These are the things I no longer wish to understand.
These are the answers I'm no longer seeking, and these are the questions that I must stop asking myself.
These are the things I will stop dwelling on; in turn, letting go of these is a key to true happiness.
Having always had a thirst for knowledge and a desire to research everything, read about subjects of interest, and learn daily, I have come to the point where I have realized that–while I will always be an information seeker and a lifelong student (even when I'm not in a classroom)–not all things are meant to be understood. And, oftentimes, if we try to understand them, we over think, overanalyze and sometimes even obsess over trivial things or things that simply cannot be understood.
For that reason, I no longer wish to understand certain things.
1) The what-ifs.
The past can be a pretty muddled place when we start looking back. While the future is uncertain, there are many what-ifs that can hang over our heads. We can get so caught up in wondering what might have happened if we had taken a slightly different path, if we had stayed instead of left, if we had left sooner, if timing in a relationship might have been a little different, if we had said "yes" instead of "no," whatever the case may be. It's easy to assume that we might have had the perfect life had we made a few different decisions, but truthfully, our mistakes make us all stronger (and no one really has the "perfect" life). So, while it's tempting to dwell on how things could be different, it's important for each of us to realize that we can't change the past, we will never truly know what might have been, and each experience shapes us. There is a lesson in everything and a reason for everything. We don't have to know or see these things right away, and some of the reasons we may never actually know. Maybe things fell apart because better things are in store. Maybe the path you took will take you to places you couldn't imagine. Maybe you just had to go through something to prepare you for a situation later in life. Maybe there's a second chance down the road. We can't be certain about what's coming; we can only choose to not look back and consider those alternate realities. I'm abandoning my need to consider the what-ifs. They truly are joy-stealers. Things happen, and we grow. We don't need all the answers, and we don't need to let consideration of how things could be better take away from the beauty of today. We simply need to live in the moments, enjoy where we are, and strive toward future growth and happiness.
It can be tempting, addicting even, to entertain these thoughts, but they are toxic to one's wellbeing.
2) The unfairness.
Life isn't fair. I've heard that statement time and time again, and there have been many instances in my life where its truth has angered me. I don't expect fairness from life, but there are times where the magnitude of the unfairness has seemed a bit overwhelming. Even so, while I very much believe in a purpose for all things, I don't have to understand why circumstances are unfair. Yes, I have a love for justice, fairness, and balance. I always have. I like all to be treated equally–and with compassion. Unfortunately, though, good people get hurt. Those who try the hardest or want something the most don't always get it. Things break. People break. Things end. Often, these circumstances happen without explanation, making the pendulum swing even farther to the unfair side of things. Nonetheless, when these things happen, I no longer have an interest in figuring out why life is unfair–or why certain people insist on operating in an unfair manner.
Why is life unfair? We really don't know, and we may never know...
3) The arrogance.
My biggest pet peeve in life has always been arrogance. I cannot wrap my mind around how someone can legitimately presume themselves better, more deserving of human decency, or somehow higher than another. It is my firm belief that we are all human, and we all deserve the same basic rights and kindness. Still, I encounter arrogance and hatred often. While I'm still frequently shocked by it all–though I should probably be used to it–I am forgoing my need to try to understand it. I don't get it. I never will. By the same token, some will continue to presume themselves above others and hurt others in the process. It is not my job to understand their point of view or how they can hate someone they don't know or understand, and I will no longer try to do so.
Just because we may not be able to understand the arrogance or hurtful nature of others, we can offer the world an extra dose of compassion in exchange.
4) The approval process.
While many of us are strong enough in our self-identity to not have the desperate need for the approval of others, I think we've all hit a point or two where we want to hear some sort of affirmation. I try to stray from this, but it sneaks up on me sometimes–as I'm sure it does most of us. While I will always give myself the chastising "don't seek their approval" chat if I ever find myself looking for it, I don't need to understand why we so often do not have the approval of others. The fact of the matter is that the approval of others is not what makes life fun. It does not make life more complete or even more enjoyable. I do not need to understand why others have certain criteria that they think I should meet, or why they think I should be something other than what I am, and I do not need to see what it would take to gain their approval. At the end of the day, aside from my boss, I don't need to have pleased anyone or met anyone's approval. As for my life decisions and my choices that make me happy, I simply need to make sure that I'm not hurting others in the process of being happy and make sure that I'm taking care of my needs. I do not desire to understand the approval process of others when it is my happiness on the line.
Suggestions on how to live my life? Approval to validate my decisions? No, thanks. We must be strong enough in ourselves to stop seeking approval from anyone else.
5) The "plan."
The future is uncertain; we all know this. We've heard it repeated a million times, and sometimes, the questions of what will come can be overwhelming. No matter how insightful an individual may be, there is no way to see the big picture fully. We can plan all we want, and I'm a fan of general direction plans–such as moving toward personal growth, career advances, and goals–but we cannot map out where we are going. Sure, we should have general direction and enough drive to move us forward, but since we cannot know what will come, we cannot obsess over the possibilities or potential failures of the future. I'm guilty of losing sleep at night, plotting out future workout plans, writing timelines, vacations I want to take, etc. I'm also guilty of stressing over situations that may never actually come to fruition or even getting caught up in a day dream of beautiful things that could come one day. It's important to dream, to work hard, and to move forward, but we cannot let the focus on the future take away from the beauty of today. Whether it's obsessive planning for the future and stressing about made-up problems or pining away about some fantasy that may or may never come, it takes away from being present in the moment.
6) The actions of others.
While I believe that it's important to put oneself in another's shoes and see where they are coming from if possible, there are times when this is not an option. Much as life is unfair, some people are unfair. It can be because of differing opinions, differing perspectives, or just more of a self-focus. If the actions of another did not affect me, it is of no consequence to me why they chose what they did. It is not my place to understand or judge. If the actions directly affected me, I will attempt to understand. If, after putting myself in the shoes of the other person and attempting to see why they did what they did, I still cannot understand, I will accept the fact that I won't understand. I resolve to still look at them with as much compassion as possible, realize that I won't get it, and work on forgiveness. That is really all we can do when someone acts outside of what we deem to be acceptable in terms of treating us or the ones we love.
7) The absent apologies.
I no longer wish to understand why some apologies never come. Sometimes, we're hurt by others–intentionally or otherwise. Maybe they'll ask for forgiveness. Maybe they won't. Either way, we must learn to forgive and move forward, not questioning why an apology never came. It's not our job to figure out if they still believe they were right, if they don't care, or if they simply do not want to admit their mistake. What's done is done; we must learn to be done with it.
In light of these things, I think it's also important to note that there are still many things I wish to understand, accept, follow, and seek. These are the things that will help me grow and continue to love who I am. I will continue to get to the bottom of my own motivations, my feelings, my actions, and my goals. I will analyze my strengths and weaknesses and work to understand those more in depth to make improvements and make a difference through my strengths. I will continue to figure out day-by-day then follow my plan, my decisions, and my happiness. I will continue to accept the wisdom offered to me by those who are more knowledgable, just as I will continue to place great consideration on the needs of those I love. I will gracefully seek to accept the advice of those who care about me and use those tidbits to guide me when my own knowledge of a situation is cloudy, while still following my heart and not straying from my own identity. And, I will accept today in all its beauty and understand reasons and lessons as they are revealed. These, I will seek to understand. As for the rest, I think it's okay to let go of the need to know the unanswered "why's."