Life Without Easy Answers

Published on October 14, 2010 by

I've spent twenty five years plus working with individuals and couples, helping them to create positive change in their lives.

Ten of those years were spent in a full time private practice as a psychotherapist.

Over the years, I've learned at least a little about life, people, change, joy and pain.

I've learned a lot about myself.

My successes have taught me a lot.

And pain has taught me a lot. Pain I've inflicted on myself and pain I've caused others.

When I left home for college, I understood life. Well, I thought I did.

It turns out I didn't. Not by a long shot.

I grew up in an environment where the all the answers were given to me.

If anyone had any questions about life, including "God," the answers were right there in black and white.

Over the years, I discovered the hard way, that life, including "God" is far from black and white.

I had to let go of life with easy answers. Or it was going to destroy me.

I needed to embrace life without easy answers.

It wasn't easy, and the process almost did me in.

It was messy and painful. It was agonizing.

I've heard a lot of "answers" to life's tough questions. Answers ranging from extremely conservative Christian thinking to mind blowing metaphysical thinking.

And here's what I've concluded: It's all opinion.

Nobody knows for sure when it comes to the tough questions about life.

I've had clients who have lived through or with everything  from...

  • Rape
  • Sexual abuse beyond what you could imagine
  • Severe mental and emotional abuse
  • Severe abuse from their churches
  • Schizophrenia
  • Horrible medical conditions that ended their lives
  • Lives being torn apart by a psychopath
  • Parents of adolescents or grown children who committed suicide
  • Alcoholism and drug addiction
  • Financial ruin that was beyond their control

I could go on, but that's enough. I'm sure it wasn't pleasant reading.

It wasn't pleasant working with my clients who dealt with these things, but it was more meaningful and humbling than I could put into words.

Through them, and through experiences in my own life (that I wouldn't wish on anyone) I've learned that for many things in life, there are no easy answers.

It's kind of ironic, because that's a pretty black and white statement.

But, it's the best I can do on the subject.

I don't mean there's not any hope or comfort to be had. If there's one thing I've learned, human beings are unbelievably resilient. In a mind boggling way.

I just mean there's not any easy answers to some things.

I think we are here on earth to learn, grow and love. Especially to love and be loved.

Still, life is often complex, messy and overwhelming...and without "easy answers."

I would love to hear what you think.


  1. david

    That is a great one to consider Alan.
    It seems to me , I often want to be right in my answers. And to supply the easy relevant answers...
    To myself and others... to be helpful of course.

  2. david

    Currently I believe the source of my answers has to be
    From some power greater than myself. I believe now I do not have to be right about all things. I only have to progress. I understand people who say they can't save the world are being more than honest, flippant & simple. I understand why I can no longer live so much on syntaments. It depleats my sanity when I am left to my own shelf of easy answers.
    It works for me better to have a source for answers of all classifications which are helpful to guide me. Since I will never be choosing perfectly always, I gain confidence if I step with faith in the Answer Giver's words rather than what I may choose in a given moment.
    I appreciate you not believing you have all the answers easily because you are honest & not wanting to join the Know-it-alls of life. Also, you show willingness to dig deep, roll up your sleeves and work on the tough answers.

    • Alan Allard

      David, I love your phrase, "The know it alls of life." That's great!

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