Wisdom Nugget #11: I ascribe reason to the things that happen

In my book, The Happy Break-Up, I've included what I like to call "Wisdom Nuggets." Wisdom Nuggets are short, one-page bursts of enlightenment I've gained in my time on this planet. You may choose to agree or disagree, either way, I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback. I present to you now, Wisdom Nugget #11:

It’s not “everything happens for a reason” – it’s “I ascribe reason to the things that happen”

Life is full of cosmic coincidences – some are good, some are not so good. When people say, “everything happens for a reason,” it’s generally meant as a source of comfort – but how comforting is it, really? In the wake of a horrific tragedy, whether it’s on a personal or a worldly level, saying “everything happens for a reason” feeds powerlessness and complacency to a situation that may be completely random to begin with.

Suppose, for a moment, we turn that statement around, and say, “I ascribe reason to the things that happen.” Now, we can take that random situation, and give it some thought. Instead of an arbitrary event, we can begin looking at the significance behind it – the causal chain of events, the human error and irrationality, or the freak accidents that led to it. And instead of assigning it an arbitrary meaning, we can ascribe our own meaning to it. How it specifically affected our own lives, and what we’re going to do about it. Suddenly, we find ourselves sitting in a position of power, rather than hopelessness.

When we think about this in terms of a break-up, it makes sense that we would try to comfort ourselves in thinking that there’s some cosmic reason for our heartbreak that we just don’t understand. But when we determine our own reason, we can be mindful of the elements that led to the breakup. We can be aware of what we’re willing to accept in a future relationship, and where we draw the line. Take back your power and create your own meaning, because one thing I know for sure is that if you don't figure out the reason things keep happening, you are bound to encounter the same issues, over and over again.

I ascribe reason to the things that happen - Cate Gennaro. Hand-lettered quote