Things happen for a reason

I have been observing people avoiding responsibility for their actions by using the expressions like things happen for a reason a lot of late. A recent example: "I just lost my job. I guess things happen for a reason." In this case, the only reason that she lost her job is because she was showing up late and doing poor work. Another example: "My wife left me, I guess things happen for reason." This time the reason was that he treated her poorly for several years.

On the other hand, sometimes saying things happen for a reason can effectively create meaning in your life. When something random happens that is beyond your control, then yes, perhaps there is a reason for these things happening that you do not yet understand.

The issue of causality is the key variable when determining whether this line of thinking is useful or avoidant. If the event seems to be something that you did not directly cause, things happened for reason is a useful thing to consider. If however, the thing that happened was a direct outcome of something you created, it is more beneficial to look at what you did to create it and why you created it.

Sometimes however, looking at the ways we sabotage ourselves is not fun. It is much more comforting to externalize responsibility to the cosmic forces of the universe. Then we do not have to look at the things we did to sabotage our job, marriage, or whatever else. The problem with doing this is that we do not get the benefit of learning the lesson. This ultimately dooms us to a karmic cycle of re-creating it in our next relationship or job.

So I am waiting for, "This happened because I did not get more involved in my child's life." Painful yes, but also responsible. It is the first step in creating something different.

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