If you grew up in a religious household you may have been told as a child that when things go wrong, it’s because God is testing you. I got this a lot when I was a kid. To my young mind, it wasn’t particularly helpful. It was never clear to me what the test was, what I’d done wrong to deserve it or what I needed to change in order to ‘pass’ this supposed test.
Even without the religious overtones, there are plenty of adults who believe that when we encounter challenges it’s because the Universe is throwing down some sort of challenge or test. I sometimes hear versions of this statement: ‘the Universe must be testing me’, or ‘I guess God/the Universe doesn’t want me to rent this house/get promoted/find love [insert relevant circumstance]’. It’s true that sometimes things pass us by because they aren’t right for us, but it’s not true that the Universe would deliberately send you crappy situations to challenge your willpower or your faith.
My spiritual coach Michelle Capper-Fay once told me: ‘The Universe isn’t testing us, it’s only responding to us’. That means the situations you attract are a reflection of what’s going on within you*. That might sound somewhat depressing, but it’s actually pretty awesome – because it means you’ve got the power to turn things around.
Here’s an example. People often come to see me because they want to attract healthy long-term relationships, but instead, they find they are attracting people who might keep disappearing on them or who perhaps aren’t ready for a serious relationship. It’s tempting to make excuses for each of these people – they had a nasty divorce, a crappy upbringing or they’ve got a really stressful job, perhaps – but it actually doesn’t matter why they’re not the right fit for you. As writer Reema Zaman says: ‘Men aren’t riddles for you to solve.’ (Obviously this applies to women, too.) It’s not about them, it’s about you. The question to ask yourself is not: ‘why is this person behaving this way?’ The more helpful question is this: ‘what is it within me that has seen me attract this situation?’ You can’t fix other people but you can absolutely work through your own issues to ensure you’re not attracting things that are wrong for you from the get-go. (For more information on attracting healthy relationships, read this article.)
According to the law of attraction, ‘like’ attracts ‘like’, which means that people tend to attract people who reflect their fears in some way, magnet-style. So in the relationship example, it’s a good idea to do some self-reflection and ask how the other person’s behaviour reflects or confirms what’s going on within you. If, for example, on a deep level you don’t believe that you are worthy of love, you may attract people who keep withholding it from you, or who will leave you to affirm (in your mind) that you’re not good enough.
In this episode of Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations podcast, spiritual author Gary Zukav puts it like this: “You’re always sending messages, and every message you send has got the same address on it. It says ‘return to sender’ and what is coming back to you is not just the action but the intention of love or the intention of fear… You are responsible for the consequences you create. You cannot flunk the Earth School – it’s impossible. Everything that happens to you, happens to assist your spiritual development.”
Here are some ways we can inadvertently send ourselves situations we don’t want:
· Negative mindset: If you believe, in the words of Adam Sandler from The Wedding Singer, that ‘love stinks’, good luck attracting a healthy relationship. Equally, if you believe that nothing good ever happens to you, then you may struggle to attract good outcomes, such as promotions and lifestyle opportunities, etc. It’s important to have positive expectations – or, at least, not have barriers against hope. Having a positive mindset doesn’t mean believing everything is wonderful when it really truly is not, it just means acknowledging the reality of your situation while holding space for something better to come through down the track.
· Limiting beliefs: If you are terrified that you aren’t good enough for that job you want, it’s going to be really hard for you to manifest it. We all have insecurities, of course, but if your self-worth is so low that you don’t believe you deserve the situation you want, or that there will be consequences or some sort of negative exposure if you get it, you’ll attract something well beneath that**.
· Unhealed energy: When we endure any trauma – bullying and rejection, for example – that forms a wound in our energy field, which means we’ll energetically repel any situation where there’s a risk of a similar trauma occurring (even if that risk is low or even imagined). We can also take on board traumas or fears from our parents without consciously realising it. And sometimes those traumas have happened in past lives, which means an energy healer or past-life regression therapist is required**.
· Lack of direction: You can’t hit a target you haven’t set. In this article, I wrote about the common reasons that we can end up with something that doesn’t match what we want, including not setting clear intentions. Drifting through life hoping things get better without your intervention is not a particularly effective life plan.
Look, I know that examining where we’re getting stuck is not a particularly pleasant process, but the thing about transformation is that you have to be deeply uncomfortable first – that’s kind of the deal with being human. As author Liz Gilbert says: ‘I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.’
* Obviously there are some extreme situations which are exceptions to this.
**If you want help breaking through these patterns and energetic blocks, talk to me about energy healing.