Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to have “bad luck.” Shitty stuff happens repeatedly – for seemingly no reason at all. You find out about it from them, because they are usually so quick to point out all the negative stuff happening in their lives. 

I have a friend, a lovely person, who recently took her surfboard to the face and broke her nose. As if that wasn’t bad enough, her nose had only just healed from the last surfing accident, when she broke her nose the first time. And in between, while moving houses, the corner of a giant mirror came crashing down onto her ankle, slicing it open. “Why does this stuff keep happening to meeeeee?” She wailed. Yet the question seemed rhetorical, because she never really slowed down enough to receive the answer. 

I have an ex, who always expected the worst from people. Looking at her past, it was easy to see why. She had been let down by some of the people who were supposed to be there no matter what, from a young age. Her distrust of people grew over the years. Her belief that everyone in her life was going to eventually let her down always came true, yet she couldn’t see that she was at the centre of this. Instead of slowing down, digging in deep and asking herself tough questions about why these patterns kept repeating themselves, she charged forth with her deeply held belief centered around the question, “why is the world against me?”

These are two extreme examples that get at a similar point. Shitty stuff happens in life. Sometimes we get hit over the head with a surfboard (or something else), sometimes we are the victims of random and senseless crimes, sometimes loved ones let us down, sometimes we get fired, broken up with, defrauded, diseased… and we get stuck thinking, “why the F is this happening to me? why meeeeee?”

Sometimes the “why” will be clear, sometimes not. The important thing to remember is that it’s not so much about what happens to you, but how you decide to respond. Because you do have a choice. You cannot control what happens around you, but you can control how you deal with it. And you can take comfort knowing that you always have control over YOU.

A lot of women come to me because they feel a lack of control. A lack of control over their drinking, their weight, their relationships, their habits. In our first conversations I often see a tendency to externalize a lot. Blaming external circumstances or people for their unhappy state. “Well if my boyfriend would just…” or “It’s cause I’m in the city that I…” or “once I lose the weight I’ll feel…” or “If it wasn’t so busy and stressful at work I would…” The thing is, we can externalize our lives away until we die, because there will ALWAYS be something else outside of ourselves. It is only when we stop looking outside ourselves and shifting blame that we can finally gain control, and create lasting change.

This topic in particularly relevant to me right now because I am experiencing huge health challenges. I will write in more detail soon, however right now since I am very much “in it” I need to respect my own process in terms of finding my own peace with the why. I say finding peace because I may never understand exactly “why” something happens but I will need to accept it and be at peace with it.

The key to finding peace with the sometimes unanswerable why involves a huge amount of trust in the divine plan for us, and a willingness to learn. I’ve had a number of “whys” thrown at me in the last few weeks of being in and out of hospitals. “But you are so healthy, why is this happening to YOU?” is a common one. Yes, those questions have been circling around my restless brain away well. “Why me, why now?” I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been, I’ve worked so hard to heal and to let go of what doesn’t serve me, I’ve just recently launched the online portion of my business.

Despite the temptation to get stuck here, I try to quickly shift my perspective by remembering these 5 thing I’ve come to know are true:

  1. The universe never gives me more than I can handle

  2. There is a divine plan and in that I trust

  3. It’s not what I’m given, it’s how I chose to deal with it

  4. Some of life’s greatest lessons come as mysterious surprises and/or some of our greatest challenges

  5. It’s all research

The last one was given to me by a dear friend, who is an art therapist and coach. Years ago, she help me approach everything with curiosity, knowing that the answer may or may not reveal itself soon or ever… the importance lies in the investigation.

I’d say, “What the F?? I really messed up.” or “This is so shitty, why did this happen”

And she’d say, “It’s AAAALLL research. That’s what we’re doing here in life, research.”

This means reframing the victimized “why meeeeee?” into something more along the lines of “This is interesting…” or “I wonder about the timing” or “What a curious thing…” or “Oh life, what’s up with this surprising turn of events?” or “This is really painful and awful and I can’t really see beyond the pain right now, but I hope that one day I’ll be able to accept this and grow from it.”

The brain uses repetition to learn, searching for patterns and consistency as a way to make sense of the world around us. If we stay stuck in the hapless victim role, we reinforce to ourselves that we are powerless victims. Energetically, and in keeping with the Universal Law of Attraction, if you keep sending that message out, it’s what will come back at you. Ie, If you keep repeating to yourself and others that you are always a victim, the Universe will keep handing it to you… “So you wanna be a victim? Well here you go, victim.”

If you reframe, and shift your perspective to one of curiosity, it is possible to stop externalizing and start becoming more empowered. And as brilliant coach Liz Dialto writes, “Reframing allows us to find blessings and perspective in all situations.”

So what in your life requires a reframe? Does any of this resonate with you? How can you shift from “bad luck” or being a victim, to an empowered life researcher? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 🙂