I went looking for inspiration today by Googling “Inspirational Quotes”. One response from Google was a series of ten great quotes, mostly by famous or well-know people. Most may be familiar to you, but they all beg some comments or expansion.
Today’s quote is from Helen Keller – “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
I think we’ve all seen or heard the similar quote that “when one door closes, another door opens”, but the Keller quote is really good advice about not dwelling upon the door that just closed.
I’ve posted a few times here about moving on from adversity, a loss or just disappointment. Each represents a door that has just closed – a defeat or setback, a loved one lost or maybe an opportunity not seized. They are all the same in the fact that they are in the past. Those doors have closed. Many of us get caught up in looking at those closed doors and agonizing about what we could have hone differently to perhaps influence or change those outcomes. Yet there is no way to change what is passed. We only have the ability to control how we react to the that past event and to look ahead for the door that has just opened.
Another aspect of Keller’s quote is its use of the word “happiness” to describe the doors. One might substitute the word contentedness for happiness and come away with the same meaning. We all get content with things the way they are and discontented when things change, especially of they change unexpectedly. The loss of a loved one is especially disconcerting because a big hole is left in our lives and there may seem to be nothing that can fill that hole. The loss of a job or a disabling illness or accident also result in changes to the way things were that leave us discontented and unhappy. Events like the COVID-19 pandemic have such a dramatic impact on our lives that many can’t cope with the disruption of how things “used to be.” They just sit and stare at that closed door.
The beneficial aspect of Keller’s quote is that is challenges us to look for that newly opened door. Yes, life is different now; however, that does not mean that it cannot be as good or even better than it was before. One might even discover that they can be happy with what they have instead of spending all of their time working for, or towards, things that they don’t have. An ending to something presents the opportunity for the beginning of something else. Perhaps you realize that the high-pressure and high-earnings job that you worked so hard at for so long wasn’t as rewarding as you once thought and that m ore time with family and loved one is more important. And, the loss of one opportunity, not matter how disappointing, always presents another opportunity that you have a fresh chance at – just don’t stare at that old door that closed for too long or the new opportunity may pass you by.
There is little that can reduce the pain of the loss of a loved one; however, the memories that you have accumulated of them over time do not go away and offer some comfort. The door that opens for most is the opportunity to grow your love for others family members or perhaps even new partners. Your memories of the lost loved one means that that particular door is never completely closed and you can still peek in whenever you need to “see them” again.
So, stop staring at the doors that might have closed in your life and instead look for the new doors that have just opened. Contentment and happiness come to those who look for them and go through those new doors. What doors have closed in your life? Are you dwelling too long at those closed doors? What new doors might have opened in your life? Are you looking for those new doors?
As the old TV game show “The Price is Right” used to say – “what is behind door number 2?” You have to look for the newly opened doors and then you have to go through them. It turns out that your new life is behind door number 2.