It’s not all about the “Answers.”

Who am I?  Why do I behave this way, feel this way, and think this way?  How has my past shaped who I am today and how will I ever become insightful enough to make the changes I want in my life?  

Although answers to these questions can indeed bring about a better understanding of who we are and create personal and lasting results, too often we become bogged-down in discovering the “truth,” and we forget that the search and the exploration process is just as important—if not more. 

The 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche stated, “Truth is an illusion without which a certain species could not survive.”  Today’s renowned existentialist and psychotherapist, Dr. Irvin Yalom followed-up by suggesting, “Anointed, as we are, with an inbuilt solution-seeking need for truth, we cling tenaciously to the belief that explanation is possible. It makes things bearable, it anoints us with a sense of control and mastery. But, it is not the content of the intellectual treasure trove that matters but the hunt.” 

As we seek-out explanations to uncover the answers and truths in our lives—in an attempt to feel more powerful and in control, it is important that we remind ourselves that what matters most is not necessarily the answers themselves, but rather the self-invested energy and time that we put into learning about who we are and how and why we function the ways in which we do. The key to success, even when uncertain, is to keep moving forward and to keep exploring the aspects of our lives that challenge us; more beneficial some can argue, to dwell on the aspects of our lives that enrich and fulfill us. Paying closer attention to the difficult struggles and the challenging areas in our lives helps us to find better and more manageable strategies for living and lessens our freedom-anxiety (the anxiety that comes from knowing that we are now responsible ultimately for the outcome of our lives—both positive or negative).  Focusing on and embracing our positive attributes fuels our gratitude for being alive and offers us renewed hope, security, and a more optimistic perception of our existence. 

So, we must remember that it’s the explorative “process” alone that offers us the opportunity to change and to better understand ourselves and to establish greater insight along the way.  The process is what keeps us energized and engaged in the “self.”  Through the patient, loving, and dedicated exploration of our thoughts, feelings, behaviors and our past and present experiences and future fantasies, we will begin to change and to see ourselves differently and without such limiting assumptions, perceptions, and interpretations of the truth.  In Yalom’s words, “Though we take for granted that insight leads to change, by no means is that sequence established empirically.  In fact there are experienced, thoughtful analysts who have raised the possibility of a reversed sequence—that is, that insight follows change rather than preceded it.”  Rather than attempting to strive for the “truthful” answers to our lives [interpretations or illusions that often don’t have a simple or clear-cut explanation and that can often limit us or create gridlock], let us focus a bit more on exploring alternative ways to coping and thriving in the present moment and on creating roadmaps and milestones for our future. 

Definitive answers need not necessarily always be the goal! Forward movement is…

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