Why is it that sometimes, something we’re certain we want, something we know is absolutely guaranteed to make us happier…just doesn’t work out?
Maybe you wished or prayed or activated the law of attraction to the best of you ability, but you got zilch. Nothing. You didn’t get something to go the way you wanted.
A man wrote me recently and told me how hard he’s been praying that his wife will come back to him. Wow, that’s got to be an awful feeling, doesn’t it?
I wrote him back and shared something I’ve been forced to learn from the (seems like) two billion things in my life that went differently than I had intended, wanted, hoped they’d go.
I said, “The strangest thing I’ve been forced to realize is this: that sometimes, in the moment, when I don’t get what I think I want or need, I feel angry, sad, frustrated or lost. But every single time I’ve looked back on those instances, I can see that better things came out of them than I could have predicted at the time. Sometimes better for me. Sometimes better for the other people involved. Sometimes better for all concerned.
That’s a tough perspective to find while things are going haywire, isn’t it? But I’m guessing the same thing is true in your life, too.
Three Tips for Dealing with Not Getting What You Want
Note: I’m not talking about how you didn’t get a pony for Christmas when you were 9, or how you wanted an Aston-Martin and could only afford a Toyota. I’m talking about the Big Stuff – the stuff where you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt how things should go…but there didn’t.
1. Get Another Perspective
To get another perspective, get out a sheet of paper and a pen. List all the people who were affected by what happened. Next, pretend you’re sitting in front of that person right now, and both of you are calm. Get a picture of that person sharp in your mind. Write down the answer you imagine they’d give from their own perspective if you asked them, “What good came from this from your point of view?” Write “their” answer as quickly as you can. Keep writing until you can’t think of another thing they might say.
**Bonus** If you still have a good relationship with that person, once you’ve completed the above exercise, ask that person the question in real life and see how closely their answer comes to what you wrote down.
2. Ask Better Questions
This is the biggie! Draw a line down a sheet of paper. The left column, label “Positive”; the right, label “Negative”. Spend 20-30 minutes wracking your brain to list all the negative things (easy) and all the positive (requires soul searching) that came out of this unanswered desire of yours. Date the page, because when you go back to look at it in a few months or a year, you’ll find many more positives than you can likely see now. Note: In many cases, the positives do not make up for the negatives! But there are positives. Nothing is completely negative. Even death and illness are not completely negative.
3. Let It Go
I have a friend who gave up a brilliant career just before he reached the pinnacle because he got scared of success. Sounds dumb, right? But many people give up inches before attaining their dreams. My friend is still beating himself up 20 years later! Sometimes, when we hold on forever to things that didn’t go the way we really wanted, or mistakes we made, or problems we caused by our own uninformed behavior (maybe like the guy whose wife left in the question above?), we create massive boulders in our lives. If you’re chained to a boulder from your past, it prevents you from moving forward. You’ll have to take the time to saw through a link in the chain to set yourself free.
One of the hardest things humans can do is let go of things. We want everything to change for the better while remaining exactly the same. For example, we want to magically win the lottery or inherit a million from an uncle we didn’t even know we had, but we are unwilling to grow ourselves in ways that would increase our income the old-fashioned way – getting a better education, bravely going after work we love, putting in our best on the job, etc. Yet it is the painful act of realizing how we contributed to the things that didn’t go our way, accepting things in the past as being in the past, and walking bravely into the future that determines the joy we experience in that future.
You have an opportunity when things don’t go the way you wanted them to go. You can choose to let go and move on with your life, looking for the lessons learned and keenly alert to any benefits that may have come from your (intense) disappointment; or you can stay chained to the boulder, spending the rest of your life grumbling about how things didn’t work out way back when.
Misfortunes demand that we choose to grow, to overcome, to move on, to become bigger than the obstacles. You are at a crossroads every time you don’t get what you want. What choice will you make now?
If you or a loved one are hurting today, please get yourself a copy of my free ebook.