‘Everything happens for a reason’ is a phrase we hear thrown around all the time. Some people dismiss it as a cop-out and some people whole-heartedly believe in it.
I’m one of those whole-hearted people.
I choose to believe that everything happens for a reason because it’s rooted in hope and curiosity. Not disappointment and cynicism.
In moments of pain, when it’s the hardest time for me to accept something that’s happened and I find myself in an endless cycle of asking “why?”…I force my mind back to that phrase. Not because I believe it in the moment, but because I know that I’ll believe it in the future.
To be clear: I don’t follow this thought process blindly. I believe it because I’ve looked back on enough experiences in my life that I can confidently make it my truth.
Let’s be even more clear: This DOES NOT keep me from feeling resistant or depressed at the time. It doesn’t keep me from feeling hurt or lost. I struggle with it. But it gives me a foundation. It gives me a jumping off point that encourages clarity and gives me a path to the big picture.
When you look back at past experiences that you considered to be negative, try to track the events that occurred because of it. The causes and effects. Did it drive you to make a change in your self or your life? What opportunity were you available for because that last one fell through?
Sometimes it takes a few weeks or even a few years to realize that you were always on the path to something better. You’re not necessarily supposed to see it at the time.
It’s part of your journey.
When anything ‘bad’ happens, make it your goal to realize as quickly as possible that this is nothing but a hiccup in your journey. Take a deep breath, hold it for 3o seconds, ask a friend to scare it out of you, hate the hiccups for a few minutes, and then keep it movin’.
I say ‘bad’ in quotations because of this simple truth:
Sometimes the things that we perceive as negative in the moment, aren’t negative at all in the long run.
You may not see it today or even next year, but SOMEDAY you’ll be existing in a moment where you are completely present and content and you’ll be able to look back and take stock of how that ‘bad’ thing led you to be where you are now. Led you to this better circumstance and mindset.
Let’s break it down with a few examples:
There’s a reason you lost that boyfriend/girlfriend. That’s not who you’re meant to be with. For men: “Bye, Felicia.” For women: “Boy, bye.” These are your mantras.
There’s a reason that person you went on a date with didn’t call you back and it has nothing to do with who you are. It has everything to do with you two not being right for each other in the long run. The right people will call back and make you feel hot.
There’s a reason you didn’t get that job. That job wasn’t meant for you. That job is part of someone else’s journey. Know that not that getting that job was because you’re still finding your way to the opportunity that is all yours.
Personal crazy example: One time I was at a city intersection and when the light turned green, my stick shift got stuck. I couldn’t get into 1st gear and was holding up the line of cars behind me. I’m frustrated. Embarrassed. Cursing my car for being inadequate. A few seconds later, a car comes speeding through the opposite intersection, running its red light, going at least 60 miles an hour. Had my car worked as it should’ve when that light turned green, I would have been right in the middle of that intersection when that car sped through.
There’s a reason for all it. We’ve just gotta be a little patient.
But patience sucks sometimes, right?
Two things that I do for my own sanity:
- I keep a list of good things that happen to me.
- When something negative happens, I either try to look for the solution OR (if it’s just plain out of my control) I try to accept it.
*Side note: Notice how I used the word ‘try’ heavily on that second point. ‘Cause that shit is hard sometimes. Accepting something that feels negative to you leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It might take a minute to get around to that acceptance part, but it’s all good. Pop a mint and drag your mind towards it one day at a time.
The ‘List of Good Things’ is a simple little document that I encourage you all to keep in your phones because you want to be able to reference it anywhere and at anytime. Take a few minutes before bed one night a week to jot down all the good things that have happened to you. From the biggest of achievements to the smallest moments that made you smile.
When you’re hitting a low, open up that list and read it. You’ll get hit with a little wave of feeling flashbacks from those good times. Soak ’em in for a minute and watch how all of a sudden you’ll be up to your neck in gratitude.
Gratitude is a great way to start thinking in terms of the big picture.
“What do I have?” vs. “What do I think I should have?”
Why cause yourself extra stress by fighting what is? I’ve tried it. It’s wasted time. Live in the moment, do your best, and try to have a little faith that you’re EXACTLY where you’re supposed to be right now.
Think of your life as a story. You’re the main character with all the free will in the world that gets to choose how to respond to all the plot twists thrown your way everyday. You can’t control outside forces or people, but you get to choose your own adventure. Your own reactions. It’s alright to let it bring you down when you can’t help it (because you’re human and sometimes it very well might bring you to your knees) but then, as quickly as you’re able, drag yourself back up and start that next chapter.
Root for yourself. Your story is still being written.