It is happening for you.
A phrase that I continued to overhear was “…and then this happened to me”. It was used to explain changes people underwent or stagnancy they experienced. It came up as they explained what they didn’t do or why something was challenging. I started to pay attention and realized it was something I used quite frequently too. Whether I felt redeemed or validated, or slighted and abused, I continued to hear myself say, “because this happened to me”. Something about this view stuck with me.
When a phrase continues to pique my attention, I try to look deeper at what it may be adding or taking away from my experience. At the end of my trip, I attended a retreat with my beautiful group of coaches enrolled in the Transformational Coaching Method, an experience that I can confidently say has changed my personal and professional life. On the first day I heard this:
“Life is not happening to you, it is happening for you.”
There was that phrase again, except this time it was different. Hearing this actually made me take a deep, fresh breath.
I loaded this phrase up; exploring all of the times that week I had wondered why something was happening to me and replacing to with the question of why it was happening for me. How something was happening for me to evolve and trusting that it certainly would. Traveling for a month, undergoing changes in my business and relationships, trying to stay healthy and reach my own physical goals were all bringing up different feelings of success, joy and freedom and at the same time stress, loneliness and discomfort. Sometimes it takes an immense about of bravery to believe that things are happening for you to grow rather than to you – it takes courage to not let things shrink you.
I’ve resolved to notice the phrase “it happened to me” more – in myself and in others. Hearing this phrase is now a marker for me to do two things:
- Trust. Everything is happening for me and I don’t have to know for what reason yet.
- Expand my focus and look for alternative perspectives. I accept that my present experience is shaped by my past experiences and this is both liberating and limiting. My view of things is impacted by my own blocks and I embrace stepping back and seeing an alternative way.
I call this shift a reframe. I have reframed my experience as something that I am wholly involved in, embraced all parts of it and turned in the direction of growth. In order to trust this reframe, I only have to look back at my life. The most difficult experiences have been my greatest teachers. This perspective has shaped my whole life and has enabled me to truly evolve into the person I am at this time.
I offer you the same tool. Notice when you’re passing off an experience as something that has prevented you from doing something and join me in using it as a marker to trust and look at the alternative: how is this experience preparing you for what’s next?