Wu Wei (1895-1986), a 20th century Taoist philosopher and writer, quoted in his book (I Ching Wisdom-Guidance from the Book of Changes) an inspiring sentiment:
A situation only becomes favourable when one adapts to it.
Following this, he then goes on to explain the reasoning behind this:
As long as you are angry or upset over an event, you will be unable to perceive its beneficial aspects, and you may wear yourself out with unnecessary resistance; the event may have been to your complete advantage from the first moment.
-What Wu Wei here is saying is that an incident may actually be completely to your advantage from the very beginning, yet you may be so fixated on being upset at the surrounding circumstances that you exhaust all your energies and efforts on opposing the incident rather than embracing it. (Sound familiar?)
Even happy turns of fortune sometimes come to us in a form that seems strange or unlucky.
….Think back on all of the experiences in your life that you would deem disastrous. It may have been the death of a loved one, a financial loss, the dissolution of a marriage or partnership, or maybe even an educational crisis. Then consider the outcome of those events: think about the journey you went through whilst dealing with the situation, and then reflect upon what you gained from the experience, or how you benefited favourably from the event, without which you wouldn’t have had that personal growth experience.
What you will notice is that there is a distinct pattern between overcoming turmoil, and gaining prosperity and abundance in some area of your life. For instance in losing a job you felt mediocre about, you may have landed a job you truly love. Or, in breaking up with the partner who you were convinced was definitely ‘the one’, you may have stumbled upon Mr or Mrs Right. Or maybe in failing at university, you decided to change your career path and found yourself excelling in an industry entirely unrelated to what you were initially studying.
The event itself is simply an event; the way you respond to the event determines its final outcome in your life. Once an event has taken place, since you cannot alter the past, all that is left to you is your response.
Imagine if we altered the way we interpreted unfavourable experiences, perceiving them as ‘new beginnings’ and ‘brand new chapters’ instead of ‘the end of the world’ or ‘my life is officially over’ mentality that is so commonly adopted in our society. When we make the decision to respond and react to situations in ways we are consciously controlling how we think and feel about any experience we have, we are empowering ourselves to take the lead in our own lives. When we make a deliberate effort to view our circumstances in a positive light, irrespective of how tragic they initially appear, we are setting ourselves up for sanguine and pleasant experiences.
Why not respond as though the event occurred for your benefit? You will then immediately experience good feelings about the event, and by acting in accord with your feelings, you will help to bring about that end.
I remember years ago when I lost my full time job rather unexpectedly, I came home ecstatic. I was literally jumping for joy and filled with anticipation. Why? Because I knew this meant that something bigger, better and brighter was imminently around the corner. I knew that that incident, which most other people would classify as a calamity, represented the start of a wonderful and incredible new episode in my life. And that was something to celebrate! (And it was, and it did!)
…..How we react to situations that are totally beyond our control our completely our CHOICE. Realise that and use it to your advantage from now on. It makes life a whole lot easier, I assure you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Miya Yamanouchi is an empowerment counsellor with specialist sexual health training who has extensive experience assisting men and women across Australia to discover and embrace their authentic selves. She has served as a sexual health counsellor for Impotence Australia, a sex and relationships counsellor for The Australasian Institute of Sexual Health Medicine, is a reference for The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, and a YourTango expert for a New-York based international sex and relationships online magazine. She is also a Blogger for The Kinsey Institute, Social Media Content Creator (Instagram) for The Sydney Feminists and a Network Co-orindator for The Mental Health Professionals Network.