I host a monthly coaching group for women in my hometown; it’s an open/flexible group where women can drop in or out without making a long term commitment given all of the other things they have going on in their lives.
When we met on Sunday, I gave them a worksheet about creating shifts to make positive changes. One of perspectives that resonated with the group was that instead of constantly asking yourself “why?” about a situation in life, to consider asking a different question.
Here are some examples of “why?” questions I hear from a lot of my clients that seem to keep them in a spin cycle of frustration, doubt and inaction:
- Why can’t I ever stay on track with losing weight?
- Why is my job so soul-sucking?
- Why can’t I find someone to love / someone special?
- Why doesn’t my family/friend/partner understand me?
- Why do I keep getting stuck in the same patterns with men/women/friends/jobs?
Most of us have asked these questions (or something like them) at some point in our lives. Think about the last time you got into this kind of loop with yourself. Did asking yourself “why?” lead to any sort of shift in thinking or action?
I hope so, and I hope you got the results you wanted. More often than not, though, I have noticed personally and professionally, that “why?” seems to be a sort of rhetorical lamenting we do with ourselves.
We don’t want anyone to really answer the question — hell, we really don’t even want to answer the question — we’re so tired of it. We just want to air out the complaint; which is fine sometimes, but if you’re truly wanting change and “why?” isn’t getting you anywhere, then try something new.
Instead of why, consider asking yourself how. It sounds so simple, but look at what a difference it can make if I shift those “why?” questions I listed above to “how?”
- How can I take care of myself and lose weight?
- How can I make my job more satisfying?
- How can I learn to love myself more? How can I become someone special?
- How can I get to know myself in a deeper way and move towards what I really want in life instead of leaning into approval / affirmation outside of myself?
- How can I get to know myself more and and choose what I want in my life versus letting patterns, people or circumstances dictate who I am?
I know that when we looked at things from a point of view of “how?” versus “why?” in our group, it opened up entirely new possibilities for the women. Some said they could even feel a shift in their bodies — they felt a sense of openness with the change of just one word.
Try it for yourself and be proud of being more proactive versus reactive. That’s empowerment. That’s what self-care and self-love looks like in day-to-day life.