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The Answer You’ve Been Looking For

If you are anything like me, you may have noticed you have a tendency to look for solutions as soon as you feel stressed, nervous, or uncomfortable. If there’s a fight with a friend, I want to resolve it. If there’s a problem at work, I want to fix it. If there’s something I don’t know, I need to study it until I know exactly what to do. While this tendency may be helpful much of the time, it is not the best approach all of the time.

As many times as my problem-focused brain has helped me by solving the issue in front of me, it has also held me back by keeping me stuck seeking solutions when maybe I’m not facing a problem to be solved, but rather a truth to be accepted. There are many hard truths to be accepted in this world. Sometimes that fight with a friend is a toxic pattern that doesn’t change no matter how many solutions you offer, because the problem is not coming from you. Maybe the problem at work is not something you have the power to influence because it is a symptom of a greater systemic problem that is so much bigger than you.

Problems and hard truths can both make us feel stressed or uncomfortable, but by treating everything like a problem we remain focused on finding the answer. Not everything will have one. When we limit ourselves to seeking solutions, we can waste so much time and energy trying to fix something that cannot be fixed. The peace we need might only be found by accepting things as they are. It might seem like relief can only be found once you’ve cracked the code and found the answer, but you might be surprised with how much relief comes from just a simple shift in focus.

We live in a messy world full of chaos, and answers can make us feel safe and empowered but that doesn’t mean they are the only things that can provide comfort or security. It can be so alluring to learn that one hot tip that doctors don’t want you to know or to crack the code to a perfect dating profile that makes everyone want you. Because the undiscovered solution to the perfect body and the perfect dating profile will draw people towards us and ensure we are never alone, right? But the hard truth is that your cellulite is not going away and even the perfect dating profile won’t ensure you’ll find your perfect match. Accepting hard truths like these doesn’t have to mean we fall to despair feeling powerless and alone. It doesn’t mean giving up or that things will stay the way they are. When we limit ourselves by remaining focused on the answers to the problems we think need to be solved before we can be happy, we miss the other truths; that we are loveable even with cellulite and our worth goes so far beyond a left swipe from a stranger. Loneliness can feel unbearable at times but if you can learn not to let that discomfort drive you to answers, and instead acknowledge the emotions with compassion while accepting the circumstance for what it is, you may find a sense of peace you never thought possible. That inner sense of peace can also draw the right people towards you.

Once we learn to sit with our discomfort and listen to it without instantly seeking something that will make it go away, we can hear what these uncomfortable feelings are trying to tell us. It can reveal your unmet needs and instead of focusing on why the answer you want isn’t working, you can consider new options. You might even be surprised to find that what you needed was there all along but went unnoticed because you were focused on problem solving.

Once we shift from a problem-solving mindset to a truth-accepting mindset, we can walk away from toxic relationships much sooner. We can protect our energy by not trying to fight every battle at work, focusing on what is in our control and working on acceptance of what is not. We can liberate ourselves from needing to know everything.

Perhaps the real answer we’ve been looking for all along, is that sometimes there simply is no answer.


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