Monday, July 29, 2013

Does Everything REALLY Happen For A Reason?

Okay, time to vent about a commmon (moronic) saying (there are hundreds floating around out there, eh?)  I recently heard a phrase that is tossed around cavalierly that most people misunderstand because they have a (unaware?) victim mentality.

On the surface, this saying seems fairly innocuous - "Well, everything happens for a reason".  99.9% of people intend this to mean that some cosmic force making things happen and that we don't have control/influence.

What a load of...uh...garbage.  (For this post, I'm making up for curse words with gratuitous parentheses!)

Yes, it is true that everything DOES happen for a reason - but not in the "it's out of our hands" kinda way.  Think about it: Things do happen because there is a cause!  And other than freak circumstances, that cause is our (or someone else's) behaviors.  Change those behaviors and you change what happens as a result.

Why don't people say "everything happens for a reason" with this accurate meaning?  Notice when this phrase is spoken - typically when something happened that was unfortunate.  I think it is a (intellectually dishonest) way for people to feel better about those bad circumstances.  It's certainly easier than to embrace the natural consequences of controllable behaviors.  Instead, we would all benefit from acknowledging that we have influence over the behaviors that cause the outcomes - the first step to actually doing something constructive towards improving our circumstances.

Yes, yes, yes - often times those behaviors are those of other people.  How do you control their behaviors?

You don't.  You may be able to influence them (if it's worth the effort), but you can't control them.  What you CAN control are YOUR behaviors.  You can choose to distance yourself (a behavior you control) from the negative behaviors of other people.  Doing so will result in much better natural consequences.

After all, as the saying goes: "Everything Better consequences happen for a reason" (...your choices/actions!)

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!

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