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Style & Advice: Does Everything Happen For A Reason?

A chat about destiny, fate... and trying to find reasoning when bad things happen, by Rosa Fairfield.

Photographs by Linda Smith

Do we have total free will over our actions or are we all on a pre-made path? Well, I've been thinking lately about those two concepts. I've always believed that life is more complex than any of us could fully comprehend or prove. I know, I'm kinda jumping into the deep end here. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on the ideas of fate & destiny:

Ying & yang
If there is a some kind of force guiding us and looking out for us, then why do bad things happen to innocent people?

I partly think that some people go through difficult times so they have the strength to achieve their dreams. You often find that people who are leading in their fields, have had lots of struggles. For most of us, I think that bad things happen so we can appreciate the good times; without sadness you would never know happiness. The bad things that happen make us human, they teach us compassion and understanding towards others and create unity. They allow us to develop empathy and help other people. That might not mean changing the world, it might just mean making one person's life better.

Missed opportunities
Once, I applied for a job which I believed was absolutely perfect for me. Then, when I didn't get it, I struggled to find a reason why. I phoned the company and asked for feedback. They told me that I did everything right but something was telling them to go a different way. Then, a few months later, I got a different opportunity (which, was better, shhh) but that wouldn't have happened if I had got the first job. I think sometimes you just have to blindly trust that things happen for a reason, even if you can't see the reason at the time.

Players in someone else's story
I refuse to believe that if everything happens for a reason, that reason must be for you. Sometimes, if you didn't get that job or if you didn't end up with that person, it's because it was someone else's fate to and it had nothing to do with you. Maybe, sometimes, you end up getting caught up in someone else's story. On occasion, I've also debated if everyone has a great destiny. Some people might be fated to keep those that do on the right path, without even knowing it themselves.

Nudging Us
Have you ever made a decision, which has lead you down a certain path and then later something happens by pure chance, out of your control, that stops you going down route after all? (Sorry, I feel like I'm asking a lot of questions in this post.) Anyway, I've had a few of these experiences and my life would look very different if they hadn't happened. Maybe, our fate isn't a specific set of instructions but a vague blueprint and the universe is there to genteelly guide us to the end result.

Multiple destinations

There is also the theory that we don't just have one fate but multiple ones and the choices we make determine which one of those plays out. Kinda like in a film, where they make alternative endings. This is kinda like a happy medium, a compromise of both free will & fate.

I want to believe that everything happens for a reason. I think it's a comforting notion that something is watching out for us and that things will all make sense in the end. But, the idea also scares me. What happens if we do have a destiny but that destiny isn't what we want it to be and we can't do anything to prevent it? After all, who said all destinies are positive things? I think it can also cause people to become complacent and justify their actions when they hurt others and desperately search for meaning in every little thing. How about you? What do you think?


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