Different people believe different things but I tend to believe that the world is neither for us nor against us, it is just “the world”. Good things happen and bad things happen. Some people seem to have more good than bad happen or the other way around during certain periods in their lives.
It is problematic to think that we “cause” bad things to happen to us, but it is also untrue to say that we as individuals have no hand in what happens in our lives. We do have influence in our lives, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot.
We can minimize the risk of bad things happening to us and sometimes even prevent them. For example we can minimize the chance of being in an accident by wearing seatbelts, not texting while driving, and driving in a reasonable manner. We can also take steps to prepare for bad things that might happen, such as by carrying auto insurance. While these are simplistic examples, this holds true for many of the more complicated parts of our lives as well.
When a number of things go against us or don’t go our way over a period of time, it is natural to become discouraged and pessimistic. Fortunately, this is not the only option for how to respond to adversity. The key elements we can bring to the equation are cultivating a sense of perspective and working with our own beliefs. We can develop a belief system that includes the reality of life’s difficulties without blaming ourselves too much and without avoiding looking at our part in things.
It also helps to work on our attitudes: life’s problems are definitely painful, but some people are able to look at them as experiences from which they can learn important things about themselves, others and the world. As a coping strategy this works much, much better than falling into cynicism or despair. So, how do you get to that place?
Work on developing a support system. Friends, family, a therapist, support group, church or other spiritually meaningful community are great sources of emotional strength and support during rough times. I’m also a big believer in reading self-help books, attending personal growth workshops, and listening to inspirational speakers. Many of these resources cost money but many are free. Good resources are your local library, public television programming and listings in your local paper of community-sponsored talks and inspirational events.
Becoming a more positive, happy person is a series of daily, weekly and monthly decisions, not a miracle that comes to us as a lightning bolt from above. If you take the steps, you will see the payoff and have a life that feels and becomes more successful. And keep in mind, streaks of bad luck happen to everyone at some time or another. Maybe you are just getting your turn out of the way!