Stop Telling Me Everything Happens For A Reason
I've been crying a lot lately. Now, don’t judge. Worse yet, don’t pity. Stuff happens. It could happen to anybody.
The thing is, whenever bad things happen, well-meaning human beings, bless their hearts, always come up with the overused, insincere, flat-out meaningless phrase that everything happens for a reason. Really? I have to blink back more tears when I hear that.
The utterers of that pointless and perfunctory platitude come across as ignorant because those who say it don’t understand it. What they are implying is there’s nothing much I can do about my situation. Just sit tight and hope for something good to come out of this. In the meantime, if I need to, I can cry myself a river but try not to drown in it.
It did not comfort me in the least.
In his excellent piece linked below, under the part “Acceptance and the perspective of life is short,” Marcus included a snippet from page 417 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that beautifully sums up what acceptance means in 109 words:
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in [the universe] by mistake …unless I accept life on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes.
It’s a failure-filled and paralyzing attempt to focus on why things happen — I can leave that for the purposeless, procrastinating, prognosticating philosophers and their self-righteous dogmatic religious cohorts whom I have rejected. Rather how I choose to respond to what happened does matter. Destiny exists to test my free will, not to silence it.
Just like everyone else, I take things too seriously. Sometimes my expectations are way too unrealistic for my good. When unpleasant things happen and my life flips, I will question. I want to know why. I’ll have to sit through that uncomfortable situation to deal with whatever emotions are going on inside me.
When someone says everything happens for a reason, and then expect me to passively cross my arms and wait for the reason to show up so that I can find my bigger purpose in all of this, they are making light of the pain I’m experiencing — and their justification defeats the purpose. I may not yet know the grand-scheme-of-things purpose, but what I do now understand is pain exists so that I can learn and gain spiritual advancement and the concomitant material benefits.
I don’t need anyone to feel sorry for what happened to me. But I need to make sure that I’ll survive this ordeal and possibly keep it from happening again.
Now doesn’t that sounds like the put-on-your-big-boy-pants-and-get-your-act-together accountability? Good, it should. As opposed to relieving me or anyone else caught in an unpleasant situation, of any and every responsibility that is within our control. When somnambulists say it tells us that we can pass the buck to some unseen forces that will take care of us. I am now awakening and aware that discomfort presents an opportunity for me to take action towards my own earthly and spiritual achievement.
When life didn’t turn out as expected, it’s more convenient to look outside ourselves for reasons, but most of the factors that prevent us from getting where we want to go are outcomes of individual choices and behaviors.