I grew up in a culture where talking to God was part of our daily life, through prayers and just “heart to heart” talks. I saw my grandmother, my mother, my aunts talking to God as if he was so very near. They asked things, they thanked him for their blessings, and cried to him for whatever misery they encountered in life. And so, I did exactly that.

Whenever I faced hardship, I would find myself praying and crying to God to tell him about my pain. I strongly believed that God would eventually understand my pain and acknowledge that I had enough. 

My thought process was simple and somewhat naive. ‘Once God fully sees that I am miserable, he will miraculously make all my pain go away.’ Or so I thought…

But the truth is, my view of God was all wrong. God doesn’t work by punishing us, making us miserable until we’ve had enough. Instead, God provides us with opportunities to grow stronger, wiser, and more ingenious.

We live in a universe that creates new things through natural selection. Only by creating new challenges can new abilities be born. Humans are not exempt from this process – though we’d sometimes like to be! 

Like it or not, our universe operates by pushing us to become stronger – and if we don’t heed the call, we might not survive. 

You may have heard that we believe whatever we say. When we express gratitude for all the blessings in our lives – including the opportunities to become stronger, wiser, and more ingenious – these things become true.

On the other hand, when we express that we are miserable, we have no power over our situation, and no power we have can save us – that becomes true, too.

When we repeat negative affirmations daily, we are increasing our odds of failure. We are telling the Universe, and ourselves, that we have no power over our situation and can’t do anything to improve it.  

During my pursuit of spiritual growth, I realized that God or the Universe never got me out of a hardship until I got stronger, took the reins of my destiny, and did something different to improve the outcomes. 

In fact, I would often see my situation worsen after my sessions of whining to the universe about how there was nothing I could do. 

I learned later that the universe only helps those who help themselves. While we have the need to experience negative emotions as part of the growth process, pain and grief are not our salvation in and of themselves. They are part of the process. 

If we dwell on them – telling ourselves that we deserve outside rescue because of our pain and grief – we can’t learn the lessons that the Universe is trying to teach us. We can’t become stronger or wiser.

When we wire our brains to think that we have no control over our life, and that there is nothing we can do but wait for that desired miracle. The universe simply does not have pity or mercy on the weak. In fact, the universe helps the strong, the determined, and the persistent doers.

Some might say I must be lucky to have such a view. I must never have faced real hardship. But that is not true. In fact, it is through facing hardship, and learning from it, that I have developed the strength and wisdom I have now.

A few years ago, I encountered a series of emotional breakdowns leading to physical symptoms that lasted for months. I spent the first month praying, crying, and asking God for help, blaming the world for my misery. Blaming myself, even. 

The second month, after seeing no results, I realized that this was not working. I got up and STARTED doing. 

I researched my situation, found great resources, sought help from family and friends, and sought opportunities to better my situation. I learned not just how to help myself in that moment, but how to help others and achieve more for myself than I could before.

And just like that, I got better. I’ve never experienced that type of pain ever since. 

Whining and crying to the Universe was leading me nowhere. Instead, as my mother kindly puts it, these activities were ‘Adding a few more wrinkle lines that no serum can fix.’

I have a family member who never whined in her life. Instead of feeling that she was powerless and waiting for a miracle, she DID everything she could in the face of crisis. She did not count on miraculous help, but instead worked with the people around her to make the changes herself.

Today, she stands tall and strong against all of life’s adversity. Today she is over 90 years old. She is wealthy and healthy. Most importantly, she experiences abundance in all aspects of her life. 

She chose to adapt to every external environment factor. While many judged her for her insensitivity, I believe that she understood life. 

Feeling sad or broken is natural. We need to experience those feelings as part of our growing process. We cannot grow until we experience them – until they push us to change and grow.

But using all of your spiritual power to amplify those feelings will not bring more positive outcomes. Instead, talking endlessly about how miserable and helpless you are will make things worse.

Prayer is a powerful tool – for better, or worse. 

When we express gratitude for the opportunity to grow stronger, wiser, and more ingenious, it has incredible power to transform us. But when the message we are sending out is that we are helpless and we cannot save ourselves, that message, too, becomes true.

Next time you face hardship in any aspects of your life, take the time to mourn. Acknowledge what your pain is trying to tell you: that this way isn’t working anymore, and it’s time to try something new. But don’t expect anything to change until you change your narrative. 

You must stop focusing on what you can’t do, and start focusing on what you can. When one door closes, it is to push you in a new direction.

I call this the The Tides Effect. 

One wave to experience the negative emotions that show you it is time to change. I suggest using a journal and document that phase and even time it. You want to absorb the benefit of these emotions and the messages they bring. But they will not save you on their own.

The next wave must be the wave of actions and positive affirmations through prayer or other means. It is expressing gratitude for this opportunity, and taking new and educated actions that will get you to the shore. 

Nature is full of lessons. If you just stop and watch an ocean in motion, you will notice that there is so much peace and confidence in the waves landing on the shore. 

They are formed from tiny waves full of anger and disturbance. But once they move through those stages, they arrive peacefully on the shore: to their final destination.