I believe choosing our parents before we are born doesn't necessarily mean that we choose the events, too. That is why the attitude "the bad things were meant to be" because "you picked your parents" sounds not only unsympathetic, but implies that we deserve what we get. It completely ignores the fact that people make horrible choices all the time that negatively impact others who are nearby.
If everything is as it was "meant to be," that means someone's planned it out and is making sure everyone's life going according to the plan. Someone has to be making sure that there is "good" coming from the hatred, violence, and evil any person encounters. That idea also implies that we have no free will and are puppets going through the motions. Do our puppet lives really have that kind of order? Is God the one pulling the strings? I suppose it's a nice thought in a way, but chaos is a fact everywhere, from microorganisms to the infinity of space. Are we some kind of special exception?
BTW, My oldest sister (who took care of me because my parents didn't), said that she picked our mother before she was born, so she could help her in this life. I wondered WTH did I pick our mother, our values are completely opposite so we agree on nothing, and my sister replied, "You didn't pick her, you picked me, and chose to be by my side." I don't know what religions teach, but I do know what my sister said rings true in my heart.
To Satai, Catnapt, Zissou'sMom: thank you.
To Catnapt: I believe the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" saying doesn't mean to imply that the weak are the only ones who die... it means that those who have survived the difficulties or abuse so far, for whatever reasons, are going to have an understanding that others can not. But I am rethinking this saying now... and wondering if it is rubbish after all.