Nothing is Happening to You

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Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Psychology, Relationships, Thought | Posted on 01-17-2018

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[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version. See also the corresponding video on this topic.]

Nothing is Happening to YouIn a recent blog post I wrote that whatever is going on in our lives is simply what’s happening. This is true of both good and bad things. Whether it’s a so-called problem, a crisis, an illness, or something stupendously superb–it’s just what’s happening.

Which means that we have no control over it.

And by “it,” I mean stuff. Life. Everything.

I can already hear your ego-self rebelling at those words. If so, you’re especially not gonna like this next bit.

Not only is whatever happening, just happening, it’s NOT happening TO you.

Which simply means that it’s nothing personal. It’s just what is happening.

While this may sound a little bit scary on the surface, it’s actually good news.

Here’s an example from my own life, which I wrote about in the “Why Me?” chapter of my book, Victim of Thought.

I grew up feeling very shy and introverted. I felt fine with people that I knew, but uncomfortable with those I didn’t. At some point during my time in 6th grade, my class schedule got unexpectedly changed. This put me into entirely new classes with kids I didn’t know, and in a part of the building I wasn’t familiar with.

This sudden upsetting of my apple cart seemed to send me into a tailspin. My anxiety was at an all-time high. I couldn’t understand why all this bad stuff was happening to me.

But you see…

I was caught in a misunderstanding.

While it was true that things were happening, they weren’t happening TO ME at all. The schedule change wasn’t directed at me, nor designed to make my life miserable. It was just one of the billions of things that were happening.

Would I have felt differently if I had been brought up knowing that I didn’t have to take life personally? I don’t know. But in my knowing of it now, I see how it removes the victim mentality we often find ourselves trapped in.

When we think that life and all the “bad stuff” that goes on within it is happening TO US, how can we not become victims?

The thing is…

Once we’re a victim, we’re screwed.

For me, with my 6th grade victim-mentality, I completely gave up on school that year and beyond. All because I embodied the notion that stuff could and would happen TO ME at any time, and therefore there was no reason to give a crap.

In fact, now that I think of it, most (if not all) of my anxiety stemmed from my worry and concern over what might happen to me next.

How might life be different if we knew that nothing was personal, it was just what was happening?

It’s hard to say for sure. And in a way, it’s paradoxical. Because life is still going to happen. And we’re still not going to know what, when and where it will happen.

Which can still seem scary.

Yet, for me, there’s something in the knowing that it’s not personal, that feels helpful and hopeful.

If what’s happening is going to happen anyway and it’s not about me, then it’s a waste of energy for me to get all balled up about it inside. In other words, why worry about it?

So much of our anxiety comes from our inability to control what seems to be happening to us. When we’re able to see that we don’t have the control we thought we did, it takes a lot off our minds.

After all…what’s the point in trying to control the uncontrollable?

This also takes blame off the table.

When things feel like they’re happening to us, we have to find others to blame. With my 6th grade schedule change, I spent years blaming whomever was in charge of changing my schedule. I literally thought they purposely targeted ME, the shyest kid in school, just so they could mess with me and see what happened.

Blame is a horrible feeling that takes up a lot of space in our head. It often lasts for years, and even decades. When we take it off the table because we know that things aren’t happening TO us, a gigantic weight is lifted off our shoulders.

So what do you think? Can you look for evidence in your life that points to the fact that things are not happening TO you, they are just happening?

Let me know how it goes! – Jill

P.S. This post has a corresponding video with more information below:

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CONTACT JILL WHALEN to learn how she may help you be the best you can be.


Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety


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For the past 20 years, Jill has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world. She is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.


Jill's blog, What Did You Do With Jill? is a personal account of what she's learned throughout her transformational journey. Jill has many "viral" articles on LinkedIn and is a contributing writer for P.S. I Love You.


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