Everything Happens for a Reason : Finding the True Meaning of the Events in Our Lives
In each of our lives we are faced with events that seem inexplicable, unjust, even cruel-events that can shatter our perception of the world, our understanding of ourselves, and our faith in a higher power. Friends and family members often offer comfort with "Everything happens for a reason"-a simple, common phrase with an unbearably elusive meaning. In Everything Happens for a Reason, psychotherapist Mira Kirshenbaum helps us understand the principles behind this frequently used phrase and provides us with tools to grasp its true meaning. According to Kirshenbaum, there is significance to each of the events in our lives. We all can discover meaning in what has happened to us-seeing such occurrences as gifts, lessons, or opportunities that we might not have been able to get any other way. Building on more than twenty-five years of clinical research, Kirshenbaum has developed tests to help readers decode the confusing or unfortunate events in their lives and find solace and strength in the positive outcomes that exist.
If you believe that "everything happens for a reason," you might find solace in this well-written self-help guide by psychotherapist Kirshenbaum (best known for the relationship guide Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay). Her premise is that "that no matter what happens to you, not only does something valuable come out of it but it's just what you need." Kirshenbaum details in separate chapters the 10 possible life lessons one might learn from unhappy life events, ranging from self-acceptance, feeling at home in the world and letting go of fear to finding true love or your hidden talents. Readers answer diagnostic questions to determine which lesson might be theirs. There is also a wealth of advice, such as a seven-step method to overcome fear and a list of the 10 elements of true love. Kirshenbaum is careful to note that what you learn doesn't make up for what you have lost. Still, the case studies always end positively. And some don't ring true: how likely is it that a mother will see the birth of a very sick infant as an opportunity to let go of fear If you don't believe there is comfort to be found in life's worst events, this book isn't for you. But if you've undergone a tragedy and are desperate to find meaning in it, Kirshenbaum's smooth, comforting tone may give you some direction. Agent, Howard Morhaim. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 25, 2005
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Excerpt from Everything Happens for a Reason by Mira Kirshenbaum
Is it really true that everything happens for a reason? After all, that's an amazing thing to say--that no matter what happens to you, not only does something valuable come out of it but it's just what you need.
Amazing as it sounds, it is true. It's taken me a long time, but I now see that even in the worst disaster--and I've had my share--there are wonderful gifts, hidden opportunities, or life-enhancing lessons. And we couldn't have gotten them any other way. If someone as hardheaded as I am can come to understand this, anyone can.
Of course, sometimes it's easy for us to believe that everything happens for a reason. We see it in little ways, like when our plans for an evening out fall through at the last minute, and we discover that everything we really want is at home that night anyway.
And sometimes we see it in not-so-little ways. A woman I know wrenched her back and had to spend a month in bed. She felt this was the last thing she needed in her life, particularly since it happened at a time when she had to make some important decisions. And then it hit her--this was exactly what she needed. Her old habit had been to rush impetuously into a new decision without thinking it through. Now it was as if life were saying, "If you won't give yourself time to think, I will."
We very much want to believe that the things that happen to us have great meaning. It's the way we feel life should be. Yes, some days we feel our life's a soap opera. But we want--we need--to have the sense that there's a purpose and value to it all. And we're right.
I want to reassure you: When you discover the true meaning of the events in your life, everything changes.
You feel stronger because your sense that everything has meaning gives you great confidence.