Have you ever wondered why things happen the way they do? Do events and experiences in your life occur for a purpose, or is everything simply random chance?
It’s natural to wonder about the meaning of things and why it happens. But is there really truth behind the belief that “everything happens for a reason?” Or are things just coincidences of life?
To help answer this question, experts weigh in their insights along with reasons why they think so:
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
It all depends on how you think and what you believe
Generally speaking, there are two basic ways of viewing things.
- Everything has to be evidence-based
Some peoples’ thought processes are oriented towards being scientific and rational. These individuals tend to believe everything that occurs has a specific or evidenced-based explanation.
People with this type of orientation tend to be more black-and-white in their thinking and beliefs.
- There’s an inherent lesson in everything that occurs
Other individuals are more spiritually oriented in their thought processes. They, too, make an effort to see the rational explanation of why something has occurred.
However, their focus then shifts from a concrete explanation to a more dynamic understanding of what has happened. That is, they look for the inherent lesson in everything that occurs.
Individuals with this type of orientation search for the deeper and more spiritual meaning of things in their effort to understand what has happened, often believing that something divine or greater than themselves is always at play.
Neither position is better than the other. It’s simply a matter of personal preference.
Ideally, if one can entertain both perspectives, the potential exists for a more comprehensive understanding of things. The challenge lies in being open to seeing things through more than one lens.
“Does everything happen for a reason” is a question that can easily trigger intense debate between individuals that tend to be more rationally oriented in their cognitions and those that are more spiritually oriented. But defending one position over the other does not serve anyone well.
It is helpful to be open to seeing things from a different perspective
What is helpful is being clear on one’s preferred orientation and then being open to seeing things from a different perspective. The value in this is an opportunity to gain a richer and more defined understanding of things.
Believing that everything happens for a reason often gives us the strength to move forward meaningfully
When you embrace the belief that everything happens for a reason, it is wise to stay aware that when the things that occur are positive, it is much easier to take in the deeper spiritual lesson for the occurrence.
However, when the things that happen are negative, painful, or tragic, it is much harder to accept or take in the deeper spiritual lesson.
Unfortunately, in these painful moments, one stands to learn and grow the most as a person. In these difficult moments, believing that everything happens for a reason often gives us the strength to move forward in a meaningful manner.
Dr. Margit Gabriele Muller
Mental Health Coach | Veterinarian | Author, “Your Pet, Your Pill“
All things happen when they should
Even though things don’t always feel like they make sense at the moment, looking back, it’s easy to see that everything happens for a reason — the decisions we make shape our journeys and experiences.
Every challenge presents us with valuable opportunities for progress
Decisions made with effort usually move us forward, while easy ones lead to dead ends; this teaches valuable lessons which equip us for what’s ahead. Our lives are full of twists and turns as we grow and learn with each experience.
Though it may be difficult to accept at the time, every challenge presents us with valuable opportunities for progress. Difficult times help open doors that would be otherwise impossible to pass through.
We have each gone through unique challenges along our individual roads, which are allowing us opportunities and wisdom no other route could provide!
Personal growth and healing need time
After experiencing challenges firsthand, we are able to utilize newfound knowledge along the way.
Life is ultimately like being in a doctor’s waiting room between chapters of our life, with surprises whenever something new enters after healing awaits around the corner — yet often, we might be tempted to rush ahead before taking care of ourselves first.
Although impatience often gets the best of us before healing is complete, taking adequate time allows for personal growth and healing unique only to this situation.
We often take so many wrong turns, and it may seem as though there is no meaning behind them, but looking back on the journey can easily show us that “everything happens for a reason.”
Make peace with the past
If you want to move forward in life, it’s essential that you embrace your past. Finding inner peace with your past is essential to thrive in the present and prepare for a brighter future.
Related: How to Make Peace with Your Past?
By doing so, it can help create a strong foundation for personal growth and equip you with the invaluable skills needed when facing current or future challenges. It’s an invaluable learning process that can help you grow, heal, and ultimately move forward.
While it may be hard to believe right now, believing that everything happens for a reason can give us the strength, resilience, and comfort we need during difficult times.
No matter what obstacles come our way, everything in our lives works out to give us something meaningful
This faith gives us hope that, no matter what obstacles come our way, everything in our lives works out to give us something meaningful and worthwhile, and something good will eventually arise from this challenging period in our lives.
Related: Why Is Hope so Important in Life?
So, if you ever find yourself caught up in such occasions, remember: All things happen when they should — even seemingly insurmountable problems carry an unexpected outcome awaiting on the other side!
Yes: Divine intelligence knows what’s best for us better than we do
The answer is a resounding yes.
Gleaning from my life’s events, there is not a trace of doubt for me that divine intelligence or universal consciousness or God:
- Wants us to be happy.
- Knows what’s best for us better than we do.
- Communicates with us via our intuition and by placing coincidences in our path to nudge us toward self-actualization and purpose.
It all started at the age of 19 when I was going through existential angst over two issues I felt were unsolvable (what a 19-year-old isn’t). Within four months, a series of events took place involving a man and a symbol-laden dream that not only solved my issues but allowed me to sail into womanhood transformed.
How my miraculous metamorphosis came about was not lost on me, and I began paying attention. It was the first time I recognized that some kind of divine intelligence had my back.
The more I paid attention, the more coincidences happened. Some of these would turn into what I consider to be “miracles” — getting exactly what we need at just the right time.
Whenever I would tell my friends about these experiences, the response was always the same, “These things only happen to you.” I found this slightly annoying as I knew deep down this wasn’t true.
While reconnecting with a childhood friend eleven years ago, after telling her about my latest “miracle,” she had the same comeback. This time something clicked — I had indeed experienced an inordinate number of coincidences and miracles.
Meditating on this, the key emerged: Taking action.
It became crystal clear. If we hone our intuition, listen to our inner voice, and take action, we might get a “miracle.” If, however, we let the coincidence go by, it will remain merely that.
Writing a book was never on my radar screen. Now it felt completely normal to want to share my story.
In my book, “The Divine Language of Coincidence — How Miracles Transformed My Life After I Began Paying Attention,” I write about the extraordinary events that happened to me, an ordinary woman. The messages I convey are that miracles are accessible to anyone and what worked for me.
But don’t take my word for it; scientists have spent their whole careers researching coincidence and consciousness.
Keeping an open mind, even if just a crack, and taking action are essential to attracting what is best for each of us. I am living proof that this works.
Unfortunately, divine intelligence gave us free will, and mine is potent. My will was not to get married or have kids so that I could focus on my three careers. Certainly writing a book was never in the cards. Thank God I recognized the coincidences that appeared and listened to “something” telling me to take action.
After successfully remaining single until the age of 45, I am now married to my dream companion. Eleven years ago, my husband and I adopted a beautiful homeless teenage girl who is now married and working on her third master’s degree. My second book is being published.
I can sincerely tell you that I am sublimely happy. That’s just how the universe works.
Founder, Ethical Frames LLC | Author, “Persuade, Don’t Preach: Restoring Civility across the Political Divide“
It depends on the atmosphere in which we grew up
We believe everything happens for a reason because we humans are “meaning makers.” We are uncomfortable with the idea that events are random. We humans are great at pattern matching.
But the reasons we choose add another dimension to this. The beliefs we hold about the reason are based on the atmosphere in which we grew up — whether it was a safe, predictable prosperous environment or negative, economically precarious, and difficult.
Some people believe in a God Who intervenes in the world
If one comes from a negative environment, you are more likely to trace the cause back to believing in a God who intervenes in the world.
According to a study by Paul Froese and Christopher Bader, slightly over half of the adults in the US believe that God intervenes directly in the world.
If you grew up in a challenging, precarious environment, you might also be more likely to believe that “one only gets what one deserves.” That’s why there is a tendency to attribute bad things happening as punishment, that we did something “wrong.”
They tend to focus mostly on the individual, and sometimes it comes off as blaming the victim. That’s why you might hear that:
- A woman who is raped did something wrong to cause it.
- The 9/11 attack was a punishment for America for not following God’s will.
- An infant born with a congenital disability had parents that did something wrong.
- An illness was caused by what the patient did, and so on.
Making these claims helps to reassure the claimant that these awful things won’t happen to them because they aren’t going to do something wrong.
Some religions ask people to repent their sins to be healed of their illnesses, based on Jesus’ healing in the Bible. These beliefs can precipitate a spiritual crisis for people when they run into a situation they can’t make sense of with these beliefs, especially when the people affected didn’t do anything to cause it.
Hearing over and over again that they must have done something wrong when they are in the midst of a crisis just makes people feel worse. Whole books have been written trying to help people wrestle with these questions.
Some people believe everything that happens is caused by a system, not by the victim or God
The other half, those who don’t believe in an intervening God, place much more emphasis on what humans do and not what God does. Growing up in a more prosperous environment makes us more likely to look for causes in the system, not that the victim or God caused it.
These people are more likely to believe that:
- Birth defects are caused by chemicals in the system.
- Illnesses are caused by viruses or bacteria.
- The reasons why the perpetrators of assaults like 9/11 or rape need to be examined and prevented.
Because these beliefs are so hardwired, based on our upbringing, it shouldn’t be surprising that we can’t convince anyone they are wrong. There are ways to talk to people to get them to think about it, but it is hard.
We have to learn how to ask good questions. And if you are the target of such comments, you have to learn not to take them personally. It isn’t really about you; it’s about them and their beliefs.
That said, there is another way to look at it that we can learn from everything that happens to us. Because I know that some things that happen are random, that’s the way I prefer to live my life — to look for the lesson in everything.
For example, when I am ill, that means I need to take care of myself and perhaps practice asking for help. I look for my part in the event, but I don’t blame myself; I look for what I can change.
Ketan Parmar, MD, MBBS, DPM
Psychiatrist and Mental Health Expert, ClinicSpots
Yes: There’s something greater than ourselves that can help us cope with life’s struggles
When it comes to the idea that everything happens for a reason, many proponents believe strongly in this idea. They argue that even though things may appear random, they are actually part of a larger plan and that by paying attention, we can see how all of the pieces fit together.
Believers in this concept often cite examples such as two people meeting by chance only to discover they share something important in common or someone making an offer on a house only to find out later that it was the perfect place for them.
Proponents also point out that life is unpredictable and chaotic at times, so having faith in something greater than ourselves can help us cope with life’s struggles.
No: Most events can be explained by randomness and luck
On the other side of the debate are those who argue that while it is possible for some events to have a greater meaning, most events can be explained by randomness and luck.
They point out that many things in life are simply out of our control and that attributing everything to fate or destiny doesn’t make sense. They also argue that relying too heavily on the concept of everything happening for a reason is dangerous because this could lead to passivity and lack of action when faced with tough decisions.
Furthermore, they emphasize that everyone has free will, which means we should take responsibility for our own actions and not blindly believe in a predetermined outcome.
Whether or not everything happens for a reason is ultimately a personal choice
Some people find comfort in the thought that something greater than themselves is at work, while others prefer to take their fate into their own hands and make conscious decisions about how to live their lives.
Ultimately, what matters most is finding a way to make sense of your experiences, no matter which side of the debate you fall on. No one can give you a definitive answer, so it’s important to explore both sides of the argument and decide which one resonates with you the most.
Lindsey de los Santos
Elementary School Teacher | Owner, Migraine Road
Yes: It allows us to work towards the things that will add to our lives
When we face difficult times, it can feel like there can be no good that could possibly come from them. Some examples may be illness, abuse, or loss.
However, we may find that in each of these times, we were on a path to something else. Perhaps we will find inner strength and realize that where we have found ourselves has a bigger purpose than we knew. These times have become a part of our story. They don’t tell our whole story but allow us to be the people we were meant to be.
It is also valuable to recognize that the people we become may also allow us to connect with others with similar experiences. We may be able to encourage others and use our experiences to make a difference. So, if you find yourself amid hard times, hold on and know there is always hope.
The other side of these times is waiting for you. It may take time, but you will make it through. When you get there, you will find peace and look back, knowing this is where you were meant to be.
Don’t get stuck in the negative or what-if game
In life, we may have an idea or vision of what we hope for. Sometimes it works out, and other times things turn out completely different.
Not getting a certain job or continuing a relationship can sometimes cause us to wonder if we missed an opportunity. What is important to remember is that a door closing creates a space for us to have a chance at something new. So, often a change of plans can become the greatest opportunity.
It is important not to get stuck in the negative or what-if game. Instead, focus on this question, “What is the best that could happen?” By changing your thoughts, you change your life.
Our mindset is a powerful thing, and believing things happen for a reason may create a positive movement in us. This will allow us to work towards the things that will add to our lives. We can do this by being open and willing to take risks.
Expect anything and appreciate everything
While this may be a familiar expression, it can be so true. There are examples of people running late and then missing an accident, or maybe your plans changed and you ended up being at the same restaurant as a good friend. This sometimes feels like luck, and we may think it is something more.
For whatever reason, being at the right place at the right time is something we can all appreciate. Maybe you were the one that got the upgrade at the hotel, or you happened to make a connection that led to a future opportunity at work.
All of these experiences just show us that in life, we have to expect anything and appreciate everything. You don’t always know what will happen, but you can always decide how you will respond when it does.
It may be a small moment that stands out to you, a life-changing opportunity, or a special connection that stays in your heart. If you find yourself in the right place at the right time, seize the opportunity!
There are no easy answers: The trials of life either give you an excuse to stay stuck or kindling to thrive
In my book “Rebels That Break Things: A Black Sheep Manifesto,” I write:
“The challenges of the moment do not determine your fate. Fight for the things you have yet to discover. More will be revealed. Choose to believe in things conceived, born of your heart and mind! The way forward is not always clear, but it’s there, waiting for your footsteps.”
In embracing the struggles of life, we open doors once thought impossible. Does everything happen for a reason? There are no easy answers. The trials of life either give you an excuse to stay stuck or kindling to thrive, to be fully alive, no matter the obstacles or pain of the moment. It’s never easy.
We all struggle — and yet, we also rise. Time and time again, we meet the moment and are better for it.
Even when drowning in despair, on the other side, we find purpose in the pain.
The problem is not the struggle itself but our reaction to the many struggles we face throughout life. The trials we face fuel excuses or provide kindling to meet the moment. Perhaps, that’s the reason we suffer. In navigating the storms of life, we build muscle for life.
As we overcome tough obstacles, we overcome self-doubt. As we walk through the highs and lows, we grow ever more confident in the person in the mirror.
Operating on autopilot keeps us stuck in a jail cell of our own making. Intense emotions ignored are stored. To embrace the struggle is to embrace the feelings that come with that struggle.
Hacks are useless. We have to do the tough work that lies ahead. There are no shortcuts, but the rewards of such work are many. It helps to know we’re not alone when facing adversity. Other people are struggling with the exact same issues.
The heartbreak and obstacles of life do not define you.
- Claim your power.
- Protect the potential of tomorrow.
- Walk as a purpose-driven person.
- Claim the mantle.
- Chart your course.
“Messy is its own kind of beautiful” is another phrase in my book. Let that sentiment sink in for a moment. What resonates? What rings true? Do you embrace the messiness of yourself and life?
Does everything happen for a reason? That’s up to you, is it not? When we bring a sense of meaning and wisdom to the challenges we face, we evolve and become more as human beings.
I’ve never been fond of the cliche “Live your best life” because it sells a cliche. It’s a media-driven version of existence that does not allow for the spectacular yet flawed realities of what it is to be human. Together, we walk. Find the reason.
Rapid Transformational Therapist | Hypnotherapist | Reiki Level II Practitioner
Everything that takes place is to lead you forward toward achieving your potential
If you’ve ever wondered why something happened to you or felt that something was bad or negative, it can be difficult to fathom that it happened for your own good. How so, you might ask?
Our growth and evolution are our purpose here on earth, so everything that takes place is to lead you forward toward achieving your potential. It is often through anger or turmoil that our inner fire is ignited, and we then take action that propels us forward toward something better.
As mirrors for each other, we reflect to one another what their energy is putting forth.
Here’s a prime example: Say your partner is angry about your tone of voice in response to a question, your partner then responds with an equally angry tone, and things escalate from there. The reason is that your partner matched the energy of anger in your tone and body language, and reflected exactly what you were feeling.
The next time you feel like something is unjust, bad, or negative, take some time to reflect on what you thought and felt right before that situation happened. Your inner motives are often the catalyst for what you draw into your experiences.
As a hypnotherapist, I guide clients to explore, understand, and find meaning in the events of their lives. This shines a light on the motives and beliefs that may be holding them captive, silencing their voice, or keeping them in destructive habits or self-sabotage mode.
Related: How to Live a Meaningful Life?
It is the antidote they need to break free. When you understand why things had to happen, you have a different perspective and can escape the past and become an active participant in life rather than feeling like an innocent bystander or victim of circumstance.
Yes: It’s the implication that things were meant to be this way
There is a meme that makes the rounds now and then on Facebook that I think recirculates because it rings true: Everything happens for a reason, and sometimes that reason is that you’re stupid and make poor decisions.
It is a glib answer, but in many cases, it is true. I see people in difficult circumstances, and as they are saying, “Why do bad things always happen to me?” I am thinking, “Uh… And whose choice was it to drive drunk and wreck your car?”
“Everything happens for a reason” is the implication that things were meant to be this way or that some force is directing the universe.
I remember after Hurricane Katrina did such catastrophic damage to New Orleans, one of the people sent to help the refugees who were taken to the Houston Astrodome told some of them, “You didn’t have much anyway, so this worked out well for you.”
I suspect that many of those people, even those who lived in substandard housing, actually liked their homes, neighbors, and neighborhoods. So while the forced move to Houston ultimately did prove beneficial to some of them, for many others, they lost everything, including a sense of place and belonging.
So what was the “reason” for their being uprooted? What was the greater good that came from this disaster?
For many people, there wasn’t one. Just loss on a scale most of us cannot imagine. Other than self-inflicted harm that creates a karmic reason, there is no other reason.
Why do some people die in a hurricane and others live? Why does a tornado takeout one house on a street but leave the others intact? Why do some people survive a plane crash or ship sinking while their fellow passengers perish? The only reason is chance or luck.
Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology | Breathwork Practitioner and CEO, Alyse Breathes
Yes: There’s usually a message or reflection about what you need to heal or work on
If I had to sum this up into one answer, it would be yes! Everything does ultimately happen for a reason.
From our human perspective, it can seem like some things are completely random or meaningless.
For example, having to wait in a really long line at the gas station or getting a flat tire. However, you may be completely unaware that if you hadn’t been held up at the gas station, you might have been on the road near a horrible car accident, or you got a flat tire because the person who helped you ended up becoming a huge part of your life!
If you think back on your life, you can usually see that many of the situations you found yourself in, however big or small, ended up contributing to the person you are in some way.
Within each circumstance, there’s also usually a message or reflection about what you need to heal or work on.
For example, if you find yourself in a relationship with someone emotionally unavailable, that is an opportunity for you to heal your patterns in relationships. In this situation, most likely, you had a parent who wasn’t present for you in that way — where you are being prompted to heal your past around that situation.
From this perspective, everything is unfolding with and for you, not to you.
It’s all a reflection of your own energy, what you have to heal or face, and the roadblocks on the way to creating the life you truly desire.
Founder and Owner, The Men’s Attitude
No: We are the ones responsible for creating our own meaning in life
From an existentialist point of view, the answer is no: Nothing in life is happening for a reason.
We are the ones responsible for creating our own meaning in life. We make our own choices and decisions, shaping our lives and determining our destinies. There is no “greater power” or “grand plan” that determines how things turn out — it is all up to us as individuals.
While this point of view might sound a bit bleak, there is a hidden superpower in recognizing that we are the ones who create our own destiny. Let me explain myself.
If yes, we absolve ourselves of any accountability for our choices and decisions
When we accept that everything in life is happening for a reason, we are, in essence, pushing the responsibility of our lives onto something outside of ourselves. We become victims of “fate” or some other external force and absolve ourselves of any accountability for our choices and decisions.
When we do something and we fail, we can easily shrug it off and say, “Oh well, it was meant to be,” instead of trying to learn from our mistakes and try to do better next time.
But when we believe that nothing is happening for a reason and that it is all up to us, we recognize our own power and potential. We become empowered to make decisions and take action that will shape our lives in positive ways.
- So if there is no grand plan for our lives, what should we do?
This is a philosophical question that many great existentialist thinkers have grappled with. And while I am not a philosopher, I do believe that the answer lies in something we all possess — our ability to take responsibility for our lives.
We have the power to choose how we live and act every single day, and it is up to us as individuals to make sure that these choices add meaning and purpose to our lives and help the community.
At the end of the day, you don’t need a Ph.D. in philosophy to understand what is good and what is not or to understand what will make you happy and fulfilled.
- So what is the truth? Is there a reason for everything that happens in life or not?
To be honest, I believe that no one is able to answer this one with certainty, and it really doesn’t really matter what is “true” or “false.” What really matters is how we choose to live our lives.
- Do we accept responsibility for our lives and choices, or do we give up power over our destinies?
The choice is entirely up to us. Even if you believe that everything in life happens for a reason, you still have the power to make your own decisions and take action that will lead you to happiness.
So ultimately, it doesn’t matter if everything in life happens for a reason or not; what matters is how we use our power to create our own destiny, and I truly believe that believing we are the ones responsible for our lives is the best way to act and live in the world.
Senior Editor, Tandem
There is no way to definitively say that everything happens for a reason
When I was growing up, my mother frequently said, “Everything happens for a reason, and things tend to work out for the best.” This is a statement that has stayed with me for years.
Even if it’s not entirely true, it can help if one believes that even when bad things happen, good things can happen as an effect.
Thinking like this seems better than the alternative of thinking that if something bad happens, everything else that follows will also be bad. But is it true that everything happens for a reason?
In 1995, at 22, I got married for the first time. Two years later, we split up. Years after that, I thought I had met “the one.” With love blinders on, I thought he had everything I was looking for. This was not the case, as, in 2002, we broke up.
Then, a few months after, I met the man that I later married. Though I was with others before I met my husband, I learned things while I was in those relationships. Those things I learned made me who I am today.
Becoming this person enabled me to find the person that truly is the one for me. Situations like this make me believe that everything does happen for a reason.
In the early 2000s, I had a co-worker who was in a car accident. She was a passenger in a car with her parents, brother, and sister. They were hit by a driver who drunkenly rammed the car into theirs.
Though she, her parents, and her brother had injuries they could recover from, her sister passed away upon impact. Now they have a giant hole in their family that can never be fully filled.
Why was this young girl, no older than 12, given a death sentence at such an early age? There seems to be no rhyme or reason for why bad things happen to good people. This leads me to think that not everything has to happen for a reason.
When I went back to school to get my BA, I started by majoring in computers. The degree was a coding focus, and I soon realized I did not want to be a coder. I changed my major to marketing, worked at various advertising agencies, then worked at a casino, but I eventually went back to office work and became an editor and a writer.
Maybe those difficult coding classes led me to my marketing degree, which helped me find the job I have and love today. When I experience things like this, I start to think that maybe, just maybe, things happen for a reason.
There is no way to definitively say that everything happens for a reason. But even if you can’t prove it, that doesn’t mean you can’t believe it.
For now, I will continue to believe my mother when she said, “Everything happens for a reason, and things tend to work out for the best.“ At least for me, I’ll take this over the alternative any day.
Lead Matchmaker, Cinqe
Yes: Life’s events can teach us lessons or help us grow
Many people have wondered if everything happens for a reason:
- Some people believe that everything that happens in life has a reason behind it, even if the outcome is negative.
- Some people believe that everything that happens in life happens for a reason.
People often wonder if everything happens for a reason, but it is hard to make sense of the random and unexpected ways things can unfold.
It can be difficult to understand why certain things happen, particularly when it feels like the bad outweighs the good. But some believe that whatever happens, even if it’s perceived as negative, is happening for a reason.
By accepting this, we open ourselves up to finding positive solutions within difficult situations
Whether to show us our own strength or offer us an alternative perspective, this belief suggests that life’s events can teach us lessons or help us grow in some way.
Of course, not all outcomes are clear or easy to interpret — but by accepting that everything happens for a reason, we open ourselves up to finding positive solutions and discovering new opportunities within difficult situations.
Many of us have pondered the greater question regarding whether or not everything happens for a reason.
As much as we’d like to think that our lives are precisely orchestrated, with each decision and event being part of an explicit overall plan, it’s often hard to make sense of the random and unexpected ways in which it can unfold at times.
All that really matters is that, at the end of the day, we recognize those life lessons, however painful they may be, and try our best to move on with understanding and appreciation.
Dwelling on things that cannot be changed will only prolong our suffering, so it can be productive to allow ourselves to grieve if necessary. However, take steps towards letting go as soon as possible in favor of a more positive outlook.
Pregnancy and Motherhood Blogger
Yes: Sometimes, we can’t see the reason right away; other times, the reason is clear
There are a lot of things in life that happen for a reason. Sometimes, we can’t see the reason right away. Other times, the reason is clear. But sometimes, we might never know why something happened.
For me, I believe that everything happens for a reason. Take my experience, for example. Almost two years ago, I wasn’t ready to have a baby, but I found out I was pregnant.
Even though it was unexpected, and I had to go through many changes to accommodate this new life, I believe that everything happened for a reason. This little person was put into my life for a specific purpose, even if, at the time, I didn’t know what that was yet.
I was not prepared to have a baby. My husband and I were not exactly expecting to be in the situation of expecting a baby — we lived in a cozy studio apartment, barely had enough saved up for our future, and I had just started my new job. As many know, it is sometimes a challenge to start a new job and learn everything you need to know about the new company.
Along with this, we had many plans to travel in the near future before we even thought of planning for a baby.
An unexpected turn of events
One day, I felt a little sick. I also missed my period. I shrugged it off as stress, but eventually, we found out we were pregnant. What an unexpected turn of events.
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that I cried when I found out I was pregnant. I cried with confusion and fear. We were not in a position to have a baby. I didn’t think we had the resources for me to go on maternity leave, but I also knew childcare was expensive. My husband and I held each other’s hand and braced ourselves for the roller coaster ride ahead.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise
However, from the time we got pregnant until I gave birth, everything in our lives lined up so we would be able to move to a bigger place and have enough income to live comfortably while I was on maternity leave for one year.
Now that my daughter is one year old, I look back at the events that unfolded after I found out I was pregnant and realize that she’s the catalyst we needed, so we would be forced to figure out creative solutions to move forward in our lives.
Because I got pregnant, we had to figure a way out of our previous living situation and into one that could accommodate having a child. Now, a year and a half later, I can wholeheartedly say our daughter is the light of our lives, and we can’t imagine life any other way.
Managing Director and CEO, WebSpero Solutions
The philosophical question of whether everything in our lives happens for a reason has been debated for centuries.
In this regard, it is essential to recognize that there is no universal consensus or definition on this concept as it can be interpreted in various ways.
Yes: Everything happens due to some predetermined external plan
One interpretation of this concept is that everything occurs due to some predetermined external plan. This view tends to be adopted by individuals with religious beliefs, who may attribute this plan to a higher power or divine being.
This explanation could be used to comfort those in times of struggle, as they may believe that the events that occur have been set in motion by a higher power and will ultimately lead to some greater outcome.
No: Everything occurs as a result of a cause-and-effect relationship of all events
On the opposite end, everything that occurs happens as a result of a purely random series of events. This view could be adopted by those who demonstrate more scientific rationale and attribute the outcomes of all events to the cause-and-effect relationship of all preceding events.
Life’s coincidences: It may appear to be predetermined or part of some larger plan
Another interpretation of this concept could be summed up as life’s coincidences.
This suggests that although things may not be predetermined, situations can align in such a way that they create particular outcomes that may appear to be predetermined or part of some larger plan. People may point to these occurrences as evidence of a higher power or as mere random alignment of events.
It is a matter of personal belief and perspective
The question of whether everything happens for a reason is a complex one, and there are a number of different perspectives that one could take on it.
Determinism: There’s no such thing as randomness
One perspective is that everything happens for a specific reason, often referred to as determinism.
This view holds that all events, including human actions, are ultimately caused by previous events and that the laws of nature predetermine everything that happens.
Proponents of this view might argue that everything happens for a reason because everything is ultimately determined by the laws of physics and other natural forces and that there is no such thing as randomness or chance.
Indeterminism: “Some” things happen for a reason; other things happen by chance
Another perspective is that some things happen for a reason, but not everything.
This view, often referred to as indeterminism, suggests that while previous events may cause certain events, there are also events that occur randomly or by chance.
Proponents of this view might argue that while some things happen for a specific reason, other things happen due to a combination of circumstances or due to randomness.
Ultimately, whether everything happens for a reason is a matter of personal belief and perspective.
Some people may believe that everything happens for a specific reason and that there is a specific purpose or meaning to everything that happens. In contrast, others may believe that some things happen for a reason and others do not or that the reasons for things happening may not be immediately apparent or understandable to us.
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It’s a choice of perspective — we can choose what we want to believe
Regardless of any spiritual implications it may have, believing that everything happens for a reason is simply a choice of perspective.
We can choose to believe there is no meaning to our actions or the things that happen to us. Or we can choose that every experience, positive or negative, is meant to teach us how to grow.
I choose to believe everything I experience has meaning to learn from, even when those things are uncomfortable or seem negative at first. Why? I can’t think of a better way to grow and move forward. It’s a fact that we must learn from our mistakes to progress.
The meaning we create ourselves is what matters
With that in mind, how else could we choose to learn, grow, and expand if nothing we experienced supposedly mattered? Without overthinking things too much, I always reflect on how my decisions and actions drove me here now.
I pick up what I can along the way, especially when I mess up, but I have to believe the meaning we create ourselves is what matters.
We are fed with this belief that discomfort is something to avoid and that failure is definitive. That’s an illusion. Failure builds the experience we need to effect different results. You have to keep at it to derive the meaning for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
If everything happens for a reason, what’s the point of making decisions?
Just because everything happens for a reason doesn’t mean we don’t have free will or the ability to make choices. Our choices contribute to the overall outcome and the reason something happens. Think of it like a chain reaction—each link in the chain has an impact on the outcome, but they’re all connected.
How can finding the reason for something that happened help me?
Understanding why something happened can provide a sense of closure or understanding. It can also lead to personal growth and learning from the experience. However, it’s important not to hold on to the belief that everything happens for a reason as a form of justification for negative experiences or trauma.
What if I can’t find a reason for something that happened?
It’s possible that there may not be an obvious reason for something that happened. And that’s okay—not everything has a clear answer. It’s important not to get stuck believing that there must be a reason for everything and to focus on moving forward in a positive way.
How can I reconcile the belief that everything happens for a reason with the tragedies and suffering in the world?
It can be difficult to reconcile this belief with the existence of tragedies and suffering in the world. However, it’s important to recognize that our experiences—both positive and negative—shape us and contribute to who we’re as individuals.
In addition, negative experiences can be opportunities for growth and change. It’s also important to remember that not all suffering or tragedy is due to personal actions or choices.
Can acknowledging that everything happens for a reason lead to a sense of peace or comfort?
For some people, acknowledging that everything happens for a reason can provide a sense of peace or comfort. It can foster a sense of trust that things will work out as they’re supposed to go and alleviate feelings of guilt or regret.
However, this belief may not be helpful or comforting to everyone, and it’s important to respect individual beliefs and experiences.
Is there scientific evidence to support the belief that everything happens for a reason?
While there is no scientific evidence to support the belief that everything happens for a reason, there are studies that suggest that finding meaning in difficult experiences can have positive psychological effects.
One study found that people who believed in a purpose or reason for their suffering were more likely to have post-traumatic growth and positive psychological outcomes. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the events in our lives have a predetermined purpose or outcome.
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