The term “victim of circumstance” always resonated with me but, I never knew why. It wasn’t until I had encountered an insurmountable circumstance myself that it became apparent to me what this actually meant. It then dawned on me that we are all victims of our own circumstance, as we are the ones who create these circumstances. All circumstances are the result of how we think and feel about our conditions. Circumstances are temporary. The condition we are focused on now, will eventually pass and be replaced with a new condition. The key element to circumstance is time, the amount of time we suffer. It’s only when we learn to stop the suffering do we come to terms with our circumstance.
Throughout the proceeding of my divorce, I made myself a “victim” by maniacally concentrating on my financial outlook. I would constantly ask myself, how much am I spending on lawyers? How can I afford to pay the mortgage and pay the rent for another place? How much money was I going to have to give her? How much for child support? How much more would I have to give her going forward? How would I manage separate expenses? How much would that leave me to live on? This thought process had imprisoned me. It was always there, at the forefront of my mind, no matter how much I tried not to think about it. Over and over again. I played out thousands of different scenarios in my mind with no success of me ever becoming the victor. I was always the victim. I was always justifying to myself why this shouldn’t be. I would say to myself “This is an injustice”! Again, and again. Then, uncertainty would creep in. I would ask, what does this mean for my retirement? Will I have to work until the day I die? I envisioned myself, geriatric, greeting people as they entered Walmart (now that’s suffering).
I rationalized many times that there was plenty for both of us, to no avail, the conflict kept playing over and over in my head.
I tried comparing myself to others who had much less and always came back to my perceived loss.
I was willing to tolerate this suffering because I had an attachment to the wealth I had accumulated. This is a natural response for a person who values and takes responsibility for their finances. My finances had become an unconscious “pedestal” to showcase my self-worth. I was egotistic and prideful of what I had accumulated over my lifetime and how I had done it. I had been responsible, self-disciplined and appreciative. I worked hard for this, it was honest money, I was mindful to invest and save. I made sure I was valued as an asset at work. I made it through numerous downsizing’s because, I was a valuable contributor. I did this all so I could take care of my family.
It became clear to me that If I wanted to continue taking care of my family and myself, I needed to change these circumstances by letting go of my attachments to the things that injected fear and control in me. I had to stop trying to control the outcomes, stop controlling the results and stop controlling my expectations of everything. It was my attachment to these things that provoked a mindset of fear and control. It’s not that I needed to stop wanting or wanting to succeed but, I needed to have Faith in something greater than myself in order to find inner peace. I needed to believe beyond a doubt that the Universe wanted something greater for me. Something greater than the self-inflicted suffering I was experiencing. I needed to shift my thinking from fear and control to something more selfless than my attachments.
It wasn’t easy and it took a significant amount of time. Slowly I resigned myself to this inevitable financial change. I grieved the financial dream I once had for myself. I quit crunching numbers, i quit running divorce scenarios and i quit looking at my financial accounts all of the time. I started focusing on gratitude and giving. Thankful for what I had and what i could give. I started by volunteering my time. I started giving away stuff I didn’t need anymore. I practiced being financially and emotionally generous with the people I loved. I redirected my energies from fear and control, to intention and purpose. I started prioritizing meaningful actions with unconditional expectations and the results have been amazing. There is no suffering when I allow situations to naturally unfold, with no rush to judgement from me, or with no infliction of my fear, or none of my controlling intentions. There is only outcome.
When I let go of the attachment, I feel elation or relief. It’s like releasing a breath you have held for too long. Sometimes it’s joy. Sometimes it feels like wonderment, like a little kid seeing a magic trick for the first time. It mostly feels like content, with no trace of consequence.
When I do find myself in a circumstance, I contemplate and I ask myself what it is that I am resisting? What attachment am I holding on to? “I know it is me creating this circumstance”. I know if I get quiet or ask a trusted friend for help, the suffering will be temporary.
Contact me if you are struggling with a circumstance in your life or if you are interested in learning more about mindfulness, self empowerment or conscious living.
Below is a fun parable on the “rush to judgement” or “Serendipity”: