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“Everything happens for a reason.”
You’ve probably heard the phrase a gazillion times. I know I did. I repeated it to myself whenever I thought about my exes. My family gave me the same treatment. They kept parroting the same phase until it was all I could think of. In fact, all of them operated and based their entire life on that phrase, especially at times when life fed them the oh-so-well-known shit-covered adversity sandwich.
Well, enough is enough.
This whole “Everything happens for a reason” thing pisses me off. I don’t buy into it. I never did! The entire thing is just a coping mechanism for people who feel as though life caused them some irreversible form of damage. Here’s the reality: nothing happens for a fucking reason. Sometimes, terrible things just happen. And there’s no logical reason behind why they happened — they just did.
So how could someone look at you at your personal rock bottom and utter this empty, frustrating phrase? Or even worse, how could you utter the empty and frustrating phrase to yourself? Well, there are three reasons why.
1. Because Of a religious or spiritual belief
Oh, you broke up with your partner? Relax, God/The Universe/The Mythical Space Manatee has a plan for you. Everything happens for a reason. Just have faith, and you’ll be fine.
You see this idea thrown around most, if not all, religious and spiritual circles. In fact, “Everything happens for a reason” became somewhat of a go-to standard for people in those communities.
And since the idea is based on faith, you can’t really disprove it, which by itself can cause frustrations. For example, when people comfort you while you’re grieving over your ex, but you don’t believe in the same things they believe in and comfort you with. At its core, believing that some higher power has a grand plan for you is nothing more but a coping mechanism — it makes your situation more manageable and easier to grasp and take it.
Let me put it this way. Planting your hope in an unquestionable, abstract, and divine concept helps you get out of bed every morning and participate in life. This by itself is good. However, there’s also a dark underbelly to the entire thing.
Planting your hope in a divine concept prevents you from noticing why your breakup happened in the first place. Neediness? Shitty boundaries? Incompatibility? Until you hide under the belief that everything happens for a reason, the odds of figuring out these things — and avoiding a future breakup — are next to none.
2. Because Of narcissistic tendencies
Maybe we broke up because I cheated on them? Maybe we broke up because I hardly paid any attention to them? Maybe we broke up because I was needy, possessive, and controlling? Nah, impossible. I never make mistakes. Actually… it’s not even important! Everything happens for a reason, anyways. I’ll just find someone else in due time. Yeah, that’s it… I’ll find someone else — someone who won’t screw up.
Don’t be this person. Don’t hide behind the delusion that everything happens for a reason to avoid the idea that you’re also responsible for your breakup. If you do, you’ll never learn from the whole thing — you’ll never grow from your pain and get better.
Truth is, you’re just as responsible for your breakup as is your ex. So get off your moral high horse, and admit that you probably fucked up to a degree and that there probably was something you could’ve done to avoid the whole shit-show. When you admit these things to yourself, immediately accept them, and forgive yourself. Hell, forgive your ex, too, while you’re at it.
We all make mistakes in life — and that’s okay. One or ten fucked up relationships; it’s not that big of a deal. If it makes you feel any better, I fucked up at least twice as many in my lifetime (I was pretty sucky when it came to my love life).
The important thing is to claim your fuckups as quickly as possible and move on. It’s way easier and far more rewarding than the other options.
3. Because of a need to make sense of the nonsensical
My ex was divinely orchestrated for me, intended to come into my life and break my heart so I could learn a valuable lesson(s) that will better my future relationships. Thank you, oh great Mythical Space Manatee! It all makes sense now! My suffering finally makes perfect sense!
This is just one example of the philosophical theatrics we play with ourselves. We try to make sense of our greatest and most horrid moments — we try to make sense of life. We play all sorts of mental gymnastics with ourselves until we’re sure that event A leads to event B, and event B led to event C.
But that’s not reality. It’s usually like event A, leads to event G, which then leads to event K, loops five times, comes back to G, then goes to B, and on and on it goes.
Basically, the law of cause and effect can go fuck itself. Forget about cause-and-effect altogether (Friedrich Motherfucking Nietzsche agrees). Usually, the two have nothing in common. Life is inherently random, chaotic, and absurd. You can’t make sense of it — you can’t make sense of the nonsensical. So let it go.
Sometimes honest and innocent people get dumped. Sometimes honest and innocent people get betrayed. Sometimes honest and innocent people get betrayed and dumped, and then develop depression, get cancer, turn miserable and shoot themselves in the skull, covered in cocaine and reeking of cheap wine.
This is a brutal reality to face. But it is the world we live in.
The key to dealing with everything unpleasant, painful, or hopeless, whether that’s a simple rejection, a breakup, or a family member’s death, is to make the best possible choices you can with your available options. Then surrender to the outcome, whatever it may be, and take full responsibility for it — for you are always responsible for the choices you make.
And above all, be grateful for your breakup. Accept it fully. Hell, even dare to love it. Love the devastation it brought upon your life, for it’s amid that devastation that you’ll find growth, and with it, profound and often life-changing meaning.
If you need more help healing from your breakup, check out my Radical Recovery Course. It includes hours of video and hundreds of pages of writing, and a community with exclusive weekly videos, private chat, and 1-on-1 coaching.
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