 2011