Posted by: Rael Kalley | April 23, 2011

90. Whatever we expect, we get

Her story went something like this:

Starting in early childhood the universe began conspiring to make her life a living hell.

Her parents were the worst imaginable. They were cold, distant, critical, harsh, unsupportive, unloving and, for the most part, absent.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Her grandparents were dismissive, uncaring, unfeeling, and judgemental.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Her teachers were uninformed, ignorant, unfair and stupid.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Her classmates were bullies, morons, insensitive and childish.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Her childhood friends were selfish, self-centered, egotistical and pathetic.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Her college years were defined by profs who were mean, callous, domineering and inhuman.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Shortly after graduating she married the one person who had ever shown her love and respect and he turned out to be controlling, abusive, deceitful and vindictive.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

She brought three kids into the world. What a disappointment they turned out to be. They were whiny, needy, dependent and immature.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

She was forced to change jobs five times over an eleven year span because all her bosses were tyrannical, demanding, mean spirited and incompetent.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

And all of these terrible experiences have forced her to become bitter, untrusting of everyone, incapable  of sustaining any meaningful relationships and, most importantly, resolute in her determination to avoid human contact as much as possible because it always leads to great pain and, frankly, what’s the point of even trying – she’s been there, done that and the results are always the same.

But that isn’t the worst of it.

The worst of it is something far more damaging to the soul than anything described above.

I have no doubt that she accurately described many of her childhood experiences and didn’t overly embellish her recall of many of the events and experiences she shared with me.

And many of her stories were heart breaking.

But the world is full of people who have had difficult, challenging beginnings who have sculpted lives of magnificence for themselves.

And people who have dealt with unimaginable adversity and who have stared down nightmarish experiences to become role models of excellence for the rest of us.

And those who have kicked insurmountable odds squarely in the nuts and overcome the impossible.

So the worst of it is this; this bright, articulate and attractive lady chose a pathway through life that can and will always produce a very predictable and inevitable conclusion – chronic, gut wrenching sorrow.

She has trained herself to believe that there is a vast conspiracy out there hell bent on contributing to her misery.

So convinced is she that nothing will ever be better that she has concluded that there is no point in  even trying.

The experts call this Learned Helplessness and she is a seventh degree black belt.

It was hopeless, it is hopeless and it always will be hopeless.

So what is the difference between this young lady and those who have risen above tragedy, setbacks, disaster, calamity and far worse.

The answer is one small word with massive implication.

Perspective.

Perspective is simply the meaning we place on events in our lives.

And our perspective defines us.

Those whose lives have been faced with mountain sized hurdles and find ways to go over them, around them or through them refuse to be defined by those hurdles.

The meanings they place on all of those hurdles galvanize them into action and drive them to create the lives they want for themselves.

To them, the mountain is nothing more than a small bump in the road. Barely noticeable.

They intuitively understand that things that happen in our lives are simply things that happen in our lives.

They have absolutely no affect on us.

Other than the affect we allow them to have.

And those who believe that the events in their lives are responsible for, and have caused the affects that they are experiencing see the mountain as an immutable, immovable force against which they are powerless.

The mountain itself  is the reason the can’t get over it, around it or through it.

And there is nothing they can do.

I don’t believe that life offers us many ah ha moments that are more liberating than the one in which we come first to understand, then to grasp and then to embrace the fact that the events in our lives are just that. Events in our lives. They have no meaning other than the meaning we choose to give them.

And we are defined and guided by the meaning, never by the event.

Perspective. What a powerful gift.

And one that no self respecting victim will ever acknowledge.         

Till we read again.

P.S. I have received emails from many people who wrote to tell me that they purchased my book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours after reading the free chapter provided at the end of my blog. If you would like a preview of the book please click here and enjoy a free chapter. Then, by emailing me at rael@raelkalley.com or by clicking here you will shortly have your very own copy in your hands.


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