Everything Happened for a Reason and it’s Not Your Fault
I broke down in front of my parents at a Mexican restaurant in Garden Grove, CA after attending a Sunday service at the Crystal Cathedral.
I was carrying a couple of burdens that were starting to weigh me down.
The first — the fact that the extended family had changed so drastically after the untimely death of my father.
Because I had identified the issue, I thought it was mine to fix.
The second — that I felt alone. I didn’t feel like I was connecting with anyone my age when all I desired was to be in a community and to have a girlfriend.
Stubbornly, I had resisted sharing with my parents. But I could no longer hide my feelings. So, I told all.
“A burden shared is a burden halved,” my mom said. And those words have stuck with me ever since.
Inequity with Blinding Clarity
It wouldn’t be until much later that I was able to accept that who I turned out to be was not my fault. But everything I had experienced was leading there.
This realization, oddly, originally occurred at a church one Sunday when I was caught up in my imagination.
In that moment, I felt a strong connection to God, who was trying to show me that He did not blame me or hold me responsible for the way things had turned out, or for that matter, my way of being.
It’s typical for a religious person to have a guilty conscience about their lives and they would be quick to banish such thoughts.
No surprises here — the scriptures point out our inequity with blinding clarity.
What if God Himself didn’t want you to live that way? What if you were already forgiven? What if he understood the circumstances and events leading up to this point in your life better than you did?
One Thing Always Leads to the Next
“Everything happened for a reason. And it’s not your fault.”
This is the thought that occurred to me today as I was on my daily walk at a nearby nature trail.
I’d applied this thinking to certain areas in my life in the past, but not to everything.
If something is the matter, I am quick to evaluate my own part in it. My personal development journey has installed a strong sense of responsibility in me.
I don’t think we should ever be too quick to seek for answers outside ourselves. Because it’s altogether too easy to place blame.
That said, it’s also possible to have an inflated sense of responsibility — one that extends well beyond what you can realistically control.
Although your life today may not look exactly like you thought it would, that doesn’t mean you aren’t exactly where you’re supposed to be.
One event occurs so it can make way for the next exciting development in our lives.
The Summer of Loss
Just the other day, I was on Instagram (I don’t spend much time there except to post and add hashtags to my posts).
Randomly (was it random?), I saw a picture of my mentors pop up. I also saw who liked the photo, and it just so happened to be one of my old flames.
When I looked her up last year, I saw that she was married. I was a little disappointed, but I didn’t linger on it.
This time, when I saw her, the sheer weight of what I had been carrying in 2014 all came flooding back.
There are only a few things I remember about that summer — laying in bed depressed, playing video games to try to cheer myself up, and discovering an intuitive-sensitive teacher who eventually helped get me back on my feet.
That was the summer that I lost it all — I lost the girl, I lost my business, and I nearly lost complete control of my finances (for a second time) too.
I’d experienced similar losses only three years earlier.
What Could’ve Been
One could spend a lot of time thinking about what could’ve been.
But what if you are exactly where you need to be right now?
Surely, there are divergent paths in life. There are situations where you could have chosen differently.
But there does seem to be a difference between choices that don’t impact outcomes to any degree, and those that do.
Until today, I didn’t even entertain the notion that the fact that I haven’t been married, or the fact that my business hasn’t been wildly successful, isn’t my fault. Because I wouldn’t let myself go there.
But somehow, some way, it’s all by design. It happened for a reason.
Again, I’m not shirking responsibility. I wouldn’t.
But a huge weight lifted for me as I began to recognize the layers of responsibility, I had added to myself.
This is an exercise in surrender, in letting go — something we so often find incredibly hard to do.
An inflated sense of responsibility would always see to it that we put all the blame squarely on our own shoulders.
Of course, we should own up to what and what we haven’t done.
But we should also learn to let go. Because everything we find ourselves resurfacing has already happened. It’s in the past, not in the present. It only affects your present if you let it.
There’s no need to resurface past hurts and pains and project them onto the present. There is great freedom available in letting go of stories of the past.
Right now, in the present, possibilities are unlimited.
I don’t know what it was. Maybe I just needed a good cry. Maybe I went out to prove myself wrong.
But later that night, after breaking down in front of my parents, I went with my stepbrother to a local party and ended up being the life of it.
At first, I felt like it was going to go like every other party. No one would introduce me to anyone, and I’d be hitting the booze, and supporting the wall until someone needed a body to join in on a board game.
This time, the fact that I knew no one there (and likely wouldn’t see them again any time soon) empowered me.
I still had to bust through the thin veil of fear, but on the other side was the community I had desired, and a stronger sense of self-worth.