Your expectations may be flawed
When you have experienced a serious setback or life-changing event, it is natural to feel vulnerable, fearful, angry and hurt. You may be thinking, Why has this happened to me? Why did he do this to me? I did not deserve this. It should not have happened. A loving God would not have allowed it.
Hidden within such questions are expectations that are not necessarily realistic. For example, that life and people are always fair, that anybody is exempt from hardship and strife, that there is always an obvious reason for why things happen. And as for God… who knows what he/she would or wouldn't do?
Poisoned by blame
Seeking someone or something to blame is a common response to difficult events. But blame keeps you focused on the past. It keeps you in a state of helpless anger. It may also serve as justification for not getting on with life. Even if your hardships were due to other people's faults, meanness or carelessness, don't let it trap you into hate and thoughts of revenge. Hard as it may be, the past has to be accepted as a fact. This does not excuse or minimise what happened but only by taking responsibility for yourself from now on, do you have a chance of becoming free.
Stuck in analysis paralysis
The question 'why' is so seductive that we often get stuck searching for an explanation. But sometimes it is simply not possible to find one. Many events are so random that it defies explanation. You may have been born into difficult circumstances. Perhaps you were at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people? If you can't find a satisfactory explanation for past events, accept the uncertainty, let the past be the past and turn to the future.
Tripped up by hindsight
I should have known better… I should have seen it coming… Speculating about what you should or could have done in the past is a form of self-sabotage. Clairvoyants may have the ability to look into the future and foresee other people's actions. But usually people do the best they can with what they've got at the time. Speculative hindsight only keeps you focused on the problem rather than looking for solutions to your predicament.
Anticipating a terrible future, catastrophising, black-and-white thinking, 'shoulda, woulda, coulda', are very convincing thoughts and seem so true. However, most of the time they are unrealistic, over-dramatic, fear-based or simply wrong. They also close you off from seeing new options and stepping forward. Replace stinkin' thinkin' with thoughts that are realistic, life-affirming and helping you find a way forward.
Resisting or denying your pain
When pain gets too overwhelming, it's common to seek relief and avoid feeling it: Ignoring or numbing it with alcohol, drugs (legal and illegal), sex, workaholism, excessive use of technology etc. However, until you honestly look at your pain, it will hold you in its grip. The only way to resolve painful feelings is to feel and acknowledge them, understand their context and accept them as a wound from the past that no longer needs to hold you back. Then you can take positive steps to heal.