Does Everything Happen For a Reason?


We all know the saying “Everything happens for a reason”, but what the fuck does that even mean? It’s become such a common thing for people to say, especially in the grieving process, but in our modern age, all it is akin to is saying “that was lucky” (or unlucky).


There’s a famous quote that I’m sure everyone reading this has come across at some point in their life, whether it be in school or on some 15-year-old girls Instagram bio. “If a door is closed, it’s because what’s behind it wasn’t meant for you.” Cute, right? But, at least in my humble opinion, doesn’t mean jack shit. 


One of the main issues I found in saying everything happens for a reason is the coincidental denial of free will as humans that comes with that. If everything DOES happen for a reason, then what does it matter what I do day-to-day if everything’s already predetermined for me and “happens for a reason.” What if I want to open that door that’s closed? Am I not able to open it because an outside force is keeping me from doing so? I find that hard to believe. What I do find more believable, however is that me thinking I’m not in control of something I want is a lot easier on our self-esteem than acknowledging that we couldn’t open that metaphorical door because we weren’t strong enough to do so.


It’s in all of us and it’s undeniable. When we fuck up or don’t get that promotion at work or whatever it may be, it’s a lot easier to find the blame and put it on something or someone other than ourselves. I think believing that “Everything Happens for a Reason” is essentially the most common way of saying “I’d rather not blame myself for this.” However, there are times where people find that ‘good’ things happen for a reason too.  


The other day, one of my good friends brought up an example that helped me work through this a little easier. He made up an instance where we may be on our way to a bar or show or something and our car gets a flat tire. In the moment, we’d definitely be pissed. But, what if at that bar or venue, there was a horrible shooting or some type of catastrophic event? Did we then get our flat tire for a reason? As much as I’d like to think someone’s looking out for me, I’d have to chock this example up to “luck.” Which, by the way, I think is just about as “meaningful” as saying it happened for a reason. 


What is undeniable, however, is that we are given choices as human beings. Every day we’re presented with choices and what we as humans must do, is live with the consequences of these choices, whether they’re good or bad. I think these instances that make us think that “things happen for a reason” is just a collective result of all the choices we’ve made that have led us to that point. There were a multitude of choices that we made that led up to us getting that flat tire, but to think or say that it all happened out of the blue for a reason is just straight up lazy thinking.  


At the end of the day, our lives are simply a butterfly effect of everyone in the world’s choices (including our own). That’s not something that’s necessarily easy to wrap your head around, which is why I assume everyone likes to take the easy way and say it was a miracle, or lucky, or it ‘happened for a reason.’ All in all, this isn’t meant to say that there isn’t someone or something out there beyond our understanding, but that if there is such a thing, it isn’t controlling everything that happens on our earth from day to day. This post is for everyone reading this to simply consider their decisions more carefully in the future, because every choice you make, no matter how little or big, will affect you and those around you forever.

- @youngxgosling