Over the last couple of days, I've been seeing a lot of variations of the following graphic posted all over the place:
That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works.
I suppose it must help sometimes when you're struggling in life to believe that something good is just around the corner.... If you just sit tight and wait for it.
And that, frankly, is unacceptable.
I have seen this phrase used as an excuse for inaction, for the cessation of effort, for giving up on life goals, on dreams, on people. That is not how life works.
In an effort to keep my thoughts somewhat coherent, I'm tackling two of the major things I see people abusing the idea of destiny for. The first is love.
While it is true that sometimes, despite all efforts, relationships will fail. People will grow apart. There may come a point when relationships simply aren't worth saving.
That's not what I'm talking about. The problem arises when people just don't put in the effort at all. There is a bizarre notion that love is some pre-ordained thing. You meet "the one" and everything is easy all the time. This attitude has people running for the hills when things get difficult, screaming: "IT WASN'T MEANT TO BE!"
Real talk, folks. Relationships - all relationships - require effort. They're work. They require energy, upkeep and effort. All relationships do, not just romantic ones. But it's the romantic relationships we're talking about at the moment, so that's what I'm talking about.
Look, no one is saying stay in abusive relationships or to work when the other person is doing nothing. This is mutual work. It's work that both parties (or all, if you're in poly-amorous relationships) are willing to do because having the other around is an amazing reward. It's worth the work.
The point is, however, it's still work.
If you want lasting love, you work for it. I'm not a big believer in destiny. At all. However, I will allow for it. Perhaps meeting your love was destiny. Keeping them, however, is not.
If it is going to happen, it's because you put in the work.
The other thing, and something closer to my heart (I know, I know. I'm a cold, cold person), is the issue of abandoning dreams. Why? Because things didn't seem to be happening, so it "wasn't meant to be."
I have had discussions with would-be writers who have literally said, "I finished my book but none of the people I queried wanted anything to do with it. I guess being a writer just 'wasn't meant to be.'"
The difference between the people who make their dreams a reality and people who don't? Those who make it, never give up. Never. Those actors, living the high life and in demand from every studio ever? They spent a whole lot of life waiting tables and flipping burgers, busting their arses in low-paying jobs the sole benefit of which being the often flexible schedules... which they took because it allowed them the time needed to pursue their dreams.
Speaking from my own profession? Those writers who seemed to have been given overnight success? Actually, they've toiled for years before their break.
Sure, luck is often a huge part of it. Yes, there will be some people who toil away forever and never, ever make it "big." It could be that I will be one of them.
But the guaranteed way to ensure you never achieve your dreams? Claiming "If it was meant to be, it would be" and using that as an excuse to walk away. That's not an excuse. And it's a dangerous game to play. What if you were right on the brink that breakthrough? What if you were almost there?
I have real issues with this 'inspirational' quote "If it's meant to be, it will be." I have seen first hand how the quote inspires people to sit on their laurels and do nothing, and expect great things to happen.
That's not how this works, people. That's not how any of this works.
So, no. There is no "meant to happen." There is only "made to happen."
Now, this is fairly over-simple in regards to many things in life. There are cases where one person will have to work harder than others to make their dreams come true - racial minorities, LGBTQ folk, women... It sucks. It's not fair. I hate that that's the case. It seems so flippant to say, but if you wanted it, you would do the work. Easy for me to say, right?
I'm poor, but not desperate. I'm white. I have a job.
I'm in such a position of privilege.
But the fact remains, that making dreams come true requires work.
"If it's meant to happen, it will." is a false promise.
If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen. And even then, there's no guarantee that it will happen. That is the nature of life.