As I sat there, on the phone, listening as my friend discussed the various challenges she is currently facing in her life, I became very interested when she said, “This isn’t supposed to be happening to me. I’m supposed to be living a different life. I’m supposed to know my purpose in life.” I can not begin to tell you how many times I have uttered those very same things to myself. How many nights have I spent tossing and turning, thinking those very same thoughts? How many hours of my life have been consumed with thinking: “I’m on the wrong path.” “I should be doing something differently.” “This shouldn’t be happening to me.” Or perhaps even more dramatic, “I’m going to die without leaving my mark on this world.”?The answer to that question, far too many hours, that’s how many.
As we continued on with our conversation, I was reminded of one of the most powerful quotes I’ve ever heard. In A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, he says, “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.” Most of us try to control what is happening to us or believe that what is happening to us should not be happening to us cause it hurts, or it creates fear, or it doesn’t fit into what we consider to be our life plan, and that denial of what is, creates even more unrest. More suffering.
So what is the key to moving past this denial of what is? Acceptance is one way. Accepting what is as if you have chosen it for yourself. If you are able to do this, accept the unacceptable, it then becomes acceptable, and that’s where peace lies. For myself, I find it more helpful to dig deeper. I want to understand why. Why has this come up in my life? What belief system created this? What is the purpose of what I am experiencing and how can I grow from having this experience? When I ask myself these questions, I move straight out of victim mode and straight into a place of empowerment. I’m now taking charge of the situation instead of fighting what is. The most important thing to remember is there are no accidents, everything that happens in our lives serves a purpose. It’s for us to figure out what that purpose is, and that’s where the growth comes from.
The first thing I like to look at is my belief system. What beliefs, are creating the thoughts, that are creating my reality? What you put out there, definitely comes back to you, so it is crucial to look at this very important piece. For instance, I used to believe that I was unworthy of love. As a result of that belief and the thoughts that stemmed from that belief, I often found myself in really destructive friendships and romantic relationships. This was a consistent pattern in my life, until I began dissolving that belief. Once I was able to recognise that I actually am worthy of love and I got busy putting thoughts that reflected that belief out there, I observed a shift in my relationships. Some of my relationships with others changed and became more loving as a result, and of course, some of my relationships drifted away because I was now a different person, unable to maintain a relationship that didn’t reflect this new belief system I had put in place. It really is incredible how powerful beliefs and the thoughts that are created by the beliefs are. How they have the ability to create our reality. With this knowledge, it puts us in a much better position to create the life of our dreams.
I also like to look at what the purpose of having this experience is for me. Obviously, one purpose is to encourage me to alter my belief system, but does it go further than that? Absolutely. As a spiritual (not religious) person, I recognize that every soul has a purpose. Finding out what that purpose is, can be awfully tricky sometimes. I’ve spent years trying to figure out what my life’s purpose is and I know, with all of my heart, that all the hardships that I have experienced, all the pain, the suffering, it was not all for nothing. It was not a curse. It was a gift from The Universe. My calling in life is to be of service to others. I am only able to do this because I have walked a mile in their shoes. This puts me in a better position to help others on their journey. So, in my case, that was the purpose for the hardships I have faced and I’m thankful that those hardships have given me the opportunity to follow this very rewarding path.
It isn’t always easy to view life in this way. When we go through painful experiences or face challenges that seem impossible to deal with, it can be difficult to go to a place of reflection. It’s quite natural to fall into victim mode, but I have come to find, in my own experience, it really doesn’t help, and actually tends to cause more suffering. I have also noticed that remaining in victim mode, tends to bring more of what we don’t want into our lives, so it is crucial to step out of being the victim and reflect on why this is coming up in our lives in the first place. It is with this knowledge that we are able to recognize that there is a blessing somewhere hidden amongst all the chaos we are experiencing, and when we find that blessing we can say, “Thank you Universe for all of it.”
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” Eckhart Tolle