Everything Happens for a Reason?

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There’s a popular saying I’m almost positive I hear once a day. Everything happens for a reason.

Spilled coffee all over yourself before work. Everything happens for a reason.

Ran out of gas. Everything happens for a reason.

Got fired from a job. Everything happens for a reason.

Loved one passes away. Everything happens for a reason.

And on and on it goes.

I’m not sure when I realized it, but somewhere along the line of growing up, I realized how much of a problem I have with this saying. I’m aware of how comforting this saying can be. It’s nice to have hope that things are going to work out and that every situation in your life happened for a very special and specific reason, because if you believe that everything happens for a reason, then you will probably have an easier time getting through whatever happens to you. But I’m also aware of how often this saying is used as an excuse. Sometimes you just run out of gas because you forgot to fill up the tank. Sometimes you get fired from a job for no other reason than you just weren’t doing the work good enough.

I happen to agree that everything does happen for a reason. But I suppose that phrase to me is more times than not more of a “no duh” statement. (No offense to those who firmly believe that everything does in fact happen for a reason.) Any action taken (even a non-action) is going to produce some type of result: Cause and Effect. So yes, everything does happen for a reason.

But do I think that everything that happens to us was supposed to happen exactly how it happened so some greater good could come from the experience? No, I don’t. At times that can certainly be the case, but sometimes bad things happen to us because our actions or someone else’s actions force them to happen. Sometimes bad things happen for the simple fact that life just sucks. Can something good come from our bad decisions and our bad experiences? Of course. Did said bad experience happen just so we could learn from it? No, I don’t think so.

Sometimes we just have to deal with the consequences of our decisions. The ability to learn from and gain something positive from a bad decision/bad experience is simply a blessing that allows us to hopefully grown as a person. One doesn’t lose a child or get cancer JUST so they could learn to appreciate their own life more. Learning to appreciate life is just a wonderfully bittersweet lesson gained from a terrible experience.

Some things are out of our control. No matter what we do, we have no real influence on the cause or even the effect. And that really sucks. But I’m talking about those mistakes we make that we had complete control over.

Like my weight, for example.

Over the winter I gained back almost 20 pounds that I worked so hard to lose during the summer/fall. Why did this happen? Because I let it happen. I caused it to happen. It was my choice, and now I am dealing with the consequences.

Now, I have to lose those 20 pounds before I get back to where I was. This didn’t happen for some magical reason. It happened because I ate too much food and didn’t move enough. Thankfully, though, I can learn from it and move on. I take full responsibility for my gains, and that gives me comfort because this is something I can actually control. I can control what I eat and when I move.

We are free to choose, but we must realize that the consequences of our actions are always going to be there. We can always learn from the things that happen to us, regardless of whether or not they “happen for a reason”.

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14 responses to “Everything Happens for a Reason?

  • cmrsyk1985

    The only insight I have to offer is that every time I find myself thinking I would do something different, assuming I could go back in time, I stop, because if I had, I wouldn’t be the person I am now. I do agree we have the ability to select from a very finite group of causes, and therefore, possibly choose from another very finite groups of effects, but it gets pretty murky there. The best example that I have found, to date, is what the Butterfly Effect exemplified so well. Whether or not you care for the movie is a moot point. The concept was well portrayed, and makes perfect sense to me.

    Have a great day, Laura!

    • Laura-is-Inspired

      I certainly agree that our decisions make us who we are. I wouldn’t go back and change things either, in the long run. I think it’s important, though, to learn from and take ownership of my actions and decisions. The Butterfly Effect–I forgot about that movie!! Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

  • bgddyjim

    I am so with you on this! Amen, sister.

  • 241lady

    I completely agree. We make decisions and those decisions ALL have consequences. Some consequences are good and others are bad. Working to accomplish a goal will results in all types of good consequences. I am looking forward to enjoying these new consequences. For so long, I only made poor decisions and most of the time poor consequences were a result. Not anymore. When negative consequences come, I will know that they were just random because I’m putting in the effort to change that. I’m ready for life to look different. PERMANENTLY.

  • smittenness

    Yes to this post. Things happen because something else happened before the thing happened. Sometimes the causes are own doing, sometimes not, sometimes a combination of both. It’s what i do next that matters to me . I’ve repeated the same mistakes and refused to learn sometimes but I let it go and try again. Very well-articulated post x

  • Melanie @ Runnergirlinarockingworld

    I wholeheartedly use this phrase and believe in it. I think for me, it isn’t an excuse at all. Decisions, outcomes, etc are all for a reason, whether that reason was good or bad. I agree with cmrsyk1985 with his thinking that to change a decision or wish for a different outcome would make me a different person. What happened shaped who I’ve become for that everything happens for a reason. It led me to the point I am at today and my decisions going forward shape who I am in the future.
    There is some control beyond us, call it fate, a guardian angel, God, the thoughts we put out, etc. Thanks for making me think! 🙂

  • hellacious1

    I agree, “everything happens for a reason” is a phrase we may overuse. Although, I also believe in the good of it. That just because it’s a “duh” situation, doesn’t mean it is. People who want to pull the positivity from running out of gas might believe they were meant to be late for work that day. Maybe they would have been in an accident if they had continued on their usual rush to work. They will never know why. I don’t think we ever know why things happen to us, but we’re always wondering. When a child is abused the entire world wonders why. The only way to keep from losing our sanity is to believe that there is a greater good. God’s plan for a person. Call it what you will. As a victim of a random act of sexual assault, I can firmly say that asking why will get you nowhere. Although I personally spent a long time wondering why. I’m a firm believer in Karma, and even that didn’t help. It still made me feel I had done something to bring this on. In certain situations we are not given a choice, but we suffer the consequences regardless. It may actually help to stay positive to believe that everything happens for a reason, even if the reason is just to make you stronger as a person. I get not being in love with the phrase, but I hope that you at least give it a chance.

    • Laura-is-Inspired

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! I happen to completely agree with you, actually. Everything you said is wonderfully true. My main point was that using that phrase as a “cop out” and not owning up to your mistakes and just saying “oh well, everything happens for a reason, right?” But yes, pulling positivity from any experience is crucial and beneficial. I love what you are saying. Thanks!

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