It’s common to meet people who are caught up in life, wrapped up in what is (or what they think is) happening around them, yet unable to extricate themselves from it or see themselves as separate from it all.
This can happen any one of us now and again, but I’m talking about the people for whom this is a habit, a regular part of their lives.
On the extreme end we have people with full on narcissism who can never bring themselves to empathise with the point of view of another person and are so caught up in themselves that they are never wrong and see everyone else as trying to take from them. But long before we go that far down the spectrum we meet many people who seem to think that stuff in life just keeps happening to them and they have no control over it. There are many variations of this - the drama queens, the overwhelmed person, the victim, the complainer – they always find something to rail against whether it’s the government, the weather, the job, the employer, the phone company, grocery prices, their annoying neighbour, the local school policy with the kids, their partner, sister, brother, parent, or even their own kids – an on it goes.
You could make a good case that life really does happen TO us. There is lots of evidence to back that up, it’s certainly justified as a way of seeing the world.
But there is a choice to be made here that can be electrifyingly liberating and simultaneously gets us out from under the suffocating haplessness of life – we can choose to believe something for which there is not much evidence – that life happens FOR us.
The curious thing about this scientifically baseless belief is that people who adopt it tend to be happier, find more meaning in what they do and get better results.
As Nigella Lawson said reaching for a slice of her chocolate birthday cake “There’s no excuse not to really”!