I have always been a passionate proponent of the theory that there is such a thing as fate. I found the idea beautiful and somehow also comforting, that everything is preordained and thus everything that happens to us is part of a larger plan. After all, whenever something painful happened in my life, I could tell myself that it had to happen so that “my destiny would be fulfilled.” Recently, however, I’ve been struggling a lot with this issue. Here are my thoughts on it.
What is this all about?
The thesis is as follows: Everything that happens in your life happens FOR you, so that in the end you can live your destiny. If you long for something but don’t get it, then it’s only happening for protection or because you deserve better. It was simply “not meant for you”. But if something is “meant for you”, then you don’t have to struggle for it, you don’t have to force it – it will come to you or it will happen naturally. And most importantly, it will also feel easy and right!
Why I’ve been all for it so far
I didn’t get a job? Well, that was probably meant to be, there’s probably a better one out there waiting for me. My weekend trip falls through because of a train strike? Well, since everything happens for a reason, maybe it could be protection and I would have sprained my ankle on the planned hike? Communication with a good friend is slow and I always have to make the first move? Well, since the friendship no longer feels easy and natural, I should probably end it.
You can guess where I’m going with this: I loved that this theory offers a positive explanation for every negative experience. It’s comforting and uplifting. For many years, this thinking gave me strength and peace. Strength because I had the assurance that every bad event happened for my own good. Peace because I had the assurance that what was meant for me would find me and I couldn’t miss it. And it was coherent for me – I could actually take something positive out of everything negative that happened to me at some point. Sometimes it took years before I could see a deeper meaning behind it, but it happened. When you’re at a point in life where you’re totally happy, and you look back and realize how the cogs interlocked so that you could get there, it can be a wonderful feeling.
What has changed for me?
The past few months have not been easy for me. I suffered from panic attacks and anxiety for the first time in almost six years and was completely overwhelmed by it. That alone is incredibly debilitating, but when heartbreak is added to the mix, it gets really uncomfortable. I felt absolutely miserable. Actively, I didn’t really think about whether all of this actually had to happen for me to get to a certain point. But I noticed something inside me bristling when I scrolled past posts on Instagram like “What’s meant for you will find you” or “If it’s meant for you, you don’t have to fight for it.” Unlike usual, these sayings triggered more anger in me. And I’m very sure I know why. Anyone who has ever had a panic attack will know how terribly helpless you feel. There’s nothing you can do except try to “breathe through it.” One feels completely at the mercy of others; it is a complete loss of control. If I am then made to believe that I only get what is meant for me anyway, I am also deprived of control in every other area of my life. So, I have no control at all over what I get, no matter how hard I work for it? And how terribly presumptuous is it for anyone or anything to determine what is meant for me? Thank you, I’m sure it’s well intentioned, but I would like to please decide for myself how my life goes, and yes, I would also like to make mistakes and learn from them! I want to feel like I can take control of my life through motivation, passion, and work, and not think “hmm, maybe it’s not meant for me, so maybe I’m just putting too much time and energy into it?” with every project.
Of course, it’s much easier and more comfortable to sit back and say to yourself “on Instagram they said that what’s meant for me will find me”. By now, though, I’m more afraid of losing control than I am of effort. From my point of view, self-determination is worth some effort. And if I immediately threw in the towel at anything that didn’t feel “easy” or “natural,” where would I be? Let’s take the example of the difficult friendship from earlier: Due to my mental state, I’ve been the difficult friend lately, not getting back to many people. Not out of laziness, but because I simply lacked the energy. I would find it terrible if my loved ones would then say “since this friendship doesn’t feel easy right now, it’s probably not meant to be, so I’m withdrawing”.
Speaking of friendship, of course relationships with others are something else entirely when it comes to this topic. After all, here it’s not just about what I want, but also about what the other person wants with whom I would like to maintain a friendship or build a relationship. But if both of them want it, then it will work out – and I’m absolutely sure of that. Even if the circumstances are adverse, or maybe even just then. I am incredibly sensitive and empathetic, so I literally feel for them when my partner or a friend shares problems with me. I know that people can act difficult during a crisis, sometimes even verbally “lashing out” and becoming hurtful. What I’m saying is by no means should you put up with everything someone might throw at you. What I am saying is that I would never give up on people because I assume the connection is not “meant to be” just because the road is rocky right now.
I definitely don’t rule out that at some point I will face the issue again in a more conciliatory way or even draw comfort from the certainty that something just wasn’t meant to be and something better is waiting for me as a substitute (anyway – who decides what is “better”?).
But what I exclude in any case: That I cut people out of my life because the interaction with them is “difficult” at the moment or that I give up heart’s desires because obstacles are put in my way before I can achieve them.