Who, what, when, where, and why? These are key elements in literature, but in real life we don’t always get the luxury of knowing all five—especially the why.
I learned this the hard way in 2015. This was the year that was set to be my year: I landed my dream job, moved to the westside of Los Angeles, and had my prince charming by my side. I was on top of the world. I felt unstoppable, accomplished and strong. At last, all of my hard work had paid off and I had found true love.
Little did I know that it would all be flipped upside down within weeks of the new year.
My dream job turned out to be a nightmare, and within days the job was no more due to differences between the owner and me. The shock and confusion of this flop took a huge toll on me, but that was only the beginning. By Spring, I had lived in three different places due to inconsistent income from switching jobs. I turned to my boyfriend for consoling during this difficult time, but that too was on the outs, without me even knowing. Our relationship ended abruptly mid-Summer, and I was devastated.
Everything that was important to me and everything I achieved was gone.
I lost the job, had to move out of the apartment, and my fairy tale relationship ended, and all I could do was ask myself, why?
My world was shattered. I didn’t even get a chance to experience my dream come true before it slipped away. I tried to put the pieces back together the best I could. I dedicated some of my efforts to moving on, but most of my energy went to making sense of it all. I wanted to create a clear picture, a reenactment of what occurred. I asked myself, “How did I get here? Is the universe playing a twisted joke on me?” That’s when I became obsessed with the why. It fully consumed me and occupied my every thought.
Why me? Why would they do that? Why? Why? Why? The quest for the perfect reason, the one that would make everything make sense and give me peace, was actually paralyzing and disabling.
Day in and day out it was all I could think of, until one day I realized I was no longer myself. I was fully depleted of energy. I became a huge source of my own unhappiness on top of all the other suffering I already had going on. I couldn’t allow this to go any further, so I made a pact with myself to drop the why completely.
It was extremely difficult to get the why that was residing in my mind to vacate. I had subconsciously built an infatuation with it. I was feeding my role as a victim. Suffering is a tricky thing—if it is not caught early, it can become an addiction we dwell in.
I had to find strength to let go, and not in a passive way, but in a very active and purposeful way of choosing to not get stuck in trying to understand the past, but rather moving forward. Through persistence and constant reminders I was able to let it go. I said the following mantra anytime I found myself spiraling down the slippery why slope:
“I drop the need to know why, I accept what is, I choose to let go.”
Once the why was dropped I felt alive again. I was able to regain my energy and heal in a healthy way. Eventually, my little mantra became my truth, and my mind was free.
It was the most painful year of my life, but after dropping the why it became the most influential year yet. Once I dug myself out of the past, I was able to breathe again and rebuild my life. Now I am content and free.
Five life scenarios where dropping the why can help us heal:
1. Abandonment: Being abandoned can leave massive scars behind. The worst part is that, often times, the person being abandoned carries this weight on their shoulders by believing that they were not enough. If you have been abandoned, drop the need to know why, and instead practice loving yourself. Know that there are plenty of people on this Earth to love you and that you are enough in every way.
“You, yourself, more than anyone, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha
Drop the why when dealing with abandonment in order to find self love.
2. Betrayal: Loyalty is something we all value, but it’s a sensitive thing, for once it’s broken it’s hard to “sage” or make whole again. The person you love becomes unrecognizable after doing something so hurtful. In the long run, the betrayer is hurting themselves more than they hurt you. So practice compassion for them and for yourself by forgiving.
“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” ~ Maya Angelou
Drop the why when dealing with betrayal in order to let go.
3. Deception: Unfortunately, things are not always as they appear. Many people hide behind masks, mostly due to fear. It can be shocking to unveil what’s behind the poker face. If it’s your family member, love them anyway. If it’s a romantic relationship, friend or employer and their true self isn’t a good match with yours, simply move on and see this as another knotch to add to your belt of life experience.
“We find comfort among those who agree with us—growth among those who don’t.” ~ Frank A. Clark
Drop the why when dealing with deception in order to grow.
4. Rejection: Not getting what we want after putting in handwork and time can be a huge blow to the ego. We get down on ourselves and question our self worth. We get overly attached to that goal, so much so that we don’t see that there are other possibilities that may, in fact, be a better fit. Obsessing over the why in rejection means we have limited ourselves to only one possible outcome.
“The root of suffering is attachment.” ~ Buddha
Drop the why when dealing with rejection to practice non-attachment.
5. Death: Sudden death of a loved one is devastating no matter what the situation is. It leaves us feeling enormous grief and asking questions. It is okay for us to gather as much information as we can, but once we find ourselves stuck with unanswered questions, it’s time to focus on accepting it. Time does heal all, but without acceptance we don’t allow this process to begin. Our wounds will stay open until we accept what is.
“Happiness can exist only in acceptance.” ~ George Orwell
Drop the why when dealing with death in order to find acceptance.
I know these are all heavy topics, and it is much easier said than done, but this idea of dropping the why can become a useful tool in healing. Obsessing over an unavailable answer keeps us trapped in an unchangeable moment in the past.
Once I let go of the why, my mind was no longer a prisoner to it.
We don’t want to spend years, let alone a lifetime, wondering why. As difficult as life may be it can also be very sweet if we get our minds right. Drop the why.
Author: Yessie Chavez
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Author’s own via Emma Rosenblatt Photography