Monday, March 1, 2010

Unanswered Questions vs. Unquestioned Answers

My friend Harold is a minister and author who likes to pose riddles or ask questions that make you think. Then he analyzes them and gives feedback. I really liked this one-

Harold: Try this- You walk into a large foyer of a building. You see two signs. One points down a hall and is marked "Unanswered Questions." The other sign points in the other direction and is marked "Unquestioned Answers." What are your reactions to each sign? If you respond, I'll tell you what I think your most like…

Jenn: I choose unquestioned answers because I already have so many unanswered questions and I am tired of asking 'why?' I want some answers before I need them for a change. Plus, I like the idea of a Jeopardy scenario where I can sort of think backwards, which I tend to do anyway...

Harold: "Answers before you need them"--great phrase! For me, everybody actually has these, but the questions have to arise before we can identify what we already know and apply it in any particular dilemma or crisis. This is particularly true when a person is involved in a quest for their deepest personal identity. Long-term asking "Who am I?" frees you to look back over everything that has happened to you to find wisdom, to be more conscious of what is happening in the present to be fully alive, and to envision your future dreams as already coming true so you'll recognize them when they happen.

This is an interesting thought and I do wonder if I am on a quest to find my deepest personal identity. I feel more like I want to be than I ever have before and I ponder the thought that maybe I am coming into my own and looking to define what my values mean to me.

When I was younger, I cared a great deal what people thought of me and I missed out on a lot of the fun around me because of it. Now that I am older, I care far less what others think of me because I know more about who I am. Those who won't accept me for who I am no longer concern me because I am not going to become someone they want me to be. If they don't like ME, the person that I really am, then why should I change the wonderful person inside of me to fit into their narrow mold of what they would like me to be?

I want to be free; free from the constraints of society. Free to feel and think and say what I want (within reason and without bringing pain to others). I don't want friends or acquaintances who try to limit who I am. i want to know those who will edify me, challenge me and make me want to be a better person because they see me as more than I see myself. I also want to be that kind of friend for others. I want to be a positive influence on others , as well.

Symbiosis is common in relationships, from the workplace to the bedroom. If one person is negative, it's like cancer to those around who share the same tendency or emotion. But if the same person is positive and enthusiastic, that can also be just as contagious. I wish to be the latter rather than the former and this is a struggle for me.

My mom is one of the most pessimistic people I know; not because she is a naturally bitter or angry person, but because she truly loves people and has been hurt and used in the past (like we all have) and she has allowed her hurt and pain to develop into mistrust. Mistrust is a reflex that we develop in order to protect ourselves and it can often come in handy in certain situations (a dark alley, late at night, for example), but it can also overwhelm us if we allow it too much play in our lives.
Having been raised under the thumb of her mistrust, I also tend towards the cynical on occasion. But nature versus nurture is an interesting argument in this case because I am much more naturally optimistic and fearless than my mom is. This is both a blessing and a curse. I hurt for her when I see her fearing to live but she is often a steadying influence on my flighty nature.

I look forward to learning more on my continuing journey. Maybe I should go on a quest with a sexy sidekick; just like Xena, warrior princess... Wow, that's a hot, sapphic fantasy...

Excuse me a moment...

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