The Rolling Stones were actually very smart. They were dead-on when they sang that you can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need — that is, if you are paying attention to what life offers you. When we wish, pray, or hope for something, what we actually might receive is the situation in which to manifest that gift.
Let me give you an example. A woman I coached wanted to learn patience. She was always terribly impatient, which led her to be frustrated and angry most of the time. It was a major problem in both her personal life as well as her career, and she was miserable. One day, we were discussing her three-year-old son, and in a moment of clarity, she realized that he had been placed in her care to teach her the art of patience. She got it! You simply cannot successfully raise a kid without patience. She was placed in a situation where she had to acquire patience or fail as a parent.
She went on to see that her boss at work who got on her nerves was also an opportunity to cultivate not only patience, but tolerance and diplomacy, traits in short supply in her life. Her manager didn’t do things fast enough or well enough in her book, which led her to be annoyed and angry. She wore her annoyance and anger on her shirt sleeves, which resulted in great friction between the two of them.
After her epiphany with her small son, she realized that if she were going to be successful in her career, she would have to learn to be more patient, tolerant, and diplomatic. She would have to learn empathy, and there was not a better person to teach her than her boss. Once again, she could see her situation as an opportunity to develop into the person she wanted to be, instead of a dead-end spot.
All too often, we don’t recognize the opportunities in life. We see obstacles instead of openings. Divorce is a perfect example of hidden opportunities. At first, we cannot see the forest through the trees. We are in pain, and our perspective or outlook is very limited. We don’t realize that our divorce has many gifts or opportunities for growth. They are hidden from view, but the challenges that lay before us are actually chances to become the person we were always meant to be.
Take Alice. Her marriage was not a happy one, but she ignored all the signs along the way. She did not want to have to confront what was happening: she was in denial. She had always allowed her husband a great amount of freedom, because she found it difficult to stand up for herself. She lacked self-esteem, and she brought this to her marriage.
When her marriage fell apart, she was devastated and claimed she could not understand what had happened. After working together, she could face the fact that she had been an enabler of her husband’s behavior. By not standing up for herself, she gave him a green light to do whatever he wanted. In addition, by refusing to confront the reality of her marriage, she failed to do take the necessary actions that might have changed the situation for the better. Seeing the truth, she now chose to take responsibility for herself and her life.
Alice decided to use her divorce as a catalyst for the changes that would give her the life she wanted and deserved. She chose to see that her divorce was the perfect opportunity to develop self-esteem, confidence, and strength. She began to see that perhaps, just perhaps, her divorce was exactly what she needed in order to become what she truly wanted. She had suffered as a result of her low self-esteem, and now she found herself in the perfect place to cultivate that trait.
What are you seeking? What do you need? Look around. Is your situation right now a springboard towards what you really want? Remember that you might not get exactly what you asked or prayed for, but if you look hard enough, you will see that life may have gifted you with the opportunity to create the things that you desire.
Shelley Stile is a Divorce Recovery Life Coach who specializes in working with women looking to let go of the pain of their divorce and create new and vibrant lives. Shelley works with clients on the telephone, so you can be anywhere and get coaching. She also holds tele-seminars and publishes powerful e-books on life after divorce. She is a member of the International Coaches Federation, the governing body for Life Coaching. Shelley trained with the Coaches Training Institute and the Ford Institute for Integrative Coaching’s Spiritual Divorce Recovery.