Disconnect With Understanding

Is understanding a stumbling block for you? Is it getting in the way of moving forward and moving on? Why do we think we have to understand everything to live a healthy and peaceful life?

Surely there are many things we may never understand and learning to be ok with that is finding peace.

So many times my clients get hung up on needing to understand why and sometimes our work is simply helping them know that there is not an answer for everything. We all think of understanding as a magic pill, if we understand we will be healed. But that at times is just not possible and we have to find a way to heal without knowing.

Sometimes when we can’t understand we tell ourselves stories that really become stumbling blocks for us. These narratives have no basis in truth but they are how we try to make sense of things and understand them. Even when they are to our own detriment.

Therapy is about peeling back the layers and understanding the stories we tell ourselves that keep us stuck. Where do the stories come from? How do we know this? When did these sorts of stories we tell ourselves to soothe first begin for us?

When we can’t figure something out ourselves, we might go online in hopes that the answer is there and that is the scariest source of all.

Much of the advice from the “online influencers” comes from those who have no training except on how to be effective speakers and networkers to grow their influence no matter if it is not helpful or accurate advice that they pass on. If it sounds good they are all for it, especially when it grows their followers.

Tom came to my office trying to understand why he kept losing the partners in his life. It seemed they always left him with no real reason and if he had a reason, in his mind, then he could heal. If he could just get them to tell him why.

That is Tom giving all of his power away. He is hoping for another to give him what will likely never happen and then what happens to Tom when he never gets that? Does he just remain in torture forever telling himself a story about why things don’t work out with his lovers?

Rather than deal this life sentence of misery to Tom we are better off being curious together about his part in the relational issues and then helping him move on with no concrete answer for his partners departure. Maybe even his partner doesn’t know why they left. Regardless, Tom will only heal and move forward when he can learn to be ok with not knowing.

I understand that we find security in knowing and so we move towards it as a lifeline at times. But acceptance that we cannot always know everything, and all things won’t be tied up like a neatly wrapped package from Tiffanys, could be the only assurance we have.

Sometimes life gives us the answers we need and other times it does not. Our work is to find peace in the knowing and the not knowing. Everything is not understandable.