When to Let Go of Trying To Figure Things Out

answers

Persistence comes in handy. Without it I never would have the success I have today or even have figured out what was wrong with my printer this morning.

I’ve used persistence to help find answers when they were elusive and often felt inspired by Marie Forleo’s message that “everything is figureoutable”.

But then, something happened that made me realize choosing not to try and figure things out can also be an empowering choice.  Here’s how it went down:

While attending a master’s program a few years back that met one weekend a month, I would stay in a hotel with 3 other women. We would get two adjoining double rooms and stay up late laughing our way through the night. We were quite a lively bunch and I cherished my time with these friends.

But, everything changed during the second year of the program.

My roomies developed a pattern of forgetting me for meals and leaving me stranded at school after dark. There was a lot of anger directed at me and I clearly no longer belonged. I was invisible, forgettable, and had apparently upset someone in a big way.

I had no idea what I had done so I went to work trying to figure it out.

It seemed that things started to go bad one morning when I went down to the hotel desk to pick up my bill and brought the others back as well. One of the women was very upset and at one point apparently accused me of convincing the staff to do something to her bill. This didn’t make sense to me, but she was never willing to have a conversation so I don’t know for sure what she was upset about.

What I do know is that I spent months trying to fix this. I literally made myself sick over it. What challenged me most was that I thought if I could figure it out I could prove it was just a misunderstanding and everything would be okay again. So, I spent months of my life energy focused on coming up with answers.  It was practically all I could think about.

Eventually, I realized my insanity and that it wasn’t worth making myself sick over and just moved on. There were new friends and special connections made that never would have happened if I was still with the other group and I was grateful to not be hanging out with them when their friendships fell apart and they dropped out of school.

It took me months of pain, but I learned that not everything is figureoutable or worth spending my energy on. I will probably never know what really happened, but have found peace through letting go and forgiveness.

Now, I am a huge supporter of the words – I don’t know. When I face a question that feels fuzzy around the edges I ask myself if I want to spend time on it. Often, the answer is no.

It feels peaceful to not try and figure out life’s questions. I may have ideas and feelings about them, but some may be truly unfigureoutable from my lowly human perspective.

  • What happens after we die? – I don’t know.
  • Why does God let bad things happen? – I don’t know.
  • What will the future bring? – I don’t know.
  • Which politicians can we trust? – I don’t know.

I don’t need to have all the answers. Neither do you. We get to make choices about where we spend our life energy and sometimes that means accepting and letting go of figuring things out.

Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts.  I would love to hear what you have to say.

11 thoughts on “When to Let Go of Trying To Figure Things Out

  1. Flora Morris Brown says:

    Linda,

    You were smart to realize when to stop looking for the explanation for something that was “unfigureoutable”. There are clearly a number of things we don’t know because we don’t have all the background information that would lead to the answer. More importantly, it’s not beneficial to spin our wheels trying to know them.

    One of the toughest concepts for students in my critical thinking class to accept were the gray areas of life. Some students got extremely frustrated when there were no “right-wrong” or “black-white” solutions. When we accept the existence of unknown and uncertain answers we can move on to embrace fully that which we do know and understand.

  2. Nicole Bush says:

    Thank you so very much for this Insight Linda. I welcome this new tool into my life for many reasons….. just to let go is so peaceful, when I can really really and truly breathe and relax.
    I found Marie’s energy to be to much and irritating months ago.
    And I recently had a run in with a class mate of mine that seemed to come out of the blue. It is very painful, and yet with your gentle reminder, I am breathing and letting it go….. thank you and blessings to you sweet Linda

    • Linda Luke says:

      Glad it helped Nicole. I think that when dealing with other human beings there is so much we don’t know and it is important to not take things personally. When reminding myself of that isn’t enough, I re-read or watch a video of Don Miguel Ruiz talking about this as one of his 4 Agreements.

  3. I consider time my most precious commodity. When I spend it trying to find answers to questions, which can’t be answered now, it is taking time from my goals. Some of my clients get hung up with trying to find answers. Most who do don’t remain clients. My time is better spent helping people who aren’t hung up.

    • Linda Luke says:

      Yes Dennis, time is a way of measuring how we spend our life energy and it is important to use it wisely. I believe that sometimes when we are human and get hung up it is because there is a lesson we are meant to learn, just as my story helped me come to love not knowing.

  4. Lee akin says:

    I am one who is analytical and who used to try figuring everything out. I now try my best to figure something out, but if I can’t, I now let it go if it is not important to me. If it is important, I will look for opportunities to revisit the possible solution in the future by putting it out to the universe and letting it go temporarily. This is how I have creatively solved important problems with less stress. If I am destined to solve the problem, the solution usually comes to me, if not now, at a later date. I must be open to it. My old self would have gotten frustrated or angry if I couldn’t come up with a solution. I have learned over time, that it is much less stressful to solve problems by waiting for the solution to come to me. Most of the time, the ultimate solution I was looking for appears. I happen to be a person with a lot of patience. I guess this is the natural born teacher in me!

    • Linda Luke says:

      Thank you for sharing your journey through this Lee. Our expectations of when the answers will come probably bring more pain and frustration than the actual issues.

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