Have you ever had one of those “why me?” moments? I think we all have. But that perspective isn’t helpful. Looking for an explanation doesn’t change anything. The the ego is asking “why” to keep you stuck, when you should really just take action.
I certainly have “why me” moments from time to time, but I try to remind myself that #1 that perspective isn’t helpful, #2 it’s pathetic, and I don’t want to be that person, and #3 I take action to improve the situation.
The question “why” is only helpful to realize what part you’ve played in it, to learn from your mistakes, so you can do better next time. For example, “Have I done anything to make me more susceptible to something like this happening? Did I stick around too long? Should I have removed myself from that situation sooner? Did I play any part in this?” And if you find some ways in which you played a part in it, then you can start cleaning up your act and improve your behavior to stack the odds in your favor that something like this won’t happen again. But sometimes you come to the conclusion that actually you’ve done the best you can, and you didn’t play any part in it. In that case all there is for you to realize is that yup, shit happens…but it will pass.
The truth is, you have learned a lot throughout your life, you’ve learned a lot from every experience, both good and bad. And no experience is wasted if you can transform it into a lesson learned through honest self reflection. As I said, be honest with yourself, admit your part, however small. Maybe what you can improve for the future is simply to leave sooner, or to trust your intuition THE FIRST TIME. But if after honest reflection you come to the conclusion that you didn’t have any part in this, and someone just acted like a jerk, that’s not your fault. And there’s no value in asking “why me” or trying to find an explanation. In that case, all that happened is that they messed up. It sucks, but it happens. Betrayal hurts. It absolutely does. But it happens.
I promise you, everyone has some sort of “shit pickle” they have to live with. Nobody’s life is perfect. And I get it. It hurts. Time and time again it absolutely hurts. There are things I wish were different, things I wish I didn’t have to live with, but I simply don’t have any control over it. I learned from past mistakes, I admitted my part where applicable, I made changes, but guess what, still, shit happens sometimes. Because even if I keep my side of the street perfectly clean, if someone else wants to spread their trash over on my side, they can. There’s nothing I can do about it. That’s just a “shit pickle” I have to live with. I know those people will have to deal with the consequences, because karma is real, but still, I have to accept that shit happens. And instead of obsessing over things that are out of my control (other people’s actions), I choose to spend my time and energy focusing on the things that are in my control (my own choices and actions). That’s what the serenity prayer is all about.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
That means for you it’s time to accept that whatever it is that happened, it was outside your control. And that’s where forgiveness comes in.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean accepting WHAT has happened,
but accepting that it HAS happened.
And no amount of being upset over it will change the fact that it HAS happened. Forgiveness, therefore, helps to free yourself from the past, by keeping the past in the past, so that in this present moment you are free, and you can make decisions based on love rather than fear.
Courage to change the things I can means #1 forgiveness and #2 keeping your side of the street clean. Other people might trigger you or upset you, but you don’t have to play along. You don’t have to scoot down to their level. Your “revenge” can be to live a fucking awesome life, and to be the nicest, kindest, most gracious person ever. You know, living by Beyoncé’s words, Always be gracious, best revenge is your paper.
But this is just to let you know that unfortunately, shit happens. It happens to all of us. And some things are out of your control. People don’t usually broadcast their shit pickles out for everyone to see, but believe me, everyone has them. It’s not the universe that “sends you” these shit pickles. Quite the opposite. The universe has your back! The universe is on your side. But, as we said, nobody is perfect. And that means that people make mistakes. And when someone else hurt you, they made a mistake. And it sucks that you had to go through it. But the universe is on your side. The universe will ensure justice. It’s not your job to punish them for their mistakes, in fact, that would be a mistake on YOUR part, but they will have to deal with the consequences of their bad decisions. Your job is simply to keep your side of the street clean by being gracious and forgiving, and by living your best life!
And in those moments when I’m upset, it really helps me to listen to certain songs like “Don’t Hurt Yourself” by Beyoncé. And I have a whole playlist of songs like that. Listening to those songs gives me a safe space to let that anger out. And then I can move on. But in the moment, when you’re angry or upset, it really helps to hear certain lyrics like,
Who the fuck do you think I am?
And it’s a great reminder that,
When you hurt me, you hurt yourself.
When you diss me, you diss yourself.
When you play me, you play yourself.
When you lie to me, you lie to yourself, you’re only lying to yourself.
When you love me, you love yourself, love God herself.
And lately I also come across a lot of great verses from the Bible. For example, this section from psalm 92. Disclaimer! Some people find the language of the Bible frightening, and I used to be one of them. But through studying A Course in Miracles I have gained a better understanding of spiritual principles, and so it’s not frightening for me anymore, because my mind kind of automatically translates it as I read it. I don’t know how you feel about religion/christianity/the bible, but please know that I’m just sharing this because I found it helpful. If it isn’t for you, then just forget about it and move on. As always, take what you like and leave the rest.
Though the wicked sprout like weeds
and evildoers flourish,
they will be destroyed forever.
But you, O Lord, will be exalted forever.
Your enemies, Lord, will surely perish;
all evildoers will be scattered.
But you have made me as strong as a wild ox.
You have anointed me with the finest oil.
My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents.
But the godly will flourish like palm trees
and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.
For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house.
They flourish in the courts of our God.
Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The Lord is just!
He is my rock!”
This, incidentally, reminds me of another song from my playlist, “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child (yes, Beyoncé all day, every day).
You thought I couldn’t last without you
But I’m lastin’
You thought that I would die without you
But I’m livin’
Thought that I would fail without you
But I’m on top
Thought it would be over by now
But it won’t stop
Thought that I would self destruct
But I’m still here
Even in my years to come
I’m still gon’ be here
I’m a survivor!
I know it would feel so much better to find a reason, or a way to explain why certain people betrayed you or hurt you, and why it happened. But the simple truth is, shit happens. And you can’t always explain it. The only real explanation is that people have free will, nobody’s perfect, and people make mistakes. And while you have full control over yourself and your own actions, you have zero control over other people’s actions and choices. And you know, even with the best of intentions we sometimes mess up and end up hurting others. That’s with the BEST of intentions. And some people don’t even have such great intentions to begin with. So obviously hurt is gonna occur. But very similar to fear, it’s not about trying to avoid or explain or dissect the pain, but simply about managing it. It’s about realizing that sometimes pain will occur, accepting that, and knowing that you can always overcome it.
And some people seem to think that cleaning up your side of the street means trying to find the fault within yourself or trying to find a way to blame yourself. That’s not the case though. The point is that blame is futile. And instead of assigning blame, you should clean up the mess you find yourself in, and then move on with your life.
The point that spiritual teachings often make is to focus more on yourself and on what you can do to improve a situation, simply because, that’s all that’s in your control! You can’t control other people. The point is to keep your side of the street clean, because that’s your job and your responsibility, and because you simply can’t control other people’s choices and actions. The advice is to not waste your time blaming others simply because it’s pointless and it’s not helping you. Yes, you can spend a moment acknowledging that someone made a mistake. They acted like a jerk and that was wrong. But instead of obsessing over their mistakes, you decide to forgive, forget and move on – FOR YOUR SAKE!
You put the spotlight back on yourself only to check, “Did I have any part in this? Is there anything I could have done better?” And maybe you didn’t have any part in it. Maybe the conclusion you come to is that the only thing you could have done better is to listen to your intuition sooner and leave the situation sooner. You know? You put the spotlight back on yourself because that’s what you’re in control of. Dwelling on other people’s mistakes won’t make the situation better because at the end of the day – it happened, and no matter how much you blame or judge or hate, it will always have happened. So by dwelling on it, you’re only prolonging your pain, you’re only hurting yourself, and you’re making your present miserable. That’s why the spiritual advice is to forgive, move on, learn from your mistakes, and keep your side of the street clean. It’s not about blaming yourself. It’s about refraining from blame altogether! Because it’s pointless. And it’s putting you back in the driver’s seat. Because while you’re blaming, you’re playing the victim. And as the victim you can’t do anything about it. You can’t improve the situation. Spiritual advice would simply like to remind you that while you’re not in control of everything, you are in control of yourself! And so it’s way wiser to focus your energy on your own growth, rather than on complaining about others or trying to change them which you simply can’t.
Give me the strength to accept the things I cannot change,
and courage to change the things I can.
I hope this helps you guys! Remember that everyone – EVERYONE – has a shit pickle they have to live with. And if others can be happy despite theirs, you can be happy despite yours. Brush yourself off, keep your side of the street clean, and live your best life!
I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Please post any questions, comments or feedback below.
Lots of love,
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