I’m currently reading the book The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein and the entire book echoes these exact sentiments. We all have an ego and a lot of the time our ego interferes with our inner peace. If we just trust that everything happens for a reason, for our highest good, we can eliminate so much of our self-induced suffering. I’ll give you a couple of examples from my personal life.
When I quit my corporate job in Dallas to pursue writing, I expected that everything would work out in the way that I thought it should. I expected my writing to take off through magazines and online publications publishing my work, and anticipated that I would experience so much success that I could quit my waitressing job to be a freelance writer full-time. I envisioned that I would be able to upgrade to a larger apartment to an even nicer area of Dallas where I could meet an amazing guy, and live happily ever after. In reality, many of my articles were rejected by magazines and publications, the ones that weren’t were published for free, and I wasn’t earning enough from my waitressing job to keep my apartment after my lease ran out. I moved to my parent’s house outside of Austin, took an unpaid internship job at a magazine, and worked at a restaurant to earn money.
From the outside, the entire experience looks like a huge failure. In fact, that’s exactly how I felt about it; I was embarrassed. I was so sure that writing was my calling and my passion, and here I was proven wrong. But, everything happens for a reason. Because my freelance writing career didn’t work out, I was able to move closer to my family and see them more than I’d been able to in years. At the time, I was disappointed that the only job I could snag up in the writing field was an unpaid internship. But, everything happens for a reason. Because my internship was unpaid, I sought out a job at a restaurant. It was there that I met my wonderful boyfriend. If each of these events hadn’t happened, I would have never met my boyfriend or have the life that I have now. And while I thought that I wanted a different life, in reality that was my ego trying to dictate to me what I needed. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, one thing we can all agree on is that the ego is not what we want navigating the direction of our lives.
Another great example of my ego getting in my way was with my most recent job which was a marketing position at a small business. At the time I started the job, I thought it was exactly what I wanted—a creative job in a non-corporate setting. But, my happiness only lasted for a little while before my ego decided to step back in. The job offered healthcare which was amazing, but I was paid significantly less than what I was making at my previous corporate jobs. I couldn’t afford to get my own apartment and that frustrated me. At the time, I was disheartened and laser-focused on what was lacking in my situation. But remember, everything happens for a reason. I moved into my boyfriend’s apartment, which helped both of us out financially, but it also deepened our relationship and made our lives more enjoyable.
Despite this blessing, I continued to view my situation in a negative light. If only I could have more money, I could have a better lifestyle. I could have more money to save. I could splurge on a pair of earrings. If I had more money, I could afford to go on a nice vacation. But, I didn’t. And, my barricades went up and I begrudgingly worked at my job, resisting every moment, internally kicking and screaming. I kept looking for ways out; but remember, everything happens for a reason. I couldn’t understand what the purpose was for me to work at a job that wasn’t affording me (my ego) the things that I wanted. But, there was a purpose.
I was putting all of this pressure on myself, for what? All this misery, all this suffering, I was making myself the victim of my situation. So, I snapped out of it. We can no longer be the victim of a circumstance when we discover we have choices. I made the decision to take that job because I wanted “stability”. I wanted a steady paycheck and healthcare and I wanted a marketing job. I actively chose to be in that job; no one was putting a gun to my head. So then, I thought, since I’m here, how can I make myself happier? I buckled down and decided to put everything I had into the job. I came up with new ideas, I managed tasks, I helped my coworkers, I enhanced strategies—I was fulfilling the job’s purpose. I was providing a service for the people I worked with; I was contributing my creativity, my knowledge, and my hard work. All the while, the job was also doing a service for me. Outside of work, I started writing again. I designed and launched a brand new website that was even better than my old one, and this was all thanks to the information that I had learned on the job.
However, I am human. After a while, the frustrations surrounding money came back. But, this time I was no longer allowing myself to be the victim of my situation. I had a dream that I was waitressing and in that dream I felt happy and free. I took that as a sign; I picked up a second job waitressing a couple of days a week. It was only after a couple of months working at the two jobs that I was ready. It was finally time to move on and come back to writing.
Everything has its purpose. My marketing job opened the door for me to start writing again. My ego tried to convince me that I would be better off working somewhere that offered higher pay and better benefits. But, in reality the marketing job that I had was exactly what I needed at the time. The universe had a greater plan for me than my ego did. If I would have taken a different job, who knows where I would be right now. Maybe if I had more money, more perks, those would have just given me more reasons to stay and ultimately, prolonged what really needed to happen—which was to come back to writing. So, here I am again: employed as a waitress, pursuing a writing career. And, I finally realize that I am exactly where I need to be right now. As we always are.