Don’t you underestimate any encounter, my child. You may carry it under your skin for the rest of your life. – Unknown
A wise person once told me that people come in our life for a reason; to teach or to learn, to give or to receive.
This statement has had a profound impact on my life ever since and has put a lot of things in perspective. At that time, I was at the phase in my life where I was negative about most things and had the most debilitating thoughts: people cannot be trusted; everyone has vested interests; why is this person treating me like this? It’s useless to try and mend the relationship…My disempowering beliefs seemed counterproductive to the way I was living, and I always felt drained and defeated, as though I was fighting multiple battles that I could never win.
However, even in those darkest of moments, my inner voice – the angel who rested on my shoulder would occasionally succeed to break through the muddled haze and the constant disruptive din of my troubled thoughts: providing counsel, asking soul searching questions, and guiding me towards the high road of life.
Slowly and over a period of time, my perceptions and my thought process changed. I began asking more empowering questions: Maybe there was a reason for this particular person to be in my life; maybe the feelings generated by a certain individual enabled me to grow as a person; probably the individual who leaned so heavily on me was in fact seeking my counsel, and was meant to learn a specific life lesson from me.
Is there someone in your life who has hurt you so much that you are unable to face him anymore, let aside forgive him?
Maybe he exists in your life to teach you the power of forgiveness. Or maybe he, in turn, is there to learn the power of love from you.
Do you dread going to work every day because of your boss who torments you and sets unrealistic goals?
Maybe it is an opportunity for you to show courage and to stand up for your rights. Or maybe it is a lesson for you on how you must treat your staff when you become a manager someday.
Do you come from a broken home, or you have gone through years of abuse from family members?
Maybe you are meant to be a beacon of light for someone who is in a similar situation but is unable to fend for himself. Or maybe you were meant to become resilient in preparation for some bigger challenges later on in life.
Do you have someone you know with special needs or who needs your support all the time?
Maybe she is in your life to teach you the value of patience, to anchor you in the place where you are meant to be. Or maybe she is learning the power of love and commitment from you, and someday she may be a success story who will in turn inspires others.
If we are what we think, and if I had a choice between having powerful and liberating thoughts over disempowering thoughts, I would be choosing the former. I now choose to believe that there is no such thing as a random encounter.
Wouldn’t you be rather doing the same?
The biggest irony of our lives, and something that is difficult to grasp for most people, is that the person or the situation in our life which is causing us grief and anguish, will not change or go away until we have learned the lesson we were meant to. This is not unlike treating the symptoms of a malady rather than eradicating the root cause of the disease itself. Rise up, ask yourself what is it that you can take away from the situation that will make you a stronger, virtuous, and a better person before you, or the person moves on.
When we’re connected to others, we become better people – Randy Pausch