Have you ever had one of those experiences where you ask yourself ”Why have things gone so wrong for me? What have I done to deserve this?”

I have had many of them over the years. When I was still a church goer, the standard sanctimonious answer was “Just suffer through it. One day you will see the reason why God has punished you like this, and then you will understand.”

It made no sense to me whatsoever that this old man with a beard sitting up there in the clouds would “punish” me with things like a broken leg, a divorce, redundancy, friends who disappointed me and so on.

Surely He had other, more useful things to do with His time than to think out these various “punishments” for me? And if He really was gunning for me, then he had his knife in for everyone around me as well, because they each had their own version of “punishment”.

The funny thing was that over the years I did discover why things had happened to me – and no, it had absolutely nothing to do with punishment for my sins.

I discovered that sin had nothing to do with my “evil” nature. For me, sin happens when I move away from my true, loving nature. And guess what? I am not the only person who has a loving nature. The more I looked around, the more I discovered that the world is filled with good, kind, loving people.

All of these people experienced their own version of “sin”. All of them wanted to know why unpleasant things happened to them.

The question I asked my self was: why was it that while I had these bad experiences, I could not understand why or what was happening to me, but later on, looking back, they all made complete sense to me?

This triggered my search for the meaning of human experiences. My reasoning was that if we all have to go through these experiences, surely we could expedite them if we knew their purpose?

My quest has led me to two conclusions. The first is that there really is a purpose behind every experience – but it has nothing to do with punishment or suffering. Life is one massive experience, filled with a series of smaller experiences. Every single life experience we have are part of a bigger Plan.

For most of our lives we are not aware of this Plan. We just get through every day, and we have no idea of what happens to us and how we learn and grow.

The second conclusion is that it is easier to find the reason for an experience once you have been through it.

For most of our conscious experiences, we have a plan and we focus on the outcome. Once we have achieved the desired outcome, we are happy because we have achieved our objectives. But all of these plans that we consciously achieve are one-dimensional. Whatever we achieve, it is always less than we are capable of, for various reasons.

Then we have other experiences that we regard as “bad luck” or co-incidence or other people’s mistakes that we have to suffer for. We often feel that these experiences are out of our control. We like to blame other people for them.

I have discovered that these “unplanned” experiences are the really meaningful ones. They are multi-dimensional. They are not measured by formulas or outcomes of achieved goals. They are the really meaningful experiences which teach us far more than anything we can consciously plan.

For us to have successful lives, we have to go through these more complex experiences.

Does this mean that we have to first experience everything and then only later understand the meaning? Initially, yes. It is only much later, when we have learned to decipher and respect the code of life, that we become aware of the meaning of an experience while we are having it.

We first have to be in the picture and experience the picture. Only once we know every corner of the picture, do we learn the skill of detachment. Then we can still be in the picture, but a part of us candstep out of the frame and look at the picture from the outside in.

This new view helps us to learn our life lessons much quicker.

Don’t confuse detachment with denial.

Denial is a pressure cooker which can boil over at any minute. Denial is a bomb waiting to explode. Denial is something that you need to deal with, and the only way to deal with it is to stay in the picture until you can happily smile and enjoy being in the picture.

Detachment, on the other hand, will only occur when you have learned that being in your picture is natural and normal. Once you take ownership of your life, you stop reacting and start responding.

That is when you can step out of the frame and see the whole picture. That is when you understand the meaning of your experiences and understand that every single experience was a blessing.

Author's Bio: 

Elsabe Smit is s professional transition coach, helping individuals and businesses to achieve their personal and commercial objectives.

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