Oprah Winfrey is right! There are no mistakes in life.  

When I was at rock bottom, living in fear in a destructive relationship.  Knowing my ex was capable of killing me, as he had almost done so already.   I was immersed in chaos and drama.  Trying to control the uncontrollable.  My life was a mess.

Then I heard something that changed my life.

It was similar to what Oprah is saying in this video.  The belief I came to live (and still swear) by, when I was recovering from an abusive relationship.  (Read more in my post below the video):

In one of my darkest hours, someone told me the serenity prayer.   Which goes like this:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

The courage to change the things I can.

And the wisdom to know the difference.

By then I realised I couldn’t change my ex or the relationship.  I’d already tried everything and nothing worked.  So, it was a lightbulb moment for me.   I had to accept this.  I couldn’t change him.

I had to take all that energy I’d been wasting for so long trying to change him into the person I hoped he might become.  Instead, I had to focus on changing what I could change.  That was me.  

Finding the wisdom to know the difference between what I could change and what I couldn’t was one of the fundamental steps I took towards recovering from an abusive relationship and turning my life around.

I can’t tell you how liberating this moment was for me.  I was exhausted trying to rescue him, from walking on eggshells, changing my behaviour to please him.  I felt trapped.  My life was such a mess I saw no way out.  Now, here was someone essentially saying to me my way out was simple.  My path back to happiness was within me.

Is that it?  I thought. That sounds more manageable.   At least I had some control over me!

Essentially, what this means is letting go of everything you can’t change.   Which basically is everything other than yourself, your own behaviour and how you respond to that of others.   

Let go of trying to fix them.  Let go of trying to rescue them, change them, control them.  Let go of starting all your sentences with ‘You this’ or ‘You that’…..and focusing on their issues and their problems.  Instead, take responsibility for yourself, put your needs first.

It’s a matter of trusting that there is something greater than yourself that will take care of the rest.  Some say God or Allah, others, the Universe.  Oprah calls it your Supreme Destiny.    Whatever it is, just take your foot of the wheel, trust and let go.   Focus on becoming the best person you can be and living your life to the full.   Put blinkers on if you have to, but let go of everything else. 

As Oprah Winfrey puts it so beautifully, we need to be still within ourselves.   When we are immersed in chaos and drama we can’t see the path we should be taking.  We’re not listening.    We’re too busy pushing hard in the direction we are so convinced we should be going in.  That if we do this or that, we can fix things and make everything the way we believe it should be.   We keep going, even when we’re in the wrong marriage, relationship, job or otherwise.   But we’re going off track. When we do that, our life goes way out of line, far from our core values, beliefs and goals.   We’re not ourselves anymore.

Being still was one of the hardest things for me to do.  Anyone coming out of an abusive relationship will struggle with this at first.

I’d spent so many years being busy, fixing things, rescuing people. Anything other than being still with myself.   It felt uncomfortable.   Feelings I’d never experienced came to the surface.  My immediate reaction was to start doubting myself.   Perhaps the relationship wasn’t as bad as I imagined?  Maybe it was me after all who caused all the problems?  I felt guilty for leaving and sorry for him.  Every ounce of my being ached to run back to him and tell him I loved him.  But I knew I had to stay still and go through this darkest of tunnels.   I had to do the opposite of going into my usual rescue mode, which was nothing.  Just. Be. Still.

Letting go is terrifying.   The fear of the unknown can be overwhelming.   But, as they say in Al-anon, a support group I spent years going to, I ‘let go and let God’.    I trusted that if I just looked after myself, the rest would come.   What choice did I have?  It had to be better than the way I’d managed my life so far!

And then something happened.

When I was still and completely let go, little miracles started to happen.   Now, I am certain they were there all the time, presenting themselves to me when I need them.  But, I was so immersed in chaos and drama I couldn’t see them.  I wasn’t listening.

That person you randomly meet, who tells you something you need to hear at the right moment.  An opportunity that arises that you’ll later realise was an important Sliding Doors moment.   They happen all the time.   All you need to do is be still enough to see them, listen to them and be guided by them.   When you do, your life falls into place.   That’s what happened to me.  It felt so much more effortless than ever before.

There are no mistakes in life.  No wrong paths.  What we may see as failures are just the lessons we need to learn in order to get to the Supreme Destiny Oprah Winfrey is talking about.    

I am perversely grateful for that destructive relationship and what was one of the toughest times in my life.  I see others who have never dealt with any hardship take longer, if ever, to learn this simple secret to life.   I feel so privileged to have this wisdom.

When the student is ready, the teacher comes.

And so it was for me.  The answer came to me at my lowest point in my life.   But I was ready.   Start with me. Focus on me. Trust and let go.

I learnt that I could look at that destructive relationship as a failed marriage.  Or I could choose to see it as the valuable lesson I needed at that time.  To learn more about myself, to grow.   These little miracles still happen to me all the time.  The teachers that come to me, when I am ready to hear them.   I keep still now.  I listen for them.   Each time they take me to a deeper part of me, as I continue on my journey to whatever will is my Supreme Destiny.   Watch my video on this here:

Have you experienced little miracles in your life?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. 

Doors will open again soon to my START WITH ME: Victim to Survivor online video course.

How to change your mindset from Victim to Survivor, without expensive counselling, within just 4 weeks. So that you can:
  • recognise if you’re in an abusive relationship
  • learn the tactics narcissists and abusive people use and how NOT to be manipulated by them
  • assess your level of danger
  • decide if the relationship’s good enough for you or if it’s time to leave.
  • take your first steps towards healing from an abusive relationship and living the life you love.

Find out more and JOIN the waitlist here:

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Written by Vivian McGrath

Vivian McGrath is a TV Executive Producer who makes documentaries for major US, UK and Australian broadcasters.  She is also a survivor of domestic violence.  Her book ‘Unbeatable (How I Left a Violent Man)’ – her story of surviving abuse to finding success in love and life – will be published soon.  She hopes this blog will help others to become strong, fearless and successful too.  Find out more about Vivian Here.

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