“You just trust that the universe really will take care of you… If you’re making decisions for the right reasons; if you’re not doing it out of greed, out of ego, out of anything else, if you’re just making the right decision for your soul to be exactly who it’s supposed to be while it’s here for this time then the universe is going to reward you.” Ellen DeGeneres on Conan O’Brian’s Podcast
This is horrible advice!!! This type of Instagram-feel-good inspiration porn is not actually helpful. I’m sure Ellen meant well (or maybe not, I don’t certainly know her). It’s easy for successful people to say that all you need are good intentions or hard work or positive thinking, because for them it might actually seem like that is all you need. But who is to say what is “the right choice”? What does that mean? If someone isn’t happy should they just keep doing what they are doing because they have good intentions and hope the universe makes their life better? Of course not. If her statements were true then no greedy person would be successful and the world would be full of good people who are happy. But there are countless examples of people who get ahead by cheating others and good people who lose everything due to things beyond their control. If things aren’t going well in your life, whether it’s your career, your marriage, or your health, you can’t just expect that they will improve because you’re a good person and the universe owes you some reward.
So what is the difference between the people who get “rewarded by the universe” and people who seem to constantly be struggling to survive? There’s no doubt that some people are born with advantages that others don’t have. Being born into a wealthy family versus being born into poverty, being born without any learning disabilities or being born healthy versus having a genetic predisposition to cancer that will kill you as a child. These are obviously differences that we can’t control. But what about the things we can control?
When you are drowning in an ocean you need something to help you stay afloat.
Hard work is often romanticized as the answer to any problem. Hard work is important. Only a small number of people get by without working hard at some point in their life. But on the other hand a lot of people work hard their whole lives and never get what they want. That’s because you need to be working hard at the right things. You need the awareness of knowing what you need to be working at to get the results you want. People in poverty are often the hardest workers but can never get out of poverty because all of their energy goes into survival. Surviving and thriving are two different things. When you are drowning in an ocean you need something to help you stay afloat. But staying afloat is not the same as reaching land.
I used to know someone who in some ways was similar to me. We had both dealt with hardship, both struggled with health issues and both had a hard time with relationships. However over the years things in her life got worse while mine improved. This wasn’t because the universe decided I was a better person who should be rewarded or I just got lucky. It’s because I spent a lot of time examining what was wrong in my life and what I could do to fix those issues and she continued down a self destructive path of playing the victim while hurting people around her. What’s hard for a lot of people is understanding that sometimes you are the only thing that you can change about your life. If you get fired from every job you have, if you end up miserable in every relationship you are in, the only common denominator in those situations is you.
Self love is still important but you can love yourself while being honest with yourself.
While this may sound harsh it’s actually a good thing. You can’t control the people around you but you can identify your own flaws and work on them. This doesn’t mean sinking into self loathing anytime you make a mistake or becoming a perfectionist who is never happy with yourself. Self love is still important but you can love yourself while being honest with yourself. Do you think you are always right and wonder why everyone around you is wrong all the time? Do you think you’re really funny but people seem put off by you? Do your relationships start out ok but by the end you think every person you have dated is crazy? Do you try really hard to get people to like you but still feel abandoned? Some of these questions can have answers that have nothing to do with you, sometimes we do just have bad luck. However, more often than not, if you are noticing a pattern there is a reason for that pattern. Self exploration can be painful which is why so many people choose to blame others for their problems. No one wants to look in the mirror and realize they are the only person holding themselves back. But if you do the hard work of working on yourself, you are much more likely to succeed in every aspect of life. The universe isn’t going to do the work for you.