Everyone has a story. I talked with someone today and she had 15 reasons why she just recently got divorced. But after the 15 reasons, she said to me that she really didn’t know why she got divorced and she told me how bad she felt. She needed a reason. But, this blog is about more than the decision to divorce.
We are always looking for reasons for what we do or say. Looking to explain the actions we take. We need the “reason” to put our actions in the correct compartment in our mind.
But is that way to look at things?
We are meaning-seeking creatures. We seek not only to define the meaning of our lives, but we also seek to understand the reason for almost everything that we do in the course of a day/week/month … lifetime.
Why is what drives not only everything we do, but also our emotional reactions to everything that happens to us. There have been many times when I’ve been stuck in traffic, swearing and frustrated (usually because I have to go to the bathroom!) and then I get to the reason why – a horrible accident—and it’s then that I realize how insane my irritation was in looking for the why. I should have been looking at my own actions, my irritation, swearing, etc.
For sure, we’re much more likely to accept a change if we understand the reason for it. And, for me, acceptance seems to hinge on how much sense the reason makes to me. Even if the change fails to benefit me—even if it causes harm in some way—if my sense of fairness is satisfied, I am far more likely to accept it. But I’m always missing what’s behind the why—and it is what’s behind the why that helps me grow as a person.
I once read that “the responsibility for success is on you; so is the responsibility for creating meaning out of life’s biggest disappointments.” That makes sense to me. It’s about creating the meaning from our actions, not finding the reason for our actions.
As for my friend’s divorce, we talked about owning up to our own mistakes we’ve made and sometimes there’s simply no good reason why something happens. However, I suggested to my friend, that it is our responsibility to create something more important than a reason—we need to create meaning from the reason.
There is a profound subtlety in the difference between reason and meaning, which speaks to the more important process of being accountable for how we heal and grow and, in turn, how we create value that in some ways outlives the pain. Perhaps, it may even eclipse it. Hard to accept that when you’re in the midst of grieving some kind of loss, right? But I think for my friend, who was grieving today, she needed to be accountable for what happened and now for her own growth. We all do.
Cool song below on why.