White woman smiling carrying a wet/dry vacuum out of a basement.

Do You Want Peace and Acceptance in Your Life? Repeat After Me!

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Last month, I found myself caught in a whirlwind of mishaps and misfortunes that seemed more like a relentless storm than the usual ebb and flow of life. Here are a few of my mishaps: First there was the failed project at Confessions (as we chatted about in last week’s episode.) During that havoc hurricane, Mother Nature decided to turn my basement into her personal swimming pool, courtesy of the relentless rain in the Northeast. Now, as you all know, I’m a firm believer that the energy you emit is the energy you get back. But last month, negative things were coming at me so fast, it was a real challenge to pull myself out of my martyr matrix.

Embracing the Mantra: Turning Setbacks into Setups

During January and February’s comedy of errors, I realized something. I’ve shared with you guys many of my cognitive behavioral tricks and how they can pivot my mindset. Now it was time to pull out those tricks and pull them out fast. As you might remember me mentioning, I consider myself somewhat of a faith spin doctor, trained in the art of reframing setbacks into comebacks. My guiding light through the winter chaos? A phrase you’ve probably heard insufferably: “It’s happening for me, not to me.” But I wouldn’t be repeating those words if they didn’t really help pull me out of the ditch.

Redefining Perspectives: The Power of Positive Thinking

In the interest of time, let’s just run through a few of the highlights, shall we?

  • Basement turned indoor pool twice in one week? Happening for me, not to me.
  • G Man, my partner, announcing back-to-back travel plans when our family calendar was already a jigsaw puzzle? Definitely happening for me, not to me.
  • That last-minute project pivot without the promised support? Oh, you guessed it: happening for me, not to me.

Now, you might be thinking, “Mags, I just don’t see it that way. I would be pissed! What magical benefits does this perspective hold for you? They’re just words, after all.” Team, I’m glad you asked. First off, I get pissed too, but what the hell is that anger and frustration doing for me other than making my life miserable? I’ll tell you one thing it’s not doing: it’s not wet-vac’ing water out of the basement and carrying it up the flight of stairs for me. It’s not booking me a ticket to join my husband on his work trip and offering to watch the kids. Noooo. The fact is that each twist and turn could either be a stumbling block of frustration or a stepping stone of faith, depending on my perspective. And let me tell you, our household—as yours may be, too—is chock full of twists and turns, and after over 20 years of being on that roller coaster, I can assure you of one thing: the view from a stepping stone is much more scenic.

The Journey to the Happiest Place On Earth

I also want to say that it’s often a far stretch for me to believe the things that happen in my day are for my benefit. But that lack of trust is precisely why I have to say the phrase over and over again: “Happening for me, not to me. For me, not to me.” These words aren’t the destination, Team, they’re the on ramp that eventually leads me to the happiest place on earth. No, not Disney World! Nope, not Finland. “This is happening for me, not to me,” leads to: Acceptance Town! And as I learned from my Big-Book-reading friends in AA, “…acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.” Did you hear that, friends? ALL OF THEM.

Spiritual and Personal Growth: More than Mantras

For a moment, let’s set aside the calm that can be restored when I accept what my life is offering me. There are other, more spiritual benefits to this practice. I think the biggest reward of my continued use of this mantra over the years has been my increased faith in myself. Viewing life’s surprises as opportunities rather than setbacks has allowed me to appreciate my ability to navigate and adapt. Here is how the adaptation process works:

  • I can be grateful that I’m healthy and fit enough to drag nine wet-vac loads of dirty ground water out of the basement by myself.
  • I can be reminded of how friggin’ peacefully I sleep when I’m the only one in our bed.
  • I can accept that some relationships are meant to end so that I can discover a new and better path.

When I view my challenges as opportunities rather than punishments, each situation becomes a powerful reminder of my trust in a greater force watching over me, ensuring that everything aligns for my highest good.

Join the Conversation: Share Your Change in Perspective

Now, I’d love to hear from you, Team! Have you ever had a moment where shifting your perspective turned a challenge into an opportunity? How have you applied the “It’s happening for me, not to me” mindset to your own life? Share your stories, struggles, and victories in the comments below. Your journey might just be the beacon of hope someone needs today.

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  1. At one time i had several close relatives I loved who were struggling with personal challanges in their life, I was very worried and was loosing sleep and was anxious. Some one said to me, They are not doing it to you, they are just doing it. This change in perspective was so freeing for my peace of mind and my relationships.

    Another time we had missed a connecting flight on a trip and I was concerned about getting home for work and family ect. We wound up spending a delightful suprising day and a half in Old San Juan- accepting the circumstance and being open to new adventures add fun was memorable.

    • KELLY! I love this story you’ve shared with me in the pas. I even wrote about it in a post, but I can’t find it right now.
      “They are not doing it to you, they are just doing it.”
      This gold nugget helps me so much when I start my (very impressive, if I might say, but incredibly unhelpful) conspiracy theorizing (is that a word?)
      You guys know I love a great victim story that I can star in — whoopeee!!!
      HOWEVER, this is a MUCH healthier and more peace generating approach to things.


  2. For soooooo long I played that tune in my head. The drama of life’s highs and most especially the lows not as natural as ocean tides but as what is wrong here. Why is this happening TO me ???

    But boy it was me that had it wrong.
    And once the 2×4 of cancer hit me over the head I knew something had to change.

    So now just about 5 years later it is a daily practice not to get stuck in that mud. A daily practice of trusting (as you so beautifully say) and seeing the opportunities.

    Seeing LIFE AS ME has made all the difference. I don’t always get it right (it is truly a daily practice) but thank you Mags, for being such a guiding, beautiful voice.

    • Wow! This is such a beautiful reflection.
      Thank you for taking the time to share that life-altering transformation with us.

      Go Chris! Go Chris!
      It’s yer birthday!
      You got this!

      (That’s supposed to be sung Team, if that wasn’t clear by all the exclamation marks.)

      LOVE YOU!!!!

  3. Well done Mags…
    While I try to follow this approach, unfortunately, it often dawns on me a little late, as in after my reaction… but, the fact that I continue to find myself learning (or trying to) is a good thing!
    Thank you Mags for sharing! Love you!

    • Samesies. It took a while before it became something I quickly remembered to do.
      I think I took it on as a challenge in the beginning, “How can I spin this to be happening FOR me?”
      But, it sounds like you’re well on that road to implementing it, so, WONDERFUL!
      This also sounds like the perfect thing to be kind to yourself about!
      Thanks so much for checking in Daniel~

Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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I would love for you to join me as I work to undo these old patterns and evolve to create a more serene and accepting existence. (And you should know that I still want to ear flick the little knuckleheads {this includes my husband} when they don’t rinse a dish before putting it in the dishwasher — always a work in progress.)
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