It’s time for another journey into the land of clichés, to uncover the deeper meaning behind oft heard and possibly under explored sayings.
Todays cliché is: it’s always darkest before the dawn. The quote is attributed to theologian Thomas Fuller and is usually thought to refer to having hope during the dark times, that they will not last forever and relief will soon come.
In reality, it is darkest at midnight and not right before the dawn. This fact lies at the heart of my issue with the common interpretation, which makes it seem as though both the darkness and the light are things that happen to you and that you have no control over, just as you have no control over the sun rising and setting.
This attitude is too passive for me. I think that it is darkest before the dawn because people often have to hit rock bottom before they decide to change things!
As human beings we often interpret hardship or struggle as bad things happening to us, when really those things are necessary for us to achieve our true potential. Whether that be physically speaking, where the struggle of working out and controlling our diet lead to a better attitude and level moods as well as looking better and having more energy. Or emotionally speaking, where through almost losing someone you have increased gratitude for that person’s presence in your life or when going through hardship you have increased support from friends and family. Or intellectually speaking where study pays off with a larger share of wisdom and understanding or hard work pays off with a more satisfying and fulfilling career.
Without darkness there would be no light and vice-versa. Ultimately whether you walk in the light or the dark is up to you and your attitude, if you want the light you will seek it and you will strive to banish the darkness. But at the same time keep in mind that the darkness is necessary and if it has descended upon you perhaps it has done so for a reason. Perhaps there is some lesson you need to learn or some mistake you should try to avoid repeating. It is only by learning from the darkness that you can regain the light.
So the next time you experience a dark night of the soul don’t simply wait for the dawn to come; change, struggle, learn and find something in the darkness to help propel you toward creating a new and brighter dawn for yourself!