Take a step back and ponder the fact that every day there are people losing their loved ones too soon, friends stabbing friends in the back, horrible things happening to good people, qualified workers losing their jobs, and families fighting to keep their heads above water. When dark clouds seem to not want to go away and the weariness seems to settle in, the very first question we tend to ask ourselves is why.
Why did God allow this to happen? Why are these people trying so hard to hurt me? Why did this person have to pass away? Why would someone I love be so hateful? Why am I going through this? Instead of harping and crying why me, take a step back and ask why not me?
Who Do We Think We Are? What makes us so special, so invincible, and so entitled that we don’t qualify for suffering, loss, and lack? What makes us so amazing that we believe we won’t ever experience betrayal from people we consider friends or family? What makes us so bulletproof that we won’t encounter people who aim to hurt, lie on, defame, and destroy us? What gives us the impression that we deserve some perfect life? What makes us think bad things couldn't happen to us? Whether it's pride, naivety, or ignorance that drives us to imagine such things, the real world is quick to show just how flawed our thought processes are. What we should be asking is what is all of this trying to teach us.
Maybe the loss is teaching us that we are capable of living without people. Perhaps it’s the deep pain that comes from having a close person intentionally hurt us that validates that their season is expired and that the weight of carrying them needs to be put down. Ever thought the negative behavior executed by others only confirms the potential we have and exposes the evil, weakness, and emptiness that rots within them? As painful, messy, and heartbreaking as the trials and let downs of life may be, they are the very things we can either use to engulf us or enlighten us.
The Placement Principle
If we’re truly humble and insightful, then we have to accept that we are also human. As humans, we are all susceptible to triumphs, trials, and traumas. No person has ever remained untouched or unaffected by discomfort, transition or change. Imagine a life with no suffering, no life altering situations, and no darkness. As wonderful as it may sound, it would be a life with no balance, no motivation, and no empathy. After all, those are very things that shape a person's passions, views, and levels of awareness. So why do things happen, we ask? Because they need to. Every person, situation, and obstacle crosses our path to teach us something and give us an opportunity to grow in some capacity. Sometimes when things appear to be falling apart, they're actually coming together. No matter if it's unexpected, difficult, or foreign; when life and circumstances change, we change. When we change, our mindsets follow suit and so much more becomes revealed to us: what really matters in life, our ultimate purpose, and the necessary steps to become our best selves. Therefore, it would make perfect sense that we would painfully see who we should and shouldn't be, who should and shouldn't be in our circle, and wrap our minds around some decisions before we can actually move forward. Masks will come off, covering will be set, and closure will take place. We will begin to understand that rough valleys weren't simply for pain or punishment. It was all about alignment and pruning.
Open Eyes and Open Arms
Though it's often difficult to let go of the rejections that crushed us, the weight of the people that hurt us, and the losses that left us broken, we have to. We will miss the opportunities and gifts waiting ahead of us, if we continue to hold the magnifying glass down to the pains behind us or the distractions around us. As long as we hold on to the burdens of bitterness, we will never have space to harness or see the beauty of our blessings. Be thankful that we not only got through difficult times, but also thrived in spite of them. Be proud of the endurance, strength, humility, and understanding we gained and focus on the fruits of them all.
Accepting and adapting to the ironies of life is like realizing all beautiful flowers have to experience rainy days to grow. We have to feel pain to seek the cleansing freedom in joy, we have to experience death to truly appreciate and see the futility of life, and we have to lose friends, motives, and mindsets to find our truest selves. Every peak and valley has the power to teach us something, even if we don't originally understand why it's there or think we deserve it. At the end of the day, it's not what we're looking at. It's how we look at it.