Someone very close to me likes to say, “Everything happens for a reason.”
While I like that statement, I tend to ascribe more to the Sarah Conner school of philosophy that says, “There is no fate but what we make.”
Every day, things happen around us and to us. It’s a natural human reaction to seek out the patterns in our environment, to create order from chaos. When something completely unexplainable happens or that just seems extremely coincidental, it’s comforting to think that the universe is stacking the deck in our favor — either to give us a gift or teach us a lesson.
Life happens. This much we know is true. It happened yesterday. It’s happening right now this very moment and it will happen tomorrow.
So instead of thinking that everything happens for a reason, I find more value in discovering a reason for everything that happens. This stems from the same order-creating imperative in my brain that causes someone else to think everything happens for a reason, but my spin on the phrase drives me inward to reflect on my shortcomings and consider my strengths.
Sometimes shitty things happen to us that we can’t control. We lose jobs. We fear losing people. Sometimes we just have a bad day. When those things happen, we have a choice. We can dig in our heels and wonder why all this misery is being heaped upon us, but this attitude puts me into severe fix-it mode. I struggle and fight to fix the problem, or at the very least create conditions that will protect me from feeling the pain of this problem again.
That never works for me long term, and usually creates more problems in the short term. During times of turmoil, the best thing I can sometimes do is pause, breathe, and reflect. Did I do anything to feed energy into the turmoil/this problem? Whether I did or didn’t, what can I take away from this experience to be a better, more centered person today?
If it were easy, they wouldn’t call it life. I can struggle and act out of fear when faced with adversity in my life, or I can listen to myself and to those around me. It’s damn hard to remember but very, very important to find that reason that I will use to stop acting in fear and start living with compassion and love.