I see and hear this saying everywhere. It generally comes up when something does go to plan or something doesn’t go to plan. We sugar coat our failures or happiness with “everything happens for a reason”. You just got fired from your job, “everything happens for a reason”. You ended up as a dentist when you previously wanted to be engineer, “everything happens for a reason”.
Rather than just whipping out the “everything happens for a reason” in all life situations, why don’t we acknowledge the real truth of the these “everything happens for a reason” situations, and come to terms with WHY it actually happened and most importantly learn from these moments.
This isn’t some hatred speech against people who believe in or use this phrase, I just believe it CAN lead to an unhealthy mindset and approach life 🙂
Yes, things do actually happen “for a reason”
Of course, some things do happen for a reason – but it’s usually a scientific reason. A proper diagnosis or experiment is taken place to find the cause or reason for something.
Scientific reasoning is different to the whole “everything happens for a reason” thing. With scientific reasoning, evidence and data are needed to prove the reason. Whereas, “everything happens for a reason” is a phenomenon where everything somehow fits into a “positive timeline of happiness” no matter the circumstances of life. It’s what the mindset of it conveys anyway.
The happiness trap
I feel like this same thing can occur with “chasing happiness” or “do what makes you happy”. Again, this way of thinking leaves people avoiding pain.
Avoiding shit actually sucks though. Living life pushing through challenge after challenge and learning in the process of everything I do is how I achieve happiness. It is a bit paradoxical and ironic – but frankly, no problems actually cause more problems.
“The more we try to avoid the basic reality that all human life involves pain, the more we are likely to struggle with that pain when it arises, thereby creating even more suffering.”― Russ Harris, The Happiness Trap: How To Stop Struggling And Start Living
“Everything happens for a reason” as a coping mechanism
“Everything happens for a reason” helps us out sometimes when life is tough. When something goes wrong, we feel a little anxious and depressed. Knowing everything happens for a reason makes us feel more secure and gives clarity that “everything will be ok” because “it was meant to happen”, making it a coping mechanism for comfort.
But is it a good coping mechanism? Anything that helps us deal with anxiety is great, but if everything is “meant to happen”, then what’s the point in trying? It stops us from pushing our selves to our limits or sometimes even making a small effort. This leads back to my point that avoiding problems causes more problems.
I’m not saying it’s completely wrong to believe it, just be careful how you approach it, otherwise there will be a mindset problem that will make you even more anxious, stopping you from growing as a person!
Why does your opinion matter pessimistic Chad?
Life is a journey and shit gets in the way – good shit and bad shit. Take responsibility for everything that goes on in your life and seek improvement by taking action. Acknowledging that bad shit happens is so so important especially coping with the bad shit. Just because something good or bad happens in your life doesn’t mean it was meant to happen.
Even if things really do “happen for a reason” it can hinder personal growth. I think it encourages people to do absolutely nothing and expect something from it. Opportunities don’t just arrive at your door. It mostly happens with effort. To me, It’s a mindset of avoiding taking action and avoiding growth. Frankly, I think it’s a trait of a sore losing mindset.
I’m not saying these “everything happens for a reason” people are stupid or completely wrong – there’s just a chance they don’t have the growth mindset. I used to think exactly the same thing too! As hard as it is to say – problems make us stronger and even stronger when we learn lessons from our problems!