It Happened For You, Not To You

Guest Writer --

It happened for you, not to you – Carley Cumming 


I want everyone to think of a time in their lives where they felt like they were going through a terrible experience. It could have been physically, mentally, internally or externally. Whether someone did something to you, you ended up on the bad end a difficult decision, maybe the timing of something seemed “unlucky” in a sense, or you had to battle something mentally you couldn’t even put into words yourself, etc. How did you handle that situation? It may have been ugly, it may have even taken years, you may even still be in the healing process of a certain situation – but how did you finally get over that hurdle from allowing that situation to continue to hurt you, to now allowing yourself to pivot in a positive direction from said situation?


Whenever I am going through something difficult, whether it was something that happened in the distant past, or even in more recent times - I catch myself asking “why?”. Why is this happening? Why to me? Why do I deserve this? Why do “bad” things happen to good people? Why again? So on and so forth. In that moment you think your personal world is crashing down, you think the universe is against you, or at least testing you. It’s funny because, I have preached to people so many times (to keep it short and sweet) that “if I didn’t go through certain hardships in my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today”. For instance, I do certain things to potentially uplift others around me, and I sometimes wonder if I’d be that considerate to how other people are feeling if I hadn’t silently battled through things in my own life. That being said, time and time again when negative things happen to me, I am still constantly asking my “why’s” - why it’s happening.


I saw a quote a few weeks ago that really stood out to me, it said, “things happen FOR you, not TO you”. I think it goes along with what I say to other people, that I’m the person I am today, because of the hardships I’ve gone through. But I never really put two and two together in the moment of these hardships taking place that I needed them to happen to get me where I am today. What I’ve realized is that, things may have not happened the way I wanted them to in certain situations, but they happened in the way I needed them to. – and I realize that now. That saying, “everything happens for a reasonisn’t just about the goods in your lifelike meeting someone in an unexpected way who becomes a best friend of yours, or missing your turn on a drive and finding an even quicker way to your destination. “Everything happens for a reason” includes the hardships, the ugly cries, the heartbreak, the tough lessons. You think in those moments that it’s the worst thing that could happen to you. The amazing part about it is that you grow so much more as an individual, and learn more about yourself as a person going through those tough times, than you do in your everyday “good” moments.


I am personally someone who has a very hard time letting things go. I overthink every little detail. I am not someone who can be hurt by someone or something and then just act like it never happened. I think a lot of my struggles dragged on for longer than they should have because I hated everything bad that happened to me. But that makes sense, right? You don’t just sit there and embrace whatever hardship has happened to you, as ifit doesn’t sting. I think my problem was I would take the bad experience that happened to me and somehow would make it worse on myself by questioning my worth based on that experience. For example,


I am depressed, so there must be something wrong with me, I have a good life.

I got cheated on, so I must not be good enough, what could I have done differently?

My parents got divorced, maybe I drove them apart, I was going through a lot at the time.


Simple examples, but you get the point. You start to question and overanalyze everything you said, everything you did, to possibly come up with a reason against yourself as to why you “deserved” those negative things to happen in your life. Why you “made” them happen. Everything negative that happens to you, comes with some sort of healing and coping process that can look and feel different for everyone. Obviously, you do not experience something negative and expect to take it as a positive life lesson a day later, it’s just a little unrealistic, and I’m not saying it should happen instantly. But eventually we have to get ourselves to the positive portion of it, so that we can seal the healing process of each negative experience.


It took me a while to realize that - in order for us to accept who we are and to love ourselves, we cannot hate the experience that changed/shaped us. Let me rephrase that. In order for us to grow, heal, and use the negative experience to create a positive outcome for ourselves - we cannot continue to hate said negative experience. You have to eventually stop hating it, and love what it’s done to transform your current outlook on life, or even your outlook on yourself. You can now look at it and say,


Yes, I have depression, but now that I know a lot of people are fighting a secret battle, I’m now going to be extra kind to those around me”.

“Yes, I got cheated on, but now I know my worth, and someone is going to appreciate everything I bring to the table one day”.

Yes, my parents got divorced, but now I see them both happier,and that makes me happy”.


Eventually your outlook changes on a dime, you do not take everything so heavy hearted, you do not see as many things as a loss, but that you are now being guided in a new direction where better opportunities will present themselves to you that you didn’t know were possible before. You hear so many times that someone did not get a job that they so badly wanted, only to end up with a better job suited for them a month later. Someone got outbid on a house, only to have a very similar house come up 2 months later in their preferred neighbourhood. Someone took an extra year to finish their undergrad and felt “behind” all their other friends, but met so many amazing people in that last year that they wouldn’t have met otherwise. I could go on and on. As I said before, it’s hard to initially take a negative situation and flip it to the positive; grieve, cope, cry, feel frustrated, do whatever you need to do in that moment to feel what is happening, take days, take weeks, take months. But eventually, I promise you, I bet my bottom dollar that one day you’re going to start to pivot your perspective on each bad situation that is happening, and realize that they all lead you exactly where you needed to be in life.


It didn’t happen to you. It happened for you.



Carley Cumming