“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.”
A saying that has been familiar to every one of us during many points in our lives.
Famous philosopher Aristotle explains it perfectly. In his lifelong journey to know the true meaning of life, he has managed to impart one of the most valuable pieces of wisdom.
For him, there are two constants in life.
One, that the universe is constantly changing. It is always evolving. What it is today is never the same tomorrow.
And second, a thing he calls “entelechy.” It means, “that which turns potential into reality.”
Aristotle believed that things happen today because they have a purpose later on.
Every choice we make, every outcome that happens from these choices, every person who comes into our lives, and every person who leaves — all of these elements have a reason.
They make us who we are today.
Why is it important to believe in this philosophy?
The truth is, no matter how much we try to control our lives, there are things that we simply can’t control.
There are several factors that could affect our plans and alter the results we initially intended.
Things will not always go our way, no matter how much we want them to.
So what is the purpose of these tragedies and setbacks?
Do they just happen randomly for no purpose at all? Does this mean that everything that happens in the universe is just a lottery of mathematical algorithm?
Furthermore, if everything happens for a reason, then what is the point of our free will and our right to choose?
Or would you rather believe the contrary?
Would you rather believe that everything has meaning, a purpose?
It is essential to use tragedy and adversity to grow into your fullest self.
The thought that everything happens for a reason can be comforting to people especially when experiencing some kind of adversity.
It’s a phrase we all particularly and naturally gravitate to when life gets a little too hard.
But it is so much more than that.
It gives us the strength to move forward. How else can we explain it when things don’t go our way?
While it is important (in fact, imperative) to admit our fault or take responsibility in the things that happen to us, we also need to believe that these difficulties are a part of a bigger puzzle.
It gives us closure.
When certain things don’t go our way, we tend to have regret over them. There’s just a part of ourselves that feel the loss, disappointment, or a sense that we could have controlled the outcome better.
Let’s take a break-up for example. It’s natural to feel despondent about it at first. In fact, it’s normal to feel a deep loss and shame over the failure of a relationship. But 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.
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 purpose only allows you to take one step forward to a better you.
[We just released a new eBook: The Art of Resilience: A Practical Guide to Developing Mental Toughness. We highlight 20 of the most resilient people in the world and break down what traits they have in common. We then equip you with 10 resilience-building tools that you can start using today–in your personal life or professional career. Check it out here.]
It alleviates our pain.
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.
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.
It gives us a chance to reflect.
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. And one day, you’ll just look up and you’ll have already arrived in 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.
It leads us to the defining moments of our lives.
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. 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.
It allows us to make sense of the chaos in our lives.
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.
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 a renewed motivation and purpose to go forward.
It teaches you valuable lessons.
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 different light. Your ideals and the way you approach things can even do a complete 360.
Change is an important aspect in life. One that we all should learn to embrace.
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.
In life, 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.