We've all been told by a family member, friend, or loved one at some point in our lives that "everything happens for a reason." And given the nature of the circumstances that tend to elicit this piece of advice, we often just roll our eyes and find little to no solace in it.
In the moment of a challenging experience, to truly get ourselves to believe that everything happens for a reason can seem impossible. Despite definitive proof that other once difficult times are now in your metaphorical back-burner, this time right now, with the emotions and thoughts it's able to create, must be the exception.
Why is it that despite still being here right now, and having gone through our fair share of hardship throughout our lives, we still regularly choose not to trust and find piece in the bigger picture?
The answer that I've come up with, is that it's simply part of the process.
For us to attain the maximum benefit out of a difficult time, we must first allow ourselves to go through the emotions that it brings up. Whether it be sadness, anger, resentment, or even confusion, each of these emotions are a natural part of our human experience.
I personally lost sight of this for quite sometime as part of my quest to achieve neutrality, what I defined as a state of being where I consciously chose to be immediately "at peace" with all circumstances rather than go for the rides my mind always seemed ready to take me on.
On the surface, immediate neutrality certainly seemed like the highest possible road to take, but in reality it was nothing but a false state of being that masked an ever-growing pile of suppressed emotions.
What I discovered is that the true road to a state of peace begins by allowing yourself to fully go through the emotions that a challenging experience brings up. Choose to see your emotions as a gift that adds color to life, and your mind as a master creator capable of imagining pretty well anything and everything.
I've found that the more I've done this, the quicker I am to consciously see how once again just as the advice I received suggested, everything did happen for a reason.
But there is a second part to this, a component that is just as -if not more -important than working with rather than suppressing your emotions. That part is to ensure we do not create belief systems around the emotions that we experience.
An example of this would be if you are cheated on by a partner. Allow yourself to go through the emotions (anger, sadness, etc.) this experience elicits, as well as the life lessons it offers, but do not let those emotions turn into a beliefs such as:
No future partner can ever be trusted
All relationships are bound to end up hurting you
You are unworthy of being loved
It's when we let beliefs like this form, that we give isolated incidents the power to unnecessarily impact the rest of our lives.