“It’s not the answers you get but the questions you ask, that’s all important,” my dad used to tell me. He was convinced that it’s in framing our questions that we begin to define the various components making up an issue or problem. I thought of Dad this morning when I read one of the essays in Brianna Wiest’s 101 Essays that Will Change the Way You Think. Her topic? “Why We Subconsciously Love to Create Problems for Ourselves.” Here is a brief synopsis of her essay.
She starts out by saying, “ We absolutely love to make problems for ourselves. We worry needlessly, we choose immobility, we resist acceptance, we externalize our power, we surrender our ability to choose . . . when really it is up to us to decide how to react when to change, what to entertain our minds with. And we worry because we love it. Whether it is because we feel being enmeshed in problems and having been through something is what gives our lives meaning, but since we are the ones who make them, we are the ones who can overcome them.”
“We craft our worries and victories subconsciously, for if we didn’t like worrying so much, we probably wouldn’t do it incessantly, for worry makes us feel alive. It feeds some part of us that modernization has robbed us of. What are we surviving? What’s the point? Why? When everything has an answer, what is there to do? If everything has a solution, what is there to consider to work toward? Why do we need to feel excited about accomplishments rather than settle for what we already have? What exists within us that is so unsettled we cannot be at peace?”
She goes on to suggest: “I think we create our own problems in order to address the things we know would otherwise become issues outside of our control. We make them in ways that allow us to heal, cope, and acknowledge whatever we want to get to. . . before some other heartbreaking, external circumstance does it for us. We create our problems knowing we will eventually have solutions and safely deal with them… So really, it’s a matter of being aware enough to understand what our issues are and that we are asking ourselves to heal them.”
It’s that last line that grabs me and inspires me. It’s not worrying and creating specific problems that are important, but the awareness and confidence in ourselves that by understanding the problems facing us, we gain the resources we need to actually resolve and heal our problems and become better persons.