Back in the 1940’s there was a farmer in the Midwest who had a son who just turned 18. This son had a horse and one day the horse broke out of the paddock and ran away. When the Dad went into town, people heard about the runaway horse and offered condolences for the loss of their horse and how terrible it was that happened. The father’s response to the sympathy was “we’ll see”. A couple of days later that same horse came back to the farm with two other wild horses. Again the people of the town heard about it and offered their congratulations, this time telling the farmer “that is great news”. The farmer again responded, “we’ll see”. A few days later the son is working to break one of these wild horses and he fell off the horse and broke his leg. The townspeople hear about it and once again offer their condolences saying how terrible it was that his son broke his leg. Once again the father responded with, “we’ll see”. A few days later a military draft had been enacted and the son was picked to go to boot camp but couldn't go because he broke his leg. As you can see, there are things that happen in life that are seemingly negative and there are circumstances that are seemingly negative but at the end of the day it is simply life doing it’s things. It is how we respond to it that is important.
Have you ever said “it is what it is” or “if it’s meant to be then it’s meant to be' ' but when things go sideways we tend to criticize, condemn, complain and sometimes even play victim to those circumstances. I know I have but I have been working on a mentality of Amor Fati which is Latin for love your fate.
The idea of Amor Fati is to love everything that happens in your life. The good, the bad and the ugly. To not allow the life circumstances that go against our expectation get the better of us and affect our mood or our day.
How many of us get angry when we get cut off in traffic and then we hold on to that tiny event for the rest of the day as we tell everyone we come in contact with? We allow that insignificant event to have a negative impact on our day and in the process drag other people into our negative mind space?
Instead be grateful for that situation in order to see it as an opportunity to practice the virtues patience and perspective. While it is easier to get angry in those situations, do we really want to give our power away to some random person who might be having a rough day and are you meaning to tell me you have never once cut somebody off whether it was on purpose or not?
Now I hear you say what about the truly terrible things that happen in our lives like death and abuse and horrible things like that, but it is those moments of adversity that make us who we are. We can let those events make us better or we can let those events make us bitter. We can go through life playing the victim to life's circumstances or we can learn to love EVERYTHING that happens FOR US not to us and learn to love life no matter what it throws at us so we can enjoy ourselves and make a positive impact in the world. I’ll say that again. Everything that happens in life happens FOR US not to us. If we can change our mindset, we can change our lives.