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Why Does Everything Always Go Wrong?

Why Does Everything Always Go Wrong?

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To a mother who was kvetching about everything always going wrong, and that her life was “full of curses and troubles”

Oy . . . I’m getting the picture.

Let me tell you what the Rebbe very often told people: Many troubles come because they feel at home. That is, when a person’s mind is full of thoughts of how rotten things are and how bad they are going, the troubles say, “Hey, here’s a place for us with all our friends, where we can feel at home!”

So what do you need to do? Throw out the unwanted guests—meaning, all those lousy thoughts—and bring in some friendly ones. There’s always something good; all of us have many blessings in life. You are alive, you are a mother who cares, you are not starving in Africa. First and foremost, you are a Jew who can turn and speak to G‑d firsthand at any time and He will listen, because you are His firstborn son.

Once you start thinking those thoughts and banish all the lousy ones, the troubles don’t feel at home any more. Instead, all those blessings that have been standing out the door for years waiting to come in—but couldn’t, because it just wasn’t the right company inside—now they will all come to party and fill your house.

Granted, this is not an easy task, at least for the first week or so. But we know from much experience that it works, and it works wonders: Misery attracts misery; joy attracts blessings.

How about giving it two weeks and see what happens?

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
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Anonymous October 10, 2015

Not buying it. I live a troubled life. I don't believe this at all because I'm always asking for guidance and trying to remain positive and that only makes things backfire more. I'm tired of wasting my time on god there apparently isn't one or if there is he is long gone. My prayers are never answered, I feel as though I'm just here to suffer in this miserable existence. I can't even prepare breakfast without everything going wrong from blueberries messing up everything to rotten milk. And then I'm the lunitic that people can't tolerate? Well guess what I can't tolerate all of these insufferable curses that continuously happen to me!! Reply

Tzvi Freeman November 4, 2014

Re: I am not a Jew. Will G-d still help me? As it says in the Psalms, "G-d is close to all who call upon Him, to all who call out to Him with sincerity." Reply

Anonymous October 30, 2014

I am not a jew will god still help me Reply

Anonymous January 18, 2013

Chazak Chazak vNit Chazek Our purpose is to love hashem and to have a positive impact on someone else's life here on earth. As long as you can still does those things, life has purpose and meaning. We will have to face the hardships of life that we have to endure, understanding that we are not alone even though the hardships may be different from one person to the next. We have to keep eachother strong. Reply

Enrique Williams Panama city, Panama January 17, 2013

That is very truth One negative though can network tons of negative thoughts.

The thing with negative energy or positive energy...Is that they are like electricity, they can be generated but they can't be seen. Reply

Anonymous January 17, 2013

re even the knot slipped Hey man i care for you.
Dont be depressed look at life not through a window but through your eyes and see that The Creator The Almighty Master My King May His Holy Name Forever Be Blessed has given you sight what many could only dream of having. See the world and realize that your a big part of it because Mr. William i care and i hope you see the kind of special person that you are. If the door to one place doesnt open dont worry. Be proud often times the worst happens to the bad inorder to prevent them from being great so keep fighting the good fight and prevail. Reply

ruth housman marshfield, ma January 15, 2013

Good advice except it's a Mother so first born son, doesn't quite work. How about first born, daughter. Connect, the daughts. Reply

Anonymous Redwood City, CA January 15, 2013

Good thoughts This whole line of thinking is very wise. There is now a whole branch of psychology-Positive Psychology-with much evidence that shows how much our attitudes and thoughts affect how we feel, how happy we are. If I am not able to appreciate the good things I have, then they do me little good. Its like that story wherein someone says, "water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink..." Appreciation allows us to be nourished by the good things. Without it, no matter what is good, we cannot take it in. This is not about denial, its about focus and choice. Its a struggle, none-the-less, for those of us that have the habit of seeing the negative. My life has been made SO MUCH more difficult because I could not see what I have. Meditation- and I wish meditation was offered in more direct ways in mainstream Judaism - can help quiet us down enough to see how we're thinking about things to have some choice about our thoughts, and begin to hold the hard things a little lighter. Reply

Mariluz Aguilar (Chava Levy) Guatemala January 14, 2013

to william warren can someone please tell William Warren that Hashem loves him? you are in this world because Hashem lets you be , for some reason you are here to learn and to live. you have a mission! Reply

Anonymous Boston January 14, 2013

Uncover blessings or blame the sufferers There is a huge difference in trying to uncover the blessing in objectively difficult circumstances (i.e.illness, poverty, persecution, death of loved ones) and blaming the sufferers for causing their suffering because they were not grateful for what they had. I suspect that the real message is to uncover blessings even in tragedies, although unfortunately this piece sounds as though people who experience misfortunes caused those misfortunes by having negative emotions. Reply

Eric Sander Kingston January 14, 2013

As the saying goes "The problem isn't the problem. Your attitude about the problem is the problem." Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA via jewishriverside.com October 24, 2011

LOTS of things can go wrong but not EVERYTHING. And, only SOMEtimes. We must remember to wear rain clothes in the rain, and not think it will ALWAYS be raining. The sun does, certainly, come out tomorrow. Sometimes, the sun comes out later in the day, in fact. Don't quit. Keep on struggling through your situations until the time you can, again, smile. I know, personally, it doesn't feel as though that moment will ever come, but it does. Look how many Holocaust survivors went on to get married and have families? Those are the people we must think of when we are prone to having a pity party for ourselves. Nu? Be happy. Even for one moment of one day, be happy. I have often faced death, going through harrowing experiences. Believe me, eventually, those become memories if you don't die from them. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA via jewishriverside.com October 23, 2011

Whew, everyone, Recently, I found out that although I had been free of breast cancer for 8 years, I now have another lump under my armpit that is 3 cm plus other lymph node involvement. Next week I find out what kind of cancer it is and discuss the treatment. I am telling people IT WILL BE GOOD, and why? Because I WILL KNOW. It is better to know the situation than not know it. It's better to face it than deny it exists. I see it as a blessing because it was FOUND. In fact, even if I lose this race, I will still count it as a blessing. Why? Because I AM IN the race. Not hiding out or pretending nothing's wrong. Not paralyzed by fear or kvetching, What do I do with the tears that fall inside my heart? I DRAW, paint, do gardening and watch my fish swim in the small aquarium I have. I play Scrabble against robots on the computer. I am writing an autobiography and another book about how to lose weight and gain better habits. I go to a Sr. Citizen apt and cheer people up. That's what I do with my tears. Reply

Anonymous Clinton , NY October 13, 2011

Thank you, for allowing me to read your posts. Everything here has made me smile and realize how lucky I really am.

Everything that goes wrong for me, could be so much worse. I do make a mountain out of a mole hilll.

I need to start looking at the positive things. For every negative thought I had to also find good in it. I guess I had forgotten all about it. But you have helped me to remember.

I will try my best to be more thankful to God.

Thank you Reply

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman August 27, 2009

Re: Even the knot slipped If your mind is telling you that everything is bad, and nothing can get it to think otherwise, there are three possible solutions:

1. Think good and things will be good.

...if that doesn't work....

2. Stop dwelling on your own problems all day and spend a little time helping others.

...and if that doesn't work...

3. Find a good therapist who has a track record for dealing with depression. Reply

william warren, nj,usa August 27, 2009

even the knot slipped it's a sin to abreviate ones own life, but even the knot slipped on me. I'm a drudge, maybe self imposed cycle, but it's gone on for 30 yrs. Regardless of my efforts all I do is exsist, take up space. My telephone wouldn't ring if it weren't for cancelations or more untoward matters. I pray for redemption and for the life of me recieve no relief, getting close to wits end. My tears won't come anymore for the dissappointments, I've becomehardened and expect failure or simply more disallusion, I don't even care to hate myself, automatic door openers don't open for me, now that's a bad sign of being a nobody, thank you and forgive me, for wasting your time. Reply

karenjoycechayafradlekleinmanbell Riverside, CA via jewishriverside.com June 17, 2009

To: Big Idiot For Believing 1. Don't give up.
2. Contact not only new and old friends, but also many different temples.
3. Contact every government agency you can think of and if they turn you down, ASK for a referral elsewhere.
4. Contact all the social workers in every hospital.
5. Realize that you are NOT losing your daughter. She may be MOVING elsewhere. That only means you have time to jump up from a downward spiral.
6. Know that G-d doesn't GIVE you these problems, but He HELPS you to go through them. You can still believe in God and face the tragedies of life. Would it have been better if you were one of the ones who died in the 9-1-1 building or your daughter was? You are still alive. Thank G-d for life if nothing else. Oh, and I see you still have the ability to type, and access to a computer. Good. Reply

a big idiot for believing June 17, 2009

Why does everything go wrong. Every day for the last 4 years I have been reading everything I can about this concept. I have books, cd's, tapes, everything.
I wake up every morning with prayer and thankfullness. I make my statements of believing and deserving. I make my action lists to take acre of whatever it is, I set goals, I exersize, I dont drink and I dont smoke and no drugs.
I pray at night for forgiveness. I make my personal positive statements everynight before I sleep. I meet every week with someone as a support and do goal setting.
I try always to look at the bright side of everything and be kind caring and giving.

With that said, everything in my life has gone downhill. I cant think of 1 thing in the last 4 years or more that have gone right. yet I get up everyday with hope for the day and all things will turn around. But do they...Nope.
I'm losing my home, i cant find a job, i;m losing my daughter cause i have no home. I don't even have the money to buy food anymore. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA via jewishriverside.com October 26, 2008

Ah! Another point of view on troubles... On a scale of 1 to 10, some are worse than others. We need to be careful not to confuse them all as being the same. We also need to have a clear head (come, let us reason together, saith the Lord), and get as much knowledge as we can about the situation. (My people die for lack of knowledge). Then, we need to know our options for handling them and go through the steps we are able to handle one at a time. The rest, we have to accept as being imperfect and go on to help others to bear their burdens, too. Are we our brothers' keepers? I believe the answer is yes. Reply

World of Sheker October 26, 2008

So crying out from suffering is "kvetching"? I sounds rather callous to me to say that.
I had thought that Torah taught us to deal with others with compassion, not ridicule.

If things just "happen" and only because people think it will, then why should we give tzoddeka when everyone who needs it is just "kvetching"? Reply