Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meant to be

I generally believe that things will work out for the best. But I don't believe that things were meant to be a certain way, that you can trust that things will work out the way you want them to. Is that a contradiction?

I guess what I mean is that things have generally worked themselves out for me, in the past, and that's been a combination of luck and hard work. And I generally do believe that people can get past most difficult things, and still be happy. And that even when something seems crappy while you're stuck in it, afterward it's usually OK again.

But I don't believe this is true for everyone, all the time. Some people experience terrible, horrible, unthinkable tragedy. Some people experience multiple such tragedies. I don't think you can go through life assuming that everything will always be fine, you will never be struck by things you can't deal with, and so on.

I also have found that often the things that you don't expect to work out are the things that end up being totally fine. But this can't be faked. You can't tell yourself that you're expecting the worst in order to cause the best to happen. You have to genuinely believe that it's going to be bad, it's not going to be what you want.

This is warped, I know, and also an example of irrationally ascribing power to irrelevant expectations. But it also means that I'm afraid of jinxing myself when I want things. Like, if I have faith that Torsten's business is going to succeed (and I do), does that jinx the chance of it actually happening? Would it be better if I were convinced that it was going to fail?

And I don't believe that things happen in a certain intentional way. Which is really too bad, because I think that would be an incredibly comforting thing to believe once we start trying to get pregnant, if it takes awhile. Every month when there is no baby, I would be able to just tell myself that oh, that wasn't our baby, and we will have the baby we were meant to have. But instead I know I'll just be incredibly frustrated.

What about you? Do you believe that what is meant to be will be?


  1. I think there are some things we have absolute control over - if I want to lose those last 10 pounds, I will. It's up to me to determine the means to the end.

    In other situations, there are too many factors out of our control to make it work. I can will myself to win the road race, but the fact of the matter is there just might be someone faster than me. I cannot control that and as a result, no matter how fast I run the race, I still might not win.

  2. I also thing there are things you have control over and things you have no control over. There is also a big middle ground. If you're positive and work hard and hope for the best, hopefully those things will work out the way you want/need them to. I think hard work and putting positive energy out there accounts for a lot.

  3. I think we like to think we have more control over our lives than we do. At least that's how I feel in my own life. We certainly have a will and can make certain things happen. But as for losing 10 pounds, a certain person can want it badly and it will happen and another certain person can want it more and will be unable to WILL themselves into doing it.
    Living on a farm is humbling especially when the growing season begins. We have control over certain elements of the growing process but once we have done our part, the rest is absolutely out of our control...we can't make the seed grow or make the weather cooperate. Sometimes all things work together and sometimes they don't no matter how much skill you have. It is humbling to be dependent on those elements out of our control.

    As you know Jess, I believe God has the ultimate control. I don't always know what that means or where that leads us and sometimes it is incredibly frustrating but I do find it comforting much of the time.

    Thanks for your post.

  4. This is a really interesting post! Although I don't believe in fate, I have had a lot of coincidental experiences in my life that have made me feel like the universe has some sort of organization (I'm not religious at all though.) And some of the events that have happened in my life that were awful, ended up having a really profoundly positive effect on my life later on. I think the hard part in life is in the middle of something when you don't know how it's going to work out. That frustration/confusion/excitement/anticipation is crazy hard to manage! I don't have any answers that wouldn't make me sound like I have read too many self help books, but I think it is fascinating to watch how and why people take the approaches they take.

  5. Life is so unpredictable, and you never know when absolute tragedy is going to strike, but I don't believe in waiting for it to strike. You make the most of each day, you appreciate the small and seemingly insignificant moments, and in the end, you cherish those moments probably more than anything. I believe that USUALLY in life you can find what you want to be in some small way, but that you have to be open to changes in the plan - very rarely do things happen exactly when you want.

    I've seen enough unexplainable tragedy to know that life is not fair, but the pregnancy thing jumps out at me as something that is more controllable - maybe pregnancy isn't meant to be for some people, but that doesn't mean a family isn't. Just takes some switching of how you think about a family - or it did for my parents.

  6. I definitely think things happen for a reason- you just don't always know what that reason is. Does that make sense? And the reason might not always be positive. I might have something bad happen- but I was supposed to learn from it and experience it. That's it.

    But yeah, the world works in mysterious ways.

  7. I do think that things happen when they're supposed to and for a reason, even if we don't know what it is right now. Even if we never know.

    That's not to say we have no control at all, the choices we make determine a lot of what happens but some things are out of our control.

  8. "Like, if I have faith that Torsten's business is going to succeed (and I do), does that jinx the chance of it actually happening?"


    Saying that anything is meant to be implies there is some sort of plan.

    And there isn't.

  9. It is cool that you give that example. I am posting this anonymously because we found out we are pregnant last week but we aren't telling anybody till it's 12 weeks.

    My culture believes on the jinxing.

    But, I am not sure I can hold out for the 12 weeks. Maybe after he 7th week ultrasound, I'll burst and tell everyone.

  10. i'm half and half on this one. i'm a believer that pretty much anything that you can want, can be. within reason, if i have no math skills, i'm not going to be an electrical engineer anytime soon. definitely, there are things that you have control over. i've found though, that if you go against your gut (which i think is what is "meant to be"), then you usually have something go wrong.

  11. To stop myself from overthinking sometimes (since I'm prone to it), I try to take on a "que sera, sera" attitude most of the time. I also recognize that my choices and actions are what will guide the results, but I like the "it was/wasn't meant to be" idea, even just to placate my anxiety sometimes, lol.

    It's just something that works for me, but of course I don't think like that for every situation, just for some of the bigger picture things that I seriously can't control the outcome of.

  12. I'm a fan of the phrase "It's all divine." I believe that, wholeheartedly, but I also believe that we have free will and the power of speech. I am a strong believer of the Bible passage that says (I'm paraphrasing) "Speak that which is not as though it is, and it will be." I BELIEVE in that very strongly. It's worked in my life and I use it every day. Affirmation is a powerful thing.

    (But that doesn't mean I don't think the same things you do - I just don't verbalize them most of the time).

  13. When people say "meant to be" I assume it means some expectation that whatever happens to you, the outcome is generally the "best," meaning it is usually produces the most happiness you could have experienced, and I don't believe in that.

    However, I also believe that there is not a single answer to what constitutes a "good" outcome and I believe there are happy experiences to be found in multiple outcomes. If Torsten's new business works out, you will find some happiness. And if it doesn't, then you will probably also find some happiness.

  14. Yes, I actually do think things work out they way they were meant to be. How many times have I hoped and prayed for something, only to YEARS later be SO GLAD it didn't work out the way I wanted?

    Have you read The Secret? I really think there's something to that line of thinking too- that we attract what we get from the universe. Certainly I have not tapped into and mastered the secrets of the universe, but I like that line of thinking.

  15. I don't believe in jinxing. I don't believe in the "if you believe it, it will happen" line of thought. I do like to expect poor outcomes so as to be pleasantly surprised by good ones. I do wish I believed in "meant to be" for that very same baby reason. It kills me to think of babies drifting by, unused.

  16. I was thinking today that the thing that really makes me believe in God is that I have my husband. I've also thought before that sometimes in hindsight, things actually seem worse than they did at the time, and it's like how did we get through that?

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  18. I don't believe in jinxes. At all.

    I guess I don't really believe that everything works out, though I do think I'm generally a positive person.

  19. I believe in thinking positive thoughts about something beyond your control mostly because I figure it can't hurt and it puts me in a much better place to accept a positive outcome.

  20. I never used to think that things were "meant to be"... but for the past year or so I have had that mentality.

    My outlook is changing on almost every single aspect of my life: relationships, job, family, religion, etc. And I believe that I am doing my best to stay positive- we all have our moments of ups and downs.