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Everything happens for a reason: 7 reasons to believe this is true

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

— Marilyn Monroe

“Everything happens for a reason.”

The philosopher Aristotle explains it perfectly. In his quest to discover the true meaning of life, he suggested there were two constants in life:

First, the universe is constantly changing and evolving. What it is today is never the same tomorrow.

Second, he referred to entelechy, which is “that which turns potential into reality.”

Aristotle believed that everything happening to you today has a purpose because it turns you into the person you are becoming.

Everything that happens to you has a reason—but there’s a way of thinking about this that empowers you in life.

In this article, I will break down the philosophy of “everything happens for a reason” so that it becomes an empowering principle in your life. I will then share seven supporting reasons for taking onboard this principle. Finally, I’ll share examples of who said everything happens for a reason.

Let’s get started.

Does everything happen for a reason?

everything happens for a reason

When someone suggests that everything doesn’t happen for a reason, they usually take “reason” to mean cause-and-effect in a mechanistic universe where events are random.

I’m not suggesting otherwise.

I am, however, using a different definition of reason.

Here’s the definition of “reason” I’m using:

reason (noun)

  1. a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.
  2. a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action:

Reason is the meaning we give to the events that happen in our life.

The events you’re going through and the actions you take are creating the person you’re becoming.

You are not a random element in the universe, reacting mechanically to everything happening to you.

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Instead, you are a human being. You have been gifted with the capacity to create meaning from all of these events.

This gives you the power to create meaning from them and start making life work for you rather than against you.

Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod, says that the reason for your life exists deep inside you:

“The meaning of your life and the reason why you want to keep going isn’t just an idea. It’s like another living entity that exists within you. It’s a part of who you are, your body and soul, and it coordinates with the things you think and feel. It’s a deep part of you that you are not even aware of most of the time.”

This is the choice you have. Believing in everything happens for a reason empowers you to create meaning from the tragedies and setbacks you experience in life.

As the psychoanalyst Viktor Frankl says, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

“Everything happens for a reason” helps you grow from tragedy and adversity

everything happens for a reason

You may be going through a break-up. Perhaps you’re struggling in the workplace with a terrible boss. Maybe you’re dealing with the grief of someone passing away.

Whatever it is you’re going through, I feel for you. Believing that this is happening for a reason doesn’t mean you should be happy this is happening.

It really sucks to be going through this.

Believing in the reason behind the challenging even is about managing your pain and giving you the strength to go on.

Therapist Michael Schreiner explains the benefit of believing in this principle during challenging times:

“With this sort of psychological bulwark in place, life with all its chaotic randomness and uncertainty becomes less threatening, it seems more manageable.

“This secular version of religious predetermination not only instills courage to go out and face the world, it also makes the people who buy into it feel special, as if they were singled out for something important, as if the higher entity had a specific, detailed plan that included them.”

The challenges you’re going through are molding you into the person you’re becoming.

“Everything happens for a reason” gives you closure

everything happens for a reason

When things don’t go our way, we often experience regret. We wish we could have controlled the outcome to avoid feeling loss or disappointment.

For example, if you’re going through a break-up it’s natural to feel sad about it. It’s normal to feel a deep loss and shame over the failure of a relationship.

On the other hand, you can choose to use this experience as an opportunity to empower yourself.

You can choose to believe that there is a reason why this relationship failed. A reason that you’ll know later on. You can choose to create a new sense of meaning from getting over someone.

According to University of Toronto researcher Mariana Bockarova:

“When given closure, we can re-structure our past, present, and future in a healthy way, through understanding what went wrong and reconfiguring our story accordingly. When we are refused closure, however, attempts to understand what happened flood the conception of our past, present, and future.”

When you accept the reality and the finality of a situation, it closes the chapter of the story and allows you to move on to better things ahead.

Call it a coping mechanism if you must. But believing that events in your life have a purpose allows you to take one step forward to a better you.

“Everything happens for a reason” alleviates your pain

everything happens for a reason

Why has humanity been so strongly attracted to religion for millions of years? Because it gave them a reason, something to look up to when life becomes too painful. This need for something to hold onto has been embedded in our survival since time immemorial. Some people rely on religion or science.

Or you can just simply believe that everything has a purpose.

Schreiner adds:

“We can think of the psychology of everything happens for a reason as the psychic equivalent of taking a powerful sedative, of sort of descending into a happy stupor where there’s no need to face existential anxiety squarely. “

It might be difficult to believe that there is a reason behind losing something. At this point in our lives, it’s easy to blame something or someone instead. But believing that everything happens for a reason can help ease the burden and pain. In fact, it allows us to heal.

Sometimes, it is during the lowest points in life that we gain the courage and strength to emerge as better. In believing that a loss is not meaningless, we give ourselves a chance to heal. It alleviates our most painful feelings and allows us to continue our lives.

(Pain and suffering provide meaning in life. So does achieving our goals. The most effective way to handle pain and achieve goals is to embrace your inner beast. Find out how in our free masterclass.)

“Everything happens for a reason” gives you a chance to reflect

everything happens for a reason

I’ve heard someone say before that when a dream or a goal feels so out of your grasp and so impossible to achieve, the key is to just look at your feet and take one step at a time.

When you look at it as a simple step forward, it doesn’t seem so intimidating at all. You may even feel like you’re not good at anything, but you just have to keep moving. And one day, you’ll just look up and you’ll have already arrived at your destination.

By choosing to believe that everything in your life has a bigger meaning, you allow yourself the openness to see the picture not as it is right now, but as it could be when all the pieces are finally put together. One day, all the pain, struggles, setbacks, and doubting will make sense.

You’ll realize that all of these things are essential building blocks to help you reach your highest self, or as Aristotle puts it, your entelechy or your conscious insight.

Bestselling author Karen Salmansohn explains the ideology:

“When you purposefully choose to tap into “conscious insight” you are able to see why and how to bend with stormy winds – instead of angrily resisting the things that life is blowing at you!

“What may have at first seemed deflating, frustrating or painful can be experienced with conscious insight as an empowering growth opportunity.”

“Everything happens for a reason” leads us to the defining moments of our lives

everything happens for a reason

Have you ever had that “aha!” moment when everything finally makes sense? Yes, we’re talking about that.

Instead of being stuck on the negativity, you’ve chosen to believe that all is not for nothing. And when you experience your most defining moments, you feel that sense of awareness.

Author Hara Estroff Marano and psychiatrist Dr. Anna Yusim describe such moments as:

“Such moments carry credibility precisely because they are not anticipated or prescribed. They are, however, transformative. With their mix of insight and intensity, they give life new direction, forever altering the connection people have with each other and, often enough, with themselves.

“Of the various kinds of turning points life presents, the most powerful of all may be character-defining moments. They go to the heart of who we are.”

You realize that now all of it makes sense. It’s one of those Eureka moments that allow you to reflect on your life and makes you realize just how strong you really are.

“Everything happens for a reason” allows you to make sense of the chaos in your life

everything happens for a reason

We’ve all been through difficult situations when absolutely nothing makes sense. Life has a way of making us question even our own sanity at times.

Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom explains why it’s so comforting to believe everything is planned :

“I think it’s not so much of an intellectual need, but an emotional need. It’s very reassuring to think that, when bad things happen, there’s an underlying purpose behind them. There’s a silver lining. There’s a plan.

“The idea that the world is this pitiless place where things just happen, one damn thing after another, is frightening to many people.”

But allowing yourself to believe that even this chaos has a purpose allows you to take a step back and look at your life more closely. It allows you to pick at the things that do have meaning and do make sense. This makes you create better decisions in the future and gives you renewed motivation and purpose to go forward.

“Everything happens for a reason” teaches you valuable lessons

everything happens for a reason

Let’s go back to the phrase “the universe is always changing.” So that means so do you. Everything that happens for a reason teaches you valuable lessons. It can even shatter your old beliefs, literally changing you into a better version of yourself.

You learn to look at things in a different light. Your ideals and the way you approach things can even do a complete 360.

In Jim Carrey’s famous commencement address at the 2014 MUM Graduation, he poignantly said:

“When I say life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you, I really don’t know if that’s true. I’m just making a conscious choice to perceive challenges as something beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way.”

Change is an important aspect of life. Setbacks are there to teach us great lessons. These are things we all should learn to embrace.

Who said everything happens for a reason?

Here are some famous quotes from people who believe that everything happens for a reason.

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” — Marilyn Monroe

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilised by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.” — Walter Anderson

“I knew everything happened for a reason. I just wished the reason would hurry up and make itself known.” –  Christina Lauren, Beautiful Bastard

“The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we’re not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence.” — Paul Auster

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” — Mary Tyler Moore

“Do you believe that there are no coincidences in life? Everything happens for a reason. Every person we meet have a roll in our life, either it is big or small. Some will hurt, betray and make us cry. Some will teach us lesson, not to change us, but to make us to be a better person.” — Cynthia Rusli

“Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.” — Jon Bon Jovi

“Sad things happen. They do. But we don’t need to live sad forever.” — Mattie Stepanek

“We go through our careers and things happen to us. Those experiences made me what I am.” — Thomas Keller

“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.” – Angel Flonis Harefa

“There is nothing that can happen TO you that can’t also happen FOR you…if you’ll let it.” ― Mandy Hale

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” — Marilyn Monroe

“Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason.” — Albert Schweitzer

Closing thoughts

People are so obsessed with things like karma, fate or serendipity. It’s hard to explain. But ultimately, it’s just a need to grasp for something steady when life pulls the rug under our feet.

It’s important to keep believing that everything happens for a reason. It gives us valuable introspection that can be hard to obtain when life gets really hard.

However, it’s even more vital to remember that balance is essential.

Yes, there is beauty in believing that there is a reason why things don’t go according to plan.

But never forget the power of will and hard work. Don’t let this mindset consume you into being complacent.

According to Bloom and fellow psychology researcher Konika Banerjee:

“This tendency to see meaning in life events seems to reflect a more general aspect of human nature: our powerful drive to reason in psychological terms, to make sense of events and situations by appealing to goals, desires and intentions.

“This drive serves us well when we think about the actions of other people, who actually possess these psychological states, because it helps us figure out why people behave as they do and to respond appropriately.

“But it can lead us into error when we overextend it, causing us to infer psychological states even when none exist. This fosters the illusion that the world itself is full of purpose and design.”

In short, you also need to be proactive.

At the end of the day, everything does happen for a reason. But what you can control is your reaction to it.

What do you think? Does everything happen for a reason? Let us know in the poll below.

What do you think?

Written by Genefe Navilon

Genefe Navilon is a writer, poet, and blogger. She graduated with a degree in Mass Communications at the University of San Jose Recoletos. Her poetry blog, Letters To The Sea, currently has 18,000 followers. Her work has been published in different websites and poetry book anthologies. She divides her time between traveling, writing, and working on her debut poetry book.

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