Yesterday in Acting class we were watching a documentary on the Group Theatre. The Group Theatre was an ensemble theatre group that was formed during the early 1930s and had many famous figures we now recognize as Gods in the theatre world.
In the video they were talking about how Lea Strasberg adopted Stanislavski's method of using one's own personal emotional experiences to trigger emotional responses in a piece of theatre. As you can imagine the process is not quite fun because it requires digging up emotional memories that you'd rather not revisit and using it for your work.
Although this is hard to do, it works. I've had instances where I would be doing a monologue or a piece of theatre and thought I was doing it well. Then I have revisited those pieces and ironically had gone through similar situations that the pieces were about. When I performed them again they were completely different and yet so much easier and real. I now knew what I was talking about.
As an actor, your most horrible, hurtful experiences are probably your most useful in your work. Experience like falling in love, getting hurt, losing a loved one, etc. But this also goes for everyone in the world, our most horrible experiences are usually the ones where we become better people. We may become stronger, we may become happier, we may be able to let go, we may be able to open up, we may become smarter, we may not be afraid anymore.
I don't really know why this crossed my mind, but it did. I guess our bad experiences, along with the good (of course) make us who we are, they let us know we are human, and most importantly they remind us to feel and experience emotion and that is a wonderful thing.