We’ve all been guilty of giving the worst advice ever. And we’ve all been on the receiving end of this aforementioned advice. In your darkest moments, “everything happens for a reason” is the last thing you want to hear.
While the giver of this advice more than likely has the best intentions in place, it doesn’t help that feeling of “ok, but why the hell is this happening to me?” In the moment, it is difficult to see that ‘reason’ being anything other than a pain in the ass. A future unknown that may or may not happen.
When we drag ourselves out of the basement of our emotions, it is important to reflect upon that time spent underground. Did everything end up turning out ok? Was there a final reason for going through that emotional sludge?
I remember in 2014 being in one of those darkest moments. I was set on leaving my job as a middle school teacher for a more affluent school district. I had applied to hundreds of jobs and interviewed for two jobs, only to be turned down. I felt like I was in a hole. I couldn’t figure out why this was happening. Why was this so hard to move on? I kept trying to remind myself “everything happens for a reason,” but in the moment, it felt like a load of crap.
2015 came and it all made sense. After lots of emotional debate, I decided to leave the world of teaching and started applying for jobs. I landed an interview as an instructional designer and got the job! Since then, my life has changed. I’ve been challenged, encouraged, grown as a person, and even promoted. Looking back, four years later, it is easy to see that ‘reason,’ even if I was blind to it in 2014.
Recently, I had another moment of clarity. 2018 was shit. But, looking back, I have become a better person. Avoiding being modest, I’d say I am the best version of myself today than I ever have been. I’ve learned mindfulness, being present, taking time for myself, encouraging health, including mentally, and so much more. I’ve learned my values and I lean into them whenever there is a difficult decision, and I refuse to feel guilty for following those values. I encourage everyone around me to lean into their values and get rid of the guilt that accompanies life.
So, my conclusion in all of this? Don’t give the advice of “everything happens for a reason,” but remember it yourself. Remember to reflect when you have pulled yourself out of the hole and when you see the light at the end of the tunnel. You may not know the ‘reason’ right now, but in 1, 2, maybe even 5 years, it may all make sense.