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People getting pissed off over the phrase "everything happens for a reason" has always baffled me. I think they just don't get it.
Creating meaning out of the events in life is an empowering way to live. Why wouldn't you give meaning to the shit things that have happened to you? With no meaning, all life is just random junk floating around in space, and we with it. All the events in our life is just junk hitting up against junk. Why choose to be junk? I think we should have more self-worth than that.
But let's face it:
You are either reading this because you already agree that everything happens for a reason.
Or, it's because you detest the phrase and you are already fired up to type an angry comment before you even finish this post.
Hang with me here.
Let me give you a different angle to the idea that everything happens for a reason.
I'm tired of hearing people complain about people who obviously had good intentions comforting them with this idea, as if it were a big slap in the face.
First off, intentions are the only basis for making a judgement about another person. Period. There are either good intentions or bad intentions in relationships.
Only bad intentions deserve a reactionary response.
Everything else is just short-sighted ego. An inability to see the perspective of the other person and how their good-intentions miserably failed--not out of spite, but of a failure to be adequately sensitive. A clumsiness, really.
Getting angry at someone who executes good intentions terribly is akin to getting angry at a guest who drops a wine glass at your party.
Secondly (and this is the real bone I want to pick here), who ever proclaimed that anyone other than ourselves must assign the reasons? The epically arrogant affront in the idea that everything happens for a reason is that someone else or something else is making up these reasons for us.
Just imagine you're sitting in a hospital bed. A friend with good-intentions reminds you that your current emotional state of free-falling down a black void after a bad diagnosis is all in the hands of some spiritual deity. That there is a REASON this happened to you.
So now, not only are you powerless against the illness, you feel doubly powerless at the idea that you're being played by some asshole immortal. You'll start to spin further down the black hole, wondering why, and what did you do to deserve this? And why are you being punished?
Endless, grasping thoughts, trying to place blame or seek penance on some external force you're not even sure you believe in.
Or just as bad, mental wrestling with an ideological foe that, up to that crushing moment of your life, you've always easily ignored.
People hate the idea that everything happens for a reason because it offends their sense of personal power.
And they have a complete misconception of the concept.
Put another way, they are saying, "If there's going to being anyone making the meaning in my life, it's going to be ME, bitch!"
It's old-fashioned to assign control over our lives to anyone else but ourselves.
Our modern-age, liberal humanistic beliefs make us uncomfortable with religious, new-age, or transcendental assumptions of authority over our lives.
Yet, the traumatic events of life often leave us vulnerable to questioning what we thought we knew for certain.
As a result, most of us flounder at the task of giving our own experiences any meaning.
Too few people are actively creating any personal interpretations of what it means to be alive.
Too few people have intentionally liberated their lifestyle, their values, and their minds.
They easily refute the idea of other forces having any power over their lives, but rarely exercise their own power.
Believing that everything happens for a reason can and should mean:
I OWN everything that HAS happened, IS happening, and WILL happen to me. I take control of my experiences and interpret them in such a way that they serve me now. My life experiences made me who I am today and I accept who I am because of them. I see the strengths, the valuable regrets, the capacity to forgive or to carry on that those events left me with, and I choose to make them serve me. All of it. Every moment in life is mine to own and interpret. I make my life mean something to myself alone.
If you claim full responsibility of your life--and full control of your own interpretation of it--100% of the meaning you make or choose not to make is your own.
And this will make you powerful.
When you define yourself and your own life, you are not persuaded away from yourself. Or if you are, temporarily, you'll make your way back to yourself more quickly.
Make up your own reasons why something happened to you.
Acknowledge what that event created within you and how that fortified part of your soul serves you now. Polish the knives of steel forged in your past.
It's not about finding inane 'silver linings' or spouting positivity, it's about owning up to each and every battle scar with a story.
It's creating your own life narrative to illustrate how the past serves the present.
Everything does happen for a reason, but only if we define what those reasons are for ourselves.
Personally, I have an extremely simple reason for everything, including the meaning for my life itself:
I am here to learn and to love.
This is what I know I am here to do. And I don't give a damn who or what put me here.
I challenge you to tell me what you believe the meaning of your life is in ONE sentence, untainted by any religion or ideology. What is YOUR own interpretation?