Does everything happen for a reason?

Your beliefs about the world affect how you make sense of problems and address them. Your beliefs also impact what you notice about the world, yourself, and others—and what you miss. It’s especially important to be mindful of your beliefs and how they might help or hinder you when you’re dealing with a tough problem. In the process of coping, healing, and problem-solving, many people seek comfort in the notion that “everything happens for a reason.”

Amidst overwhelming adversities, you might find yourself asking, “Why did this happen?” or “How can that happen to a good person?” There are times when you can draw strength from knowing the reasons why, but it’s also possible that you might never find a reason that makes sense. When you can’t find evidence that fits your beliefs, it can deepen grief and further your sense of despair and anger. In addition, the quest for satisfactory answers doesn’t solve the problem of how you’re going to respond to or even deal with the aftermath of a challenging time. The search to make sense out of hardship and the questions of ultimate concern will be there still.

You make pain, hurt, and loss count for something when you seek to make good come out of bad situations.

But in the midst of trial, asking questions in a different way can make a great difference. What if you ask yourself, “What next?” Or what if you ask how you can make good come from something bad? These questions are building upon the belief that “everything happens for a reason” with a slight adjustment to make it “everything can happen for a reason.” When you shift from seeking reasons to creating them, it can fuel hope, purpose, and healing. You make pain, hurt, and loss count for something when you seek to make good come out of bad situations.

Few things will test the strength of your spirit like devastating circumstances. Creating and aligning to a worthwhile cause is like a phoenix that rises out of the ashes. Making good come from bad situations can’t erase what happened or why it happened, but it does create a path forward that enables you to live with and triumph over adversity.

Published on: July 22, 2019

CHAMP wants to know:
How useful was the information in this article?


plus icon minus icon

Basha, S. E. (2015). Rumination, cognitive distortion, and its relation to anxiety and depression symptoms. Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing, 6(11), 1049–1061.

Gilbert, P. (1998). The evolved basis and adaptive functions of cognitive distortions. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 71(4), 447–463. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8341.1998.tb01002.x

Guglielmo, S. S. (2014). Cognitive distortion: Propositions and possible worlds. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 33(1), 53–77. doi:10.1007/s10942-014-0202-7

Jager-Hyman, S., Cunningham, A., Wenzel, A., Mattei, S., Brown, G. K., & Beck, A. T. (2014). Cognitive distortions and suicide attempts. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 38(4), 369–374. doi:10.1007/s10608-014-9613-0

Meyers, L. L., Landes, S. J., & Thuras, P. (2014). Veterans' service utilization and associated costs following participation in dialectical behavior therapy: A preliminary investigation. Military Medicine, 179(11), 1368–1373. doi:10.7205/milmed-d-14-00248

Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1974). Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science, 185(4157), 1124–1131. doi:10.1126/science.185.4157.1124