“Why is this happening to me?”
“What did I do to deserve this?”
You’re a good person. You did all the right things. You played by the rules.
You are kind, generous, spiritual, giving and helpful. You have always tried to do the right thing. You’re one of the good guys.
So why is love playing such a cruel game with you?
Why does your life feel like complete chaos, as though it’s in shambles?
As you’re going through the pain of a divorce, the sorrow of heartbreak and the grief of a family torn apart, you’re likely asking yourself what went wrong. “Why is this happening to me?”
I certainly asked these questions as I went through my own separation and, ultimately, my divorce.
As you might imagine, I asked myself a lot of questions. Not only “Why is this happening to me?” but “Why is God punishing me?”
I was going through so much turmoil and heartache, I wondered if there was even a God. And if there was a God, was he listening to me? (Those questions, by the way, led me to write a book, titled, appropriately, Is God Listening. You can pick it up here.)
But today, I want to explore the question, “Why is this happening to me?”
If you’re going through heartbreak, divorce or separation, or if you find yourself in a court battle for your children, you’re likely asking this question.
If tears pain you, sleepless nights make you groggy and heartbreak makes you numb, consider the following thoughts as you ask yourself, “Why is this happening to me?”
1) Some questions have no answers.
Asking why something is happening to you is similar to asking why you were born in a certain country or to certain parents, or why someone got a certain disease or sickness.
Folklore, mythology, astrology and our parents want to find an answer, but not everything has an answer.
There may not be an answer, and even if there is one, it may not help you deal with the pain.
Resign yourself to the fact that there may not be an answer to this question and that this is okay.
Confront what life deals you. You don’t have control or the ability to influence what shows up in your life.
2) Choose a more empowering answer.
Let’s say that you still insist on getting an answer to this question.
You have many options in terms of how you can address it.
You can pick disempowering answers like we do in India – It’s your fate. It’s your karma. It’s your “time.” It’s your astrology. It’s your bad acts from a past life.
You can imagine that it’s because you did someone wrong or hurt someone in the past.
Or you can choose more helpful and empowering answers.
This is happening to you as a means of fostering spiritual growth.
Your breakup is happening so that you can set your ideal life into place.
Your divorce is happening to clear up the rubble in your life and to bring you to your soulmate.
You must get through this rough patch to achieve clarity, growth, insight, self-awareness and future happiness.
You are learning to embrace change and working on the art of surrender.
These life happenings are occurring to help you become the best version of yourself.
3) Which of your expectations are not being met?
Another activity is to question which of your life expectations are not being met because of your breakup.
You imagined your life a certain way and had certain expectations and outcomes that you, your family, your community and your culture shaped.
Everyone expected that you would do things a certain way and live a certain way.
Now that things are falling apart, life no longer seems in your control.
What is it you imagined for your life? What did you expect to have?
How is this current situation disappointing your expectations and desires?
Hopefully, you’ll come to see that it’s not the current situation itself that’s a problem in your life – it’s your unmet desires and expectations.
Not getting what you want – or, possibly, resisting the current situation – is the cause of your current pain.
4) How is this circumstance serving your highest purpose?
Instead of asking why this is happening to you, ask how this experience will transform your life and lead you to your highest purpose.
If you were put on earth for some reason, and I believe you were, how will this experience help you realize your highest potential?
I truly believe that heartbreak, divorce and struggles are setups for breakthroughs that help us find our purpose.
Your job now is not so much to survive the breakup, but to come through it as a new person and to discover what it is you’re here for.
5) How do you get through the intensity of your experience and the ups and downs of daily living?
Now is not the time to ask, “Why me?”
It’s time to figure out how to get through this roller coaster of a situation you’re in.
To come up with a strategy, an action plan and day-to-day activities that help you get out of bed and get through the day.
Time to separate your stuff, find a place to live and have some stability in your life.
Now is the time for legal paperwork and signing on the dotted line.
Time for self-care, healing and recovery.
6) Who do I need in my life for support and guidance during this time?
You don’t have your ex in your life, so you might feel like you have no one.
That sure was the way I felt when I was going through my divorce – like I didn’t want to share the weight of my problems with the people who loved me.
In my case, the people who loved me were not always very constructive in their help, so there’s that. They were trying to sabotage the divorce and were insisting on us staying together. While their intentions may have been good, the effect was harmful.
So, naturally, I kept away from them.
But there were others who would have easily supported and helped me during this time. I should have relied on them more.
I did have a counselor who offered help.
God certainly helped, and my faith became much stronger during this time.
As much as we like to think we’re action heroes, we’re not. We’ve been able to keep it together most of our lives, but during these difficult days, we need help, support, love and encouragement.
Reach out to the people in your life who can help you, support you and be there for you.
7) What choices are in my power? What control do I have in my life?
You might not be able to change the circumstances or anything that stems from those circumstances.
What is in your power is the way you react to what’s going on around you.
You can’t do anything about the fact that your husband left you for someone else. You can, however, get your house in order, work on your legal affairs and start transitioning to a life on your own. You can move toward a place where you’re emotionally and financially stable so that you can meet new people.
You know that famous Viktor Frankl quote? “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
This applies to your life now.
You have the tools, skills, abilities and life experience to handle the circumstances in front of you.
You might feel crushed and unmotivated by the gravity of the situation, but your resilient spirit will help you find a way out. You can put together a plan, take affirmative steps toward healing and get through this crisis!
You can’t get out of the place you’re currently in, but ask yourself: what can you do today that will help you improve the situation?
8) Who do I need to shine the light for? How is this situation preparing to be of service?
I want you to think about this as the storms rage in your life.
You’re going to come out of this experience and you’re going to come out of it stronger than you were when you went in.
Every lesson you’re learning, every battle you’re facing and every struggle you’re overcoming will serve a purpose.
Your life, your lessons and your resilience will be the guideposts and lights for someone else.
Keep this in the back of your mind.
You are currently a student of struggle, but one day you will be a teacher.
Your story might become a book, a blog, a movie, a play.
Your story might affect someone who hears it and becomes inspired.
Your story can be a reminder to your kids, who will recall what you went through and use the situation to keep them going when their own lives get difficult.
You never know who is going to experience inspiration, hope or empowerment because of the fact that you simply lived your life and survived your current situation.
During your darkest hour, you can continue grappling with that question – “Why is this happening to me?” – or you can ask yourself more empowering questions.
Think about who can support you, how you can survive and what you can do every day to get through your current circumstances.
At the same time, consider how this situation is serving your highest purpose and who you’ll be able to help by making it through.
Imagine, if you can, that this gargantuan life shake-up isn’t here to bring you down and ruin you, but to serve you and lift you higher.
Once you get through the storms, clear skies and sunshine await.
If you would like to learn more about the book I wrote, Is God Listening, click here.
*Photo credit Splitshire