"Everything happens for a reason"
"God gives us only what we can handle"
"The law of attraction means that bad things happen because we, or our families/communities, are focussing our energy, attention and focus on it"
"Before you came into this life you made a deal with the universe to experience everything in order to learn before the next life."
These are some of the most infuriating things that I've heard when it comes explaining the traumatic, difficult and frankly soul destroying events and circumstances life throws at us.
I know that all of these well meaning thoughts and ideas are meant to offer comfort to people, to make us feel a sense of understanding or control over some of the unfortunate and cruel occurrences in life, but when you are feeling really down and trapped they can come across as insincere, insulting and generally baffling.
The way I understand it, life is random, the universe is random, our existence is random and we make stuff up to try to tame the sense of chaos that is all around us. That's why some people conform and like to be told what to think. It is often easier to walk the well trodden path.
But I believe that taking personal responsibility for yourself is much more effective and rewarding. Although of course sometimes we need the cushion of those around us to function on a basic level and sometimes others need to intervene on our behalf if we become a danger to ourselves or others.
But when you are in a position to live more independently and are getting back on your feet, I think it becomes your responsibility to structure your life so that it becomes easier, to gather your resources and find the best coping mechanisms to help you live a better, more productive and functional life.
Scary taking care of yourself isn't it? Being a responsible adult is so over rated!
But that's what it comes down to if you want to have a life outwith your illness.
It's like we are all searching for some sort of formula to make sense of who we are, why we are here and how we should collectively cope with the things that make life hard. But there is no 'one size fits all' way to do anything when it comes to health and healing. We are all a mixed bag of nuts!
Sometimes it is like the people who are supposed to help you, (public services, family and friends) are looking for ways to fit square pegs in round holes and you are screaming "I am a &*^%$£" spiral, this isn't going to help me!"
And you try various suggestions to please others and to show that you are willing and then you start to blame yourself when they don't work for you, you feel like more of a failure, beyond help even.
You reject things that may come to help you later and you stick to other things for too long even though they aren't working. You lose track of your instincts and it all seems a bit hopeless. You tire of asking for help and get sicker still from other people trying to cheer you along or guide you by what works for them.
The essence of all these ideas is to encourage you to let go of negativity and to change how you perceive the bad things that happen.
The tough times, the things and people that victimised you, the burdens you bare, the diagnosis and stigma that weighs so heavy on your shoulders, your scars, they may well be the making of you, but you can't let them become your identity.
I am who I am because of these things, but I do not have to be so shaped by them that I can't be more influenced or reshaped by all of the wonderful things and people that life has offered me.
By accepting the tough hand I've been dealt as part of the process that is life, I've been able to acknowledge the ways in which it's made me stronger, more resilient and wiser.
I am a proud spiral! And I may well take bits of the square peg and take up a small section of the round hole but I don't have to accept the bits that don't appeal or feel relevant to me. It's just as important to remember that what worked for you, may not work for others.
Just because someone is choosing to ignore or omit some guideline or current medical/spiritual/self help/new age advice doesn't mean that they are neglecting themselves or being defiant or they are reluctant to help themselves.
Sometimes they are simply trying to find that same sense of control, that cause other people to put their trust in God, or the laws of attraction or some pacifying, positive thinking ritual.
Having said that if there must be a reason for bad stuff happening, it is so we can learn from it and pay it forward ie help others through similar stuff.
I'll leave 'God' out of it but I think we can handle a lot more than we ever give ourselves credit for. I wouldn't wish some of the experiences/feelings I've had on even the most hateful of beings and I am still here, there must be something in that. I am resilient.
Bad things happen to everyone, it's not because you asked for it, brought it on yourself or were given it as a 'gift' from the universe.
BUT if I only expect the worst to happen, I will start to focus on all of the negatives that do happen. If I try to seek some positive, encouraging signs that life is offering me, or learn to appreciate the little things then my eyes will open to the possibility of more good stuff and it does make me feel more hopeful.
It starts to change your perception, even if some part of your brain is stuck in unhelpful, negative thought patterns.
It is easier said than done when you are in the lowest of slumps, you can't think your way out of illness and it's not going to magically cure you overnight!
Plus there will still be days when hiding under the duvet, rejecting everything, and feeling utterly defeated is the easiest way to cope.
But if you can start this practise when on a good day, it plants a little seed of thought that grows until it becomes a part of routine thinking.
So the moral of the ramble is.. take little bits from every source and leave the bits that don't ring true to you behind.
Trust your instincts and they will grow stronger.
Everyone has the power to heal themselves, to recover from tragedy and even though you may not find a cure for your poor health, you can certainly find ways of making the worst of times more manageable and learn to make the most of your better periods.
This is your life, your story, your journey, do what you can to feel empowered, to feel stable and safe and to take personal responsibility for yourself.
And if you are trying to help someone help themselves, don't take it personally when they reject an idea or don't feel comforted by your advice and good intentions. They are just trying to find their own way out of what can often feel like a trap.
We are all just making life up as we go and no one has the definitive answer to all of life's difficulties, nor do they have the right to deprive you of your understanding of it.
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