I’m no Pollyanna, so don’t be fooled by the title. Having spent the majority of my adult life as an ICU doctor, I have witnessed more tragedy and death than most people will ever see. I know that when you are facing deep pain, hearing that “everything happens for a reason” feels like a slap in the face. But there is great value and sometimes even great consolation in understanding that everything happens as it was supposed to happen.
Our existence is unpredictable, and our human brains aren’t comfortable with unpredictable. Unpredictable doesn’t feel safe, and it doesn’t provide evidence for the very limited understanding that we humans have of life and the universe. When something we don’t like happens, we spend a great deal of energy thinking about why it happened, how we could have prevented or changed it, and how negative it is. What we don’t acknowledge is that it was meant to happen, it wasn’t something that we could have changed, and it is just a circumstance – it is not inherently positive or negative. Our thoughts about it give the event a positive or negative interpretation.
It is incredibly hard to see the perfection while we are in these moments. Most often, we have to let some time elapse and look back on the event to appreciate how it was necessary to lead us in a new direction. But if we practice trying to see the perfection – or at least bring ourselves back closer to a neutral attitude – we can start training ourselves to trust Life.
For me personally, trusting that everything is just as it should be has allowed me to be more present in my life. It has also meant that I have been able to see the direction that Life is calling me to go in. In the past I had a lot of resistance to my circumstances, spending energy thinking about how Life was not fair and how things should have and could have been different. That resistance shut me down and closed me off to understanding the larger picture of where my life was leading me. I spent several years struggling unhappily and feeling like nothing was working for me. Accepting that everything is perfect, and that life is happening for me instead of to me shifted my energy to a place of peace and excitement for the future.
I invite you to look at what parts of your life you are resisting – where are you mourning the past and wishing things were different? Start looking for evidence that everything is perfect as it is right now, and is leading you in a beneficial direction. When you really look for the evidence, you will find it, and you will finally start making progress towards the future.