It is inevitable in life that certain circumstances, events and experiences will call your life into question. They will cause you to re-evaluate your life. For example, when someone gets married, it might cause you to question the quality and satisfaction of your own relationships or the sacrifices you might be making for the sake of your career. When you go through a breakup, it may call into question your identity. It may force you to re-evaluate your own behaviors and thoughts and desires. When you start feeling stuck in your endeavors, you may start to wonder what or who you are doing it for. When you come across some information or an experience that causes you to question a belief that you have always held, it may make you question so many of the decisions you have made up to this point. It may cause you to doubt the people whom you have depended on to tell you what is true. When someone dies, it may make you existentially question life itself. It may make you question what is important in your life and who is important. It may make you completely re-evaluate what you are doing with your time.
We don’t like to re-evaluate. We don’t like to question ourselves or others or our lives. The majority of people in the world are under immense pressure to have everything all figured out all the time. And when we don’t consciously “choose” to re-evaluate and to question, because we feel a life circumstance has forced us to do it, we feel destabilized and insecure. We feel like the rug of certainty is being pulled out from under our feet. And we also feel shame. Because of this, if you are in one of these situations that causes you to question your life, I suggest you watch my video titled: Uncertainty (How to Deal with Uncertainty).
All people have been socialized to believe that they should do the right things and be the right way. When our lives are called into question, we often lose the certainty of knowing that we have done or are doing the right things. We lose the certainty of knowing that we have been or are being the right way. We tend to feel we might have done wrong or might currently be doing wrong. This often causes us to slip into vulnerability and total lack of confidence. And in response to this, we often become very defensive and rigid, trying to re-establish that certainty by defending what we have done or are doing… When really, we are not even convinced of our rightness.
Because of all of this, we naturally resist this calling of our lives into question. We feel that nested inside these experiences that cause us to re-evaluate is some kind of personal failure and badness and wrongness. But what is really nested in these experiences is the calling for change and the opportunity for life improvement. Nested in these experiences is the reality of ‘the better it gets, the better it gets’. And because of this, we should welcome them. And we should also realize that they will never stop coming. They will come in the form of people that we will inevitably meet, events that will happen or not happen and things we will hear or read or watch etc.
Embrace the idea that you can never be 100% sure. You are obsessed with knowing because you think that if you know, you can prevent unwanted things from happening. But the state of learning is a higher state than the state of knowing because it is a state that is open to all possibilities, including possibilities that will offer much more happiness than you have now. Knowing is a state of ended-ness. You are here to expand, to evolve, to progress. This means that you must open to the idea of adopting a different and better truth down the road. Having an open mind is akin to having a life raft on the river of life. You can metaphorically take that raft and ride the rapids of the current of life.
When you welcome the calling of your life into question, you become curious about where this life is going to take you. If our life journey were to be compared to a river, most of us spend our lives trying to control the current of the river. We do not consciously know where the river will take us. Some of us only know where we would prefer for it to take us. We can develop practices and take actions and think thoughts that make the trip down the river, a journey of more ease. But in order to embrace the circumstances that cause you to question your life, let go of the idea that you can control the river itself. This is what we are trying to do when we try to find and hold on to affixed, solid answers and/or ways of thinking and behaving in our life. What does this universe want to show you and where does it want you to go? With that kind of curiosity comes a willingness to change course completely. What doing this causes, is a rooting into improvement in and of itself, instead of a rooting into that which can be destabilized or lost or changed.
Because the calling for change and the opportunity for life improvement is nested inside these experiences that cause us to question our lives, we should welcome them. The word welcome has a connotation that you have to feel happy and good about these circumstances and events and situations. That is not what I mean. You don’t have to try to feel good about or appreciate the things that cause you pain, as some of these experiences will. You can’t force yourself to want them. What you can do is to metaphorically speaking ‘open the door for them and invite them in for tea’ when they arrive. Greet and receive them. Instead of resisting the fact that you are experiencing something that is causing you to question your life, actively and willingly get on board and question your life. Actively seek new and different and more information. Look through the lens of different perspectives. Questioning (when the intention behind it is to truly be open to different answers) is always an open door to more awareness and better answers. This means questioning is an open door to improvement and positive change. The people who are the most aware and the happiest are the people most willing to question their life and make changes to it. If you are able to form this association, even the painful circumstances that call your life into question will contain potential and promise and therefore, be less painful than they would otherwise be.
Just think about where we would be if certain people hadn’t questioned and re-evaluated things in their life… How many inventions would never have been invented? How many barbaric practices would still be practiced? The Buddha would have continued to live his entire life on a satin cushion as a prince and never found awakening. Abraham Lincoln would have stayed retired after the senate elections and never become president and the US would be in a very different spot with slavery and segregation today. Where would you be today if you had continued thinking and doing the exact same things as you did 10 years ago or 20 years ago?
Let those questions come. Welcome those things that call your life into question. See them for the improvement opportunity inherent in them. We can address the shadow of resistance to dependability and resistance to keeping the course in another episode. You must know that there is no failure or shame in changing course over and over again in your life. There is nothing bad or wrong about going back to the drawing board. In fact, you must be willing to do that if you want true life success. You must stop and re-evaluate and question to be sure that you are on the right path and/or to figure out what the right path for you actually is. So be brave enough to open the door to the re-evaluation and the questioning of your life. Be brave enough to open the door for your growth.