Why is the sky blue?
This is an innocent question asked by nearly every child as they look up and see the beautiful, lightly colored tint of a sunny summer sky. It perfectly captures the curiosity of a young mind exploring the world around itself and comes with a feeling of wonder at the beauty of the world surrounding us.
Why is this not working?
This is a less innocent question, usually asked by someone who is frustrated with something, whether it be the failure of a complex strategy they’ve planned out for their favorite video game or a piece of technology that just refuses to do what you want it to do. It has a hint of annoyance in its tone, as well as a feeling of helplessness in some situations.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
This question, though simple on the outside, has puzzled almost all of us at some point in our lives. It could be referring to the death of a loved one, undeserving and innocent victims of a crime, or anything else that seems just as unfair. This question, though it is seemingly so simple, can give people feelings of anger, sadness, regret, nervousness, anxiety, or anything else in between, even leading some people to contemplate life and death as a way to search for its answer.
All of these questions have one single word in common:
“Why?” is a dangerously simple question. It asks for an explanation. It asks for reasoning. It asks for clarity. Because of this, it is almost deceptively simple. When used in the right context, the simplicity of what this question asks is extremely useful to us.
“Why is the sky blue?” is a great example of this. The question is asked, and there is an answer waiting to be found. The only thing that prevents you from finding this answer is whether or not you care to search for it.
“Why is this not working?” is also an example of this, though sometimes the answer lies just out of reach. You might not have access to the knowledge needed to understand the answer, and you may not know anyone who does. When this happens in situations I’m sure we’re all familiar with, it can cause frustration, anxiety, or anger.
And therein lies the problem with this seemingly simple question: its simplicity and clarity are only useful to us when there is an answer to be found. When there is no answer, what began as a simple question can turn into something horrifying.
Why do good things happen to bad people?
Why is this happening to me?
These questions come with the possibility of finding an adequate answer. Sometimes, the search for answers ends here, with a simple explanation of the circumstances that caused you to ask the question and an understanding of the causes behind them. However, when this process fails, whether the failure is caused by someone else’s immaturity or inability to communicate, lack of support from the people around you, an inability to understand complicated emotions, or some other reason, the failure can lead to questions that have no simple answer at all. These questions might leave you unsatisfied and unsure of where to look to next.
Why am I alive?
What’s the purpose of all of this if all I get is this situation?
These questions have no answer. That’s it. There is no answer. But that can’t be; of course there must be an answer to them?
Let’s reconsider that previous statement: These questions have no answer unless you give them an answer. It is up to you to give those questions an answer. It’s your life, and you are in control of the reason you live it. Here are a few more questions for you to ask yourself:
Are you worth something?
How much are you worth in comparison to others?
What is your purpose in life? Why do you exist?
The answer to the first one is, without a doubt, yes. You were given existence by God for a reason, and because of that reason, you are worth something. The answer to the second question should come naturally, but unfortunately, it does not to most people. Your life, since it was given to you in just the same way it was given to others, is worth exactly as much as their life. You are not more important than someone else. Beliefs that one person is more important than another are what lead to division and hate in our society. Note that nobody else is more important than you either. Do not forget that.
The third question is the hardest. It’s an individual question, and everyone’s answers will be slightly different. Here’s my argument for my own purpose:
- If everyone’s life has the same value as a whole, then a small sacrifice on my part to benefit multiple others is worth the sacrifice.
- If someone could be benefited greatly by something that takes me little time or effort, such as a compliment, then as a whole it is worth taking the small amount of my own time to make their life better.
- If doing a small act of kindness benefits me and someone else, it should always be done.
- If it makes me feel better to help someone and they also gain something, there is absolutely no reason for me to not be kind.
- The only time I shouldn’t be kind is if the balance between my own sacrifice and the other person’s gain is weighted against me. I should not let myself be used or abused.
Therefore, my purpose in life is to love. Kindness and love are the reason I exist, and they are the answer to my “Why?”
I’m here not for myself, but for others. If I can use some of my life to make another’s life better, I always should. This doesn’t mean I should let myself be stomped on by others, or always say yes to requests, or not stand up for myself, but any time I can choose to be kind without sacrificing my personal health or my own life, I should choose to be kind.
If everyone was kind, the world would be a much better place.
“Why?” is a dangerous question when it’s used improperly. Instead of asking these dangerous questions, try reframing them into something that can help you instead of causing anxiety and stress. This can help you find the answers to some of life’s most complex questions.
What’s your “Why?”