Nothing bad ever happens to us. We choose to label our experiences as bad, because they take us out of our comfort zone. And we choose to label ourselves as good, as if we do not deserve any of the challenges that come our way.
We do deserve all of those challenges, because we planned them for ourselves before we came into this world. Every experience we have is meant to help us grow closer to the perfection and unity with God that we strive for.
Is that why we choose experiences such as an abusive relationship, being raped, losing a child? The answer is yes. The issue is not whether we can undo the bad experiences we have had, because we cannot undo what has happened. The issue is rather how we deal with those experiences.
All our experiences shape our lives. Some people have experiences that they wear like badges. And there are organizations that encourage them to wear those badges, where members are expected to introduce themselves as: 'My name is Jane, and I am an alcoholic/rape victim/parent who lost a child etc.'
If your life path includes being a member of such a group, then so be it. We all make our own choices.
Many years ago I attended a high school reunion. The memory that stands out for me was of a woman that I did not know that well at school. She approached a group of friends that I was talking to, and took over the conversation with explanations of all eight times she had to have surgery. I cannot even recall her name, but I can recall that she had surgery eight times. That is how she chose to define herself.
How do you choose to define yourself? Have you had a terrible childhood? Many great people had terrible childhoods and became great people despite that – or should I rather say because of that, because the experiences they had, had shaped them. They took out of the experiences what they needed to grow into lovely people, and we know or remember them for their lives after their childhood.
We all know at least one woman who had a dreadful marriage with an abusive partner. Some of them live the rest of their lives under the shadow of that partner, even when they had left the partner or the person died. That is how they choose to define themselves. Other women find resources inside themselves that they otherwise would not have been aware of and live life to the full.
We know about rape victims that become obese so that they can make their bodies unattractive, and other rape victims who find a new life helping people to get over traumatic experiences.
There are people who have lost a child and remember the child with love, and there are other people who feel that the world owes them something in exchange for the child.
The question is not how bad or how serious the trauma is that we experience. We all experience some kind of trauma in our lives, and that experience shapes our life.
The question is how we choose to define ourselves after the trauma. Do we want to become victims and live a life of self-pity? If that is what you want, it is your choice.
The other option is to live a life of inner peace and fulfillment, based on an understanding of how the experiences shaped us and brought us closer to perfection and to God. The choice is entirely ours.
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