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You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, “nothing happens to you, it happens for you.” See the positive in negative events. Joel Osteen
Today is the last day of the 28-day soul coaching program. The lesson today is to understand that everything that happens in our lives allows us to evolve and grow. Even the things we judge as bad, undesirable, boring, demeaning, or worthless can help us to grow.
We are told we should be grateful for everything in our lives. It is easy to be grateful for the lovely things, people, experiences, and exchanges that come into our life. It is not so easy to be grateful for the hurtful, mean, challenging, threatening, and demeaning experiences, that have as much or more to teach us as good and happy times.
We never know what is locked inside an experience. Can we view every experience as a gift we don’t understand yet? Can we ask who are we going to be in this story? What do we believe, what do we value, and what is worth fighting for? Can we instead of viewing ourselves as victims of what happened, turn our hard times into a story that transforms our life?
Jordan Peterson tells young men they should be the most reliable person at their father’s funeral. Can we be the person others can count on at a difficult time? Are we the person our father would be proud of? Can we look back on an event and be proud of how we acted and conducted ourself?
It is often in the hard situations in life we learn who we are, we become who we are, and we show who we are. We also have to be able to forgive ourselves if we fall short of who we thought we were, should be, could be, or wanted to be. Can we make mistakes or wallow in self-pity and still take on the mantle of courage and go forward? We may say things in anger we wish we hadn’t said. Can we apologize and try to make amends? We may have done something someone sees differently than how we see it. A crack may have developed in our relationship. Do we deal with it, pretend it isn’t there, or give up on the relationship?
God already knows what we’re made of, but perhaps he wants us to learn what we’re made of. I think we would all agree that we learn more from our tough times than from our easy times. John Bytheway
We didn’t choose what happened; we choose our reaction to it. There are two ways to look at change, we can change our behavior or we can change our dialogue. If our behavior needs to change we should change it, but if the only thing we can change is how we react to something that is already in the past, the only choice we may have is who we will be in the story going forward. Will we be the one that severs a relationship? Or the one that gives someone a second chance? Will we be the one that tries to see things from another’s point of view? Or will we forgive someone who can’t see our point of view? Will we be the one that is vulnerable, open, and seeking to repair the breach?
One of the things I have noticed is the women who stand by their men when the men fail publicly especially when it is adultery seem principled to me. When everyone thought she should run not walk out of the relationship, she stays and finds the strength to keep her family together. Men stand by their wives in times of betrayal, embarrassment, and pain as well.
If we only love someone during the good times is that love? When we are too quick to judge, is that love? If we won’t give someone the benefit of the doubt, is that love? When we have nothing else we have our principles and they may be stronger to stand on than feelings of love. Feelings are fleeting, they come and they go. I love you, I love you not. The commitment we make to one another can’t only be based on our feelings if it is to stand any tests at all.
Is it when we feel like giving up, but don’t, that we find the nuggets of gold in our life, where the real meaning happens? Who we are in the story of our life is one of the choices we get to make. We don’t choose what happens, but we can be the victim, the villain, or we can be the hero. We are responsible for our thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Heroes act with determination, focus, courage, resilience, empathy, directness, and generosity.
It is humbling to realize we are not as good as we thought we were. We aren’t as loving, kind, nice, agreeable, steadfast, upright, circumspect, respectful, blameless, honest, open and vulnerable because we aren’t perfect. Our partners, friends, bosses, coworkers, parents, siblings, acquaintances aren’t either. We are all imperfect, we all have room to grow, develop, and improve.
Our choice is how we react when we learn about our own imperfections and someone else’s. What will be our choice when we are confronted by the less lovable aspects of the people we meet or live with? Are we living and growing?
Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. And I’ve been through some tough times, and I know a lot of people can recall tough times, and maybe are going through some tough times right now, but they don’t last.