Whatever is happening TO you, is also happening FOR you.
Catchy, right? Sounds good. Seems likely to be true. And might explain so many of the things in our lives that don’t go as planned.
If the things that happen TO us, are in fact happening in order FOR us; to learn valuable lessons, flex unused emotional muscles, discover alternative narratives about ourselves, or just generally help us rediscover ourselves…then perhaps we can give ourselves a break, and not feel the need to ‘react’ in our moments of stress, hardship, or chaos.
In the world of business and policy, every action is boiled down into its relative ‘theory of change’. If this…then that. If I make this business decision, then I will ultimately reap increased profits. If we alter this practice, then our systems will function better.
So if we apply the theory of change to this rather enlightening concept, it would look something like this. If I am suffering right now, then I must be learning something that will contribute to my future happiness.
If my world is falling apart, then it must be in the service of creating an event better one (after the dust has settled).
If I’m feeling rejected, or betrayed, or silenced, or powerless, then it is because I am learning the skills I need to ensure I don’t find myself in this dark place again.
What happens to us, informs us. It might be painful. It might be life-altering. It might land us flat on our backs, and force us to start over entirely.
However, that new start, that altered life may also yield us an improved version of ourselves (if we allow it), and the potential for deeper meaning and happiness that can only result from seeing our lives through clear eyes, accepting of our flaws and hiccups rather than hiding them or ignoring them.
The struggle to acknowledge and accept this wisdom comes from the fact that it arrives in such a bitter to swallow pill. Pain and hardship are hard teachers. And yet, they are indispensable. And that’s why our efforts to numb, escape, avoid, avert and otherwise circumvent the wisdom of pain delays our growth and our progress.
Whatever is happening TO you, is also happening FOR you. Remember that your pain has a purpose, and breathe deep as you are carved into the new you by its sharp and purposeful edge.
Fighting against the pain results in a distorted you, an unfinished sculpture that didn’t benefit from the artist’s full attention. Averted pain manifests in future pain that will ultimately come calling at your door in new and even more disruptive patterns, people and events. You pain is happening for you.
The key then, to surviving and thriving has everything to do with the way we receive our pain and discomfort. In receiving it, we are not wallowing, we are not paralyzed. Instead, we are taking it in, and actively probing our discomfort for the pearls of wisdom and truth that will adorn our future jewels of progress and understanding.
In receiving our pain, rather than avoiding it, or numbing it away, we are positioning ourselves to be active listeners to the clues our experience is leaving for us.
In receiving and therefore processing, we can be students, instead of victims.
Victims are impacted. Victims are helpless. Victims are left barren and lost.
Students are empowered. Students see opportunities. Students are left with new tools that will help them to do better next time around.
What happens to us, also happens for us.
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