I had coffee with a close friend a few months ago and we got on the subject of asking ourselves questions. In a matter of 3 minutes she must have asked, out loud, 20 questions without allowing for any answers. She began to get really worked up until I stopped her.
"Are you looking for answers to these questions?" I asked.
"Yes, do you have any?" she responded.
I explained to her that she most likely already had the answers, but that she was not allowing herself to answer them, and that many times we can get caught up in asking ourselves questions without waiting for an answer. Here are some questions I hear people ask all the time:
- "Why am I so fat?"
- "Why doesn't he like me?"
- "Why am I so afraid to be successful?"
- "Why am I broke?"
- "Why doesn't anyone love me?"
- Why am I so stupid?" Are these questions worth answering? Sure. The problem comes when we fire off these types of broad questions without giving ourselves time to really assess the situation and make steps in a positive direction.
How to qualify your questions
"The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgement. " -Jiddu Krishnamurti
This quote reminds me to ask better questions and to do it from a place an answer can be realized. Here are 5 questions I ask myself before expecting an answer:
1. Is the question specific?
We can speak in generals all day, but until we get ask specific questions we will fail to get specific answers. "Why is it so hard for me to lose weight?" is not a good question. A better question is, "What triggers me to eat more than I need to?"
2. Is the answer knowable?
Once we are specific in our asking we must be truthful in acknowledging if the answer is knowable. If the question rests within another persons ability or lack there of to share, we may never get that answer. It becomes out of our hands and we must let it go if we can do nothing about it.
Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz had a dream and when she woke up she was surrounded by answers. Many times I will already know the answer but don't want to believe it. Accepting the truth can accelerate any healing that needs to run its course. If it is a matter of resources, often times we already have everything we need to get what we want.
4. Can you accept the answer?
If you already know the answer, as in question #3, it may take a while to accept it but you can stop asking because you already know. Question #4 is to accept the truth so you can move on. It is crucial to be able to accept the truth once discovered. Of course, challenge the answer, but once you get to the truth you need to accept that is the way it is. Although I do not subscribe to the saying "Ignorance is bliss" there are somethings we may not want to know the answer.
5. What will you do with the answer?
So you have accepted the answer, but what if you are not happy with it? Well, if you can do something about it then #5 is the next step. Now what? Are you better off? Can you move to the next thing?
Next time you are getting worked up about what is going on in your world, I suggest taking a moment to qualify the questions you are asking yourself. Slow down, take a breath, and deal with them one at a time. Like Dorothy, you may already have everything you need.