Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Someone once asked me, "I'm such a good person. Why do bad things happen to me?"

Imagine that you're driving in a shiny new car when you unexpectedly hit a patch of slush on the roadside. The next thing you know, your car begins to hydroplane. Your blood freezes in your heart. The splashing mud and dirt creates abstract art all over your car. Your visibility is hindered and you are in imminent danger of losing control.

What are you going to do? Are you going to obsessively worry about your brand new car now dunked in dirt?

No! You first steel yourself with a deep breath, continue keeping your hands steady on the wheel, and when safe, put steady pressure on the pedal to maneuver your car out of the slush.

Then you drive to the car wash.

Let's face it. "Bad" and unexpected, unpleasant, unwanted things happen in real life. I believe that one of the primary reasons bad things happen is so that we can learn from them. Unpleasant incidents and relationships offer invaluable teachable moments. Drawing from the above hydroplaning example, the experience was likely out of the ordinary and scary, but on the positive, you picked up a life-saving skill.

More often than not, bad things happen so that we can take a second look at our lives and innovate ourselves. We see the outside world with our physical eyes, but have we taken a moment to glance in, within ourselves, to uncover our authentic selves? We hear all the outside sounds, but do we also hear our inner voice, our dreams, our passions? Are our inner dreams and passions guiding our external actions and behaviors? Are any old belief systems holding us back from achieving our best?

A bad experience is simply an opportunity to jam the brakes and perform a mental audit to understand what needs to change and how to change it. It's an opportunity to shatter the proverbial "boxed in" thinking so that we can find alternate solutions to problems with which we wrestle.

One of humankind's favorite pastimes is wallowing in self-pity. We allow ourselves, all too frequently, to get caught up in storms of anger, jealousy, greed and fear. The fog of negative thought constantly stirs toxins into circulation, disengaging us from our inner core. A bad experience pushes us to ask hard questions of ourselves: Are negative thoughts, emotions and people holding me hostage? Am I really a victim or am I playing victim to justify my bad behaviors? Am I undermining my strengths? A bad experience is an opportunity to let go of toxic emotions and leap into the orbit of positive thinking.

A bad experience also serves as a gratitude developing tool. It's okay to question if we're being realistic about our expectations of ourselves and of others. It's always a good idea to evaluate if we're taking our surrounds and those in it for granted. Also ask: Am I grateful for what I have? Am I giving back to the world more than I am taking from it? Am I giving at all? Gratitude is a powerful precursor to developing compassion and joy.

Yes, we are good people and sometimes, bad things happen to us. How we perceive bad things is a choice. When bad things happen, we could just get up and walk away as if nothing happened or we could open our mind's door to the possibility of insight and use the insight to create a life of purpose, passion and fulfillment.


  1. Nice one. Good to see you back on blog again.

  2. What an interesting post. I think most of the time we can find the good in a bad situation and turn it around. Overall- I try to look at the positive side of things. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  3. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.