(Disclaimer- These are purely my own opinions, I claim no authority on the matter whatsoever).
I asked this question on my instagram stories. Actually, I asked “Are you a believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’?”. 78% of respondents claimed “I think so” whilst 22% opted for “umm not really”. This sparked my interest somewhat. I think we use this as a throwaway statement- it can help to explain positive coincidences, or to soften drastic change. Allowing ourselves to believe that some other power has the foresight to make decisions for us in life, can make many a situation less daunting.
These results, and indeed some of the private messages people sent to me in response, show that this throwaway statement can often be nothing more than a facade, or even a shield. That many of us truly don’t believe in this concept at all, in fact are adamant non-believers in anything related to ‘fate’. And I suppose, these people are the realists. But even realists can find use for a shield sometimes, or throw an empty statement out as a vague explanation.
Personally, I can’t quite work out where I sit on this. I use the phrase often, and actually I think that in saying it, I truly do believe it. I’ll use an example. A few weeks back, I was made redundant from my job… now, I want to note that I hold no bitterness or frustration at this at all. I was working for a startup which I truly believed in, and therefore completely understood that in order for it to survive and grow financially, I had to go.
That said, I was pretty concerned about finding something else. At the end of January, I am going away on an adventure with no set plans for return, therefore I faced the problem of finding a job in London which would have me for three months only… these are few and far between, understandably.
When people asked how I was doing, I’d respond with ‘Oh everything happens for a reason, it will all work out’, closely followed by a ‘ohh touchwood’ *taps head twice*. And to be honest, whilst I had a faint level of anxiety, I put a lot of faith in my belief in fate. Perhaps, that was my own defence mechanism kicking in, perhaps I was denying my realist-self a voice. Very possible.
And yet, an opportunity genuinely did present itself, at pretty much the perfect time. A freelance job in influencer marketing (a sector I have wanted to go into for a while actually), opened up. This was a 3 month placement… how perfect!? Now it seems pretty coincidental that this perfect, dream position was available for me at exactly the time I needed it.
And so, my reaction was ‘ohh everything happens for a reason! Now I have experience in two different areas, and my perfect job for the remainder of my time in England!’
So I think I actually do partially believe in this fate- that theres a higher power or a ‘guardian angel’ (call it what you will), keeping check on you. Its not there to make life perfect, but to present important and difficult challenges to which the outcome can better you as a person. Maybe I’m talking absolutely rubbish here… it does all sound a little waffley I admit.
At the same time, this fate/guardian angel/higher power, is very much just a part of you and the decisions you make for yourself. In hindsight, I put a lot of work, over several years of work-experience-weeks into getting this 3 month role. I set that up for myself way back when I first ventured to the city to learn about influencers at the age of 15. I also went looking for it, I didn’t just wait for it to arrive in my lap. Perhaps our belief in fate and coincidence can be an act of weird modesty? I don’t know.
I know that terrible things happen and for these occasions, it’s near enough impossible to see the reason it could have happened. Yet one might still throw that statement at it… ‘everything happens for a reason’. In these instances, I think we’re looking for the reasons, to ease the loss or pain or anger. Often these situations make us stronger, bring us to meet new people, learn new things or gain new experiences, all of which may not have occurred if it wasn’t for that terrible thing. Are these the reasons? Or is this searching for the silver linings?
I don’t know, none of us know I guess. I just find it truly stimulating to think about and discuss. Let me know your thoughts… if you’ve actually managed to reach the end of my endless, somewhat-non-sensical ramblings. (If you have, congratulations and thank you very much indeed!!)