Who Were You Meant to Be?
Learning to trust life.
Published: March 3, 2012
Wise words from Louise Hay.
“My spiritual growth started when I was around 42,” Louise Hay began. “I had been married to a delightful Englishman who had given me the opportunity to learn the social graces, manners, and ways of operating in the world that had been missing from my childhood. I grew up in a violent family, and we never went anywhere or did anything. I ran away from home at 15, and while I did learn survival skills, I had no skills for living well in the world. So, when I married this man who was very worldly and had the best of manners, I learned a lot from him. We did all sorts of wonderful things together, and just as I was telling myself that good things can last and we’d probably be together forever, he told me he wanted a divorce. I was shattered.”
My goodness, that must have been awful, I told her.
“Yes. My husband was a prominent person, and our divorce was all over the newspapers. It was a very painful time because I immediately told myself, ‘See, once again, you can’t do anything right.’ But when I look back now, I see that the marriage was an important door that needed to close in order for me to move toward the next step on my pathway. If I had not been divorced, I would never have become this Louise Hay. Instead, I would have stayed the dutiful little English wife—a very good wife according to my concept of it, but not who I was meant to be. It was time for it to end.”
As I listened to Louise, I thought about the classic wake-up call, the often-abrupt and unexpected rupture that can occur in a comfortably numb life. I certainly had my share of these before I finally started to wake up—gut-wrenching heartbreaks, the shame of being fired from a job, and a real fire that destroyed our family business. In fact, it was that fire that ultimately brought me out of my deep sleep and planted me firmly on the spiritual path.
“It was a year later, after dealing with the loss of my marriage, that a new door opened,” Louise continued. “I had a friend who invited me to a lecture at a Church of Religious Science in New York. She asked me to join her because she didn’t want to go by herself. I agreed, but when I arrived, she wasn’t there. I was left to decide whether or not to attend by myself, and I decided to stay. So there I was, sitting in this lecture, when I heard someone say, ‘If you are willing to change your thinking, you can change your life.’ While it sounded like a small, tiny statement, it was huge to me. It caught my attention.”
I asked her why she thought that was, and she admitted that she didn’t know. “I have no idea why it caught my attention because I was a person who never studied anything. I remember having a friend who kept trying to get me to go to the YWCA for classes, and I wasn’t interested. But something about this subject spoke to me at that time, and I made a decision to go back. I can now see the perfection in my friend not showing up. If she had, I probably would have had a different experience. You see, everything is perfect.”
Everything is perfect. When Louise said this, I realized that hearing that phrase is like hearing that everything happens for a reason. It’s a tough message to swallow when faced with tragedy or deep pain of any kind. But, by training ourselves to see the perfection in our most difficult moments—a perspective that, at first, can only be seen in hindsight—we learn to trust Life. We come to understand that, while we might not like a certain outcome, Life may be leading us in a new, more appropriate and beneficial direction.
Everything happens for a reason or Everything is perfect are beliefs born from a decision to see life as a schoolroom. When we choose to become a student of life who learns and grows from his or her experience, everything does, in fact, happen for a reason. In this way, we make our most difficult moments mean something by using them to our spiritual advantage.
Cheryl Richardson is the New York Times best-selling author of Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, and The Unmistakable Touch of Grace.