“The unhappiness we experience is not so much a result of the difficulties encountered along our journey as it is of our misperception of how life instructs us. We may see a failed relationship as an indictment of our self-worth when it is really a lesson in using better judgment, in valuing ourselves more, in expressing greater appreciation for our partner–lessons to prepare us for a more loving and fulfilling union. If we are passed over for a much-anticipated promotion, it may be just the push we need to get more training or to venture out on our own as an entrepreneur. As we rise to meet the challenges that are a natural part of living, we awaken to our many undiscovered gifts, to our inner power and our purpose.” – Susan L. Taylor
I have had personal experience with setbacks in my life leading me to self-indictments. From adventures that had failed, to family challenges, to lapses in judgment and the consequences of bad decisions I had made. It was often easy for me to see these difficulties as “my fault,” and not to see them as anything more. It was my inability to see the potential for growth in these experiences that Susan is warning us about, for each difficulty we face in life brings with it the opportunity for learning, growing, and becoming something greater.
Years ago, when something bad happened to me, or someone did something unpleasant to me, I tended to feel responsible, as if there was something wrong with me, or that perhaps I was worthless and nobody cared about me or what happened to me. I have since realized that this is not true, and was merely a “misperception of how life instructs us all.”
Unfortunately, those feelings of self-indictment often serve only to perpetuate the cycle–our negative feelings affect others in our lives and in turn lead them avoid us.
Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Taking personal fault for difficulties in life, or sulking in misery and depression only serve to increase our unhappiness. Life is a journey. And if we treat it as such, we will find that the difficulties we face are merely experiences along the way–not the final destination.
Think about a time something that seemed to be terrible happened to you that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. What kind of good came from the situation? Could the good have come if the bad had not?
Questions to consider:
Do you ever get angry at yourself over someone’s comments or actions? What leads you to do so? Are these feelings realistic?
Why do we allow others to hurt us and cause us to berate ourselves?
Do you consciously try to hurt others?
For further thought:
“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” – Theodore Rubin