Resolution provides answers, certainty, peace, even the opportunity to let go and move on. Resolving an argument can bring people together, allowing a deeper knowing of each other’s viewpoints. Receiving test results from your doctor, even if the news is less than ideal, results in a choice of treatment plan and the power to be in control of one’s path forward. But resolution is not always possible. How do we find peace when we are left with the “unknown”?
Moving from Black-and-White to Gray
Young children operate largely in a black-and-white world. Rules of right and wrong govern their behavior, and they believe if something is “this,” then it cannot be “that.” We feel comforted when the world fits neatly into available “boxes” and we can predict the next steps based on what came before. However, most of us grow into more abstract thinking as we age, understanding that very little in life, in fact, is absolute. Grayness rules our world much more frequently than black and white. Finding stability and confidence amidst “what-ifs” is a perennial challenge. Some people take comfort in religious beliefs that offer meaning to life’s difficulties. Others expend energy and resources in a search for answers that may result in deeper self-awareness, regardless of whether the answers appear. Ultimately, we must embrace the truth that much of life will remain a mystery, regardless of our energies to discover and define what we feel we “must” know to feel at ease. Rooting ourselves in the fertile ground of the unknown and unknowable can be the realist form of acceptance, setting us free from the pressure of “doing” and allowing us instead to “be”, a flexible and potent posture that will help us weather whatever lies ahead.