We have a tendency to want to believe in reasons. The human brain loves answers and explanations, so when something unexplainable or uncertain happens, we try our best to find a “reason” for why it happened. This psychological bias has shaped history, resulting in women being burned at the stakes as witches, cults and religions being founded and even entire ethnic groups being purged for a crime they did not commit.
But believing that things happen for a reason – whether such a thing exists or not – is not always a negative thing. Hope and faith that things will be alright and that the future will play out according to destiny or fate gives us comfort, as it allows us to begin to understand an uncertain future. Although the future will come no matter what and there is usually not much we can do to change it, we still want to know what will happen. This is why people seek fortune tellers, read horoscopes and secretly enjoy spoilers for books and movies.
But no matter how much we wish that our lives will play out as the universe has planned (hopefully towards a happy ending), the harsh reality is that things just happen. Things happen in the world not because of a pre-written script, but because of causality.
Earthquakes happen because of plate tectonics and hurricanes happen due to warm oceans and convection currents. Wars and economic crises happen because of human greed. You get heart disease because of lifestyle choices and your genetic make-up. Good things happen to good people because they treat people well and their deeds are reciprocated. You lost your wallet because you were careless and you ended up with “the one” because the two of you took action to get to know each other and did everything in your power to be together.
Everything in life is a result of cause and effect. Although it is more comforting to think that the hand of fate will push you towards the right career or your soulmate, or that good things are happening because of some karmic reward system, but isn’t it more rewarding to think that your happiness is a result of your own choices and actions? Sure, sometimes in life we need something to blame when bad things happen, but never let that be an excuse to stop yourself from taking that leap of faith to try change and build your own destiny.
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