"There is meaning in all things. But are you paying attention?" ~ Yasmine Mogahed
Yes, I am writing a post very soon after my last one, but as I've mentioned before, blog posts have a strange healing property to them. And, I need some healing right now. So, here it goes. Whether you are going through a difficult time, are experiencing some heightened, intense emotions, or are curious to learn how to find meaning in all situations, then this is the right post for you! Welcome--I hope you enjoy it.
Perhaps it is a woo-woo thing to say, but I truly believe all things happen for a reason. I always have, ever since I was young. Whether to teach us something, reveal something to us, to cut people we no longer need out of our lives, to show us the right path, etc., I believe all things occur for our best benefit.
If you don't believe this quite as I do, then perhaps we can reframe situations as though they are case studies that we can learn from--this helps me greatly, personally. Maybe you don't believe getting dumped has happened for your greater good, but we can learn lessons from anything, whether digging them up from the ash with our nails, or having them present themselves to us. Maybe this person wasn't the "one" for you, or they weren't all that nice to you, but you didn't realize that until this moment, or you need to be single, your own best friend, in this phase in your life, and so on.
Finding meaning, or lessons also helps to ease our consciousness and assist us in reaching a place of acceptance, and as well as experiencing an excitement to move on. For instance, back to the breakup example, wallowing in feelings, thinking unkindly of our ex, feeling angry at all that went wrong, feeling stupid for not realizing it before, won't do anything other than keep us stuck, festering in these murky, intense feelings with no plan to rise back up. By learning from the breakup, reframing it into a learning lesson, we can work toward a better version of ourselves.
Another way learning lessons can assist us is in the future, when a similar situation is placed in our path; we have now learned what to do in these situations, or perhaps we have even prevented similar situations from even happening so we don't make the same mistakes. For instance, in my personal life, something happened that was quite similar to something that happened in my past, which I didn't handle well at all and later regretted. I learned from that past experience and found meaning in it so that when a similar situation occurred down the road, perhaps to test me, I was able to handle it with a level head and look at it with a logical eye. That's when an idea for this blog post bloomed in my mind--I realized that finding meaning, something I did solely to make myself feel better, helped me grow and assisted me in approaching situations later down the line.
The following is what to do in order to learn from a situation to, in turn, grow. Hopefully, it assists you, as it has assisted me.
1) Reevaluate the situation.
Take some time to sit with yourself and understand where things went wrong. Really look at the situation from beginning to end, whether it was a breakup, an argument in a grocery store with a stranger, a small irritation that hasn't left your mind quite yet, and so on.
Questions to ask yourself after a hard situation:
What did the other person do to hurt me?
Why does this situation hurt me?
Why is this a big deal to me?
Could this reaction be a trigger related to any past issues/unresolved trauma?
How did I react?
What first went wrong? When did things begin to go downhill?
How can I heal through this?
What do I need right now?
Removing any emotions and frustrations, looking at the situation logically, and asking real, introspective questions will assist in picking out the lessons.
2) Emphasize with others' sides.
Perhaps this situation doesn't have to do with a person at all, but if it does, try your hardest to emphasize with the other person/people. Perhaps what happened wasn't personal at all, even if it seems as so, or what they did was an attempt to be kind, not hurtful. If they ended things with you and left, perhaps they had been going through a hard time for a while and felt unsure of how to end things. If someone lashed out at you at a store, perhaps they are having a tough day, or something about you infuriated them (but this has nothing to do with you, only them). It's not easy to do, especially if you're stubborn like me, but taking time to look at the other person's side will give you immense clarity, and perhaps even release some intense emotions.
3) Figure out where you went wrong.
A relationship, or conflict, is always a two-person thing. While it may feel like someone else was entirely in the wrong, there are perhaps ways in which you were in the wrong as well. It takes a lot of self-awareness, as well as a place of acceptance to do this, so it may take some time, but when you are ready, try your hardest to figure out where you went wrong. For instance, if someone asked for space from you, perhaps you were too clingy, too emotional for that person, or failed to motivate them to do better, keeping them limited and stuck. Harsh to hear, right? But, knowing what we did wrong is a blessing in disguise, so that we can learn from our actions and work on ourselves, internally.
For instance, I used to have a problem with lashing out at others, thinking it was me setting boundaries. Now I realize there is a big difference between being mean, and being assertive--my relationships have dramatically changed because of this!
You can also ask the person upfront what you did wrong. In these cases, be wary not to be manipulated or convinced that the situation was entirely your fault because it's never just one person's fault. Stand strong in your power, listen to what they have to say, but you don't have to believe everything they say.
4) What can you learn from this?
Maybe, it's time to be more independent, or avoid diving all-in too soon, or listen to what someone else has to say before reacting in anger, and so on. The possible lessons go on, and on. Whatever the case, the lesson is there, and waiting.
At the beginning of this post, I explained how I had learned from a past situation and therefore was able to better handle a similar situation in the future. What I had learned was how to not take things personally, how to remove emotions from a conflict that didn't involve me, but something I did, and how to respond in a kind yet assertive way to set boundaries rather than act defensive and yell. It was difficult to realize I was in the wrong, but by doing this, and figuring out what I could take with me in the future, helped me immensely to diffuse and resolve this new situation.
Two lessons I have learned by doing these steps recently are: Being assertive, not mean, will help teach people how to treat me; It is impossible to make everyone happy, so just be authentically you. I've also learned countless things throughout my orbits around the sun, as I am a naturally introspective person, which you can read about here.
After you have seen the other person's side, reevaluated the situation, and have understood where you were in the wrong, put together the overall lesson so that you can take it with you in the future, coming out stronger and wiser than before.
5) Remember that you cannot change anyone but yourself.
While you've hopefully learned a lot from a situation, remember that we cannot fix, change, or alter anyone but ourselves. Don't take these lessons to try to help a past situation--instead, it is officially time to let go and move to a bigger and better situation. Now that you've worked on yourself, learned your lessons, found a deeper meaning, you can move on with grace. If the other person doesn't, that's not your fault, but there's; they will heal in their own time.
Release all expectations, and move into your future with clarity, and strength, trusting that you can handle whatever comes your way. Because you can.
6) Trust that everything happens for our best benefit
Whether you believe in divine purpose or not, simply trusting that everything happens for a positive benefit, whatever that may be, even if that seems impossible right now, will assist you in moving forward with excitement, curiosity, and interest in whatever has to come.
As I mentioned before, maybe someone asked for space from you (which occurred to me earlier this summer). It's easy to feel angry, hurt, and humiliated, and it's perfectly okay to experience these emotions for what they are. However, eventually, it's time to shift perspective. I remember that I personally began looking forward to new friends, new opportunities for connections and even began using my new free time to better myself by partaking in crafts, cooking, and trying other new things I was interested in. Then, before I knew it, new people, perhaps even better people for me, rushed into my life.
Then, those people taught me lessons as well--it's a never-ending cycle of lessons and growth. Life is a game, I like to think, with new obstacles, new challenges put in place, but all for the sake of bettering and strengthing ourselves.
It's difficult to do, but having trust and hope that everything will work out as it should will greatly release any worry or doubt you may be having. You've got this. We, as a world, can do this. I trust in that.
I hope you have a lovely, introspective rest of your day.
Probably ruminating, but in a good way,