For the past couple years I have been disappointed with who I’ve become because of a particular trial life threw at me after getting home from my mission. I have been struggling with these feelings of discouragement for years, just as much now as when they first started. I see people all around me who are emotionally strong and faithful and trust in the Lord when things aren’t easy. They truly inspire me because up until now I have not felt capable, whether emotionally or spiritually or even physically, to be like that when it comes to certain things.
Several years ago I experienced a great injustice that defined who I was for quite some time. It turned my world upside down because I learned that people can be mean. Really mean. Life-changing mean. The hardest part of it has been who it turned me into. I feel like I am not as spiritually in tune as I was before this injustice happened to me. I used to believe in people so much and assumed everyone had good intentions. I felt sustained by charity and an understanding of who I was and where I stood in God’s plan. I was happy and confident and knew the Lord had a mission for me and it included loving God’s children and serving them in a special way. But then I felt like charity failed. I loved the people who I felt wronged me–with sincerity and innocence, with all of my heart–but they didn’t want my love. And that was so hard on me that it changed my heart and soul.
I have been feeling bad for myself for the past few years because I was a victim of other people’s choices, and it effected me psychologically and spiritually to the point that I lost my self. And I have recently realized that I have been excusing myself and my negative attitude by playing the victim still. I have not been taking accountability for my choice of thoughts. Of course I’m a different person now than I was before I had this experience! I may feel like I am more pessamistic, but I am wiser and more empathetic and more mature. And I have decided to not play the victim anymore. I will not blame these people for my choices the way they blamed me for theirs. I can choose to be who I want to be. It may not come as easily as it used to, but this is what my life is now. I know who I want to be, and I can be her.
I know that I have a loving Father in Heaven who understands what I have been experiencing the past few years. Since I had this negative experience, He has gradually and ever so gently presented me with opportunities to grow and heal in ways that are most effective for me, and not any sooner than I have been ready for them. This epiphany of not-blaming-others-for-my-attitude-anymore may sound obvious to some of you, but it has touched me so profoundly. Of course I have known this principle in the past, but it means much more to me now, and is in my heart more deeply. I am not going to feel sorry for myself anymore because of what happened to me, to my heart. Life happens. People hurt you. You hurt people. And you can choose to do the best with what you’re given, and then life goes on. You can lose your innocence and naiivity along the way, but you can choose to not lose your heart. And if you do lose it, like I did, you can choose to find it again.
I have never really found comfort in the idea that “everything happens for a reason.” That just hasn’t ever sunk in with me. I believe that sometimes things happen for no reason, that God didn’t plan out everything that happens in your life just for you. We’re not His puppets, we’re His children. And He aches with us when bad things happen for no reason. But I think even when things happen for no reason we can make the reason, even if it’s just that we needed to learn something. And no matter what reason things happen for, our Savior can always make it better. I can’t make sense of everything that happened to me and where the justice is in it all, but–if for no other reason–I know I went through that trial so that I could grow closer to my Savior. It has taken time, but I have found great solice and comfort through the Atonement. And strengthening my testimony of God’s perfect love for me is reason enough.