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Using The Word Why - Newsletter August 2007
August 02, 2007
My niece is at that age where everything is “Why?” “Why is the sky blue?”, “Why do I have eat peas?”, “Why do I have to go to bed?” Just, “why, why, why”. It’s enough to drive you completely crazy but that’s how they learn about the world around them. The word, “why” is a word we tend to forget once we’ve grown up because we think we already know.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been using this word myself and having some pretty incredible results. Instead of using it to understand my external world as my niece does, I’ve been using it to understand my internal world.
I’ve been using it for just about anything from why am I procrastinating to why does someone’s words upset me?
I've discovered that by asking the question, it forces you to step back and catch the thoughts and feelings that are happening at the back of your mind. Thoughts you have but haven’t really articulated yet.
One of the first places I tried using this was with a report I needed to do for my job. I’ve been procrastinating on working on it. So, I asked myself, “Why don’t I want to work on it?”
I realized it's mostly because I'm afraid I'm doing it wrong. It’s not my area of expertise and I've had to teach myself everything including the software and what steps need to be taken in order to complete this report.
Knowing what the thoughts were behind the procrastination allowed me to work through them. I've made mistakes in the past and they were fixable. I learn something new each time I do this report so it actually gets easier each time I do it. I document it all too so I can go back and walk someone through the process if I ever need to (with the accountant for example). Then, I thought about how nice it would be to have it done, have it all nicely organized and not have to worry about it again for another 3 months.
Once I’d gone through this process, I was able to work on the report until it was done which was such a relief. I still had that twinge of "what if I'm doing this wrong?" but I was aware of it and I knew the reason behind it. By simply asking “why” I was able to break free from the procrastination.
I also found that by asking, "why?" you can discover beliefs and habits you may not even be aware of. I realized an important one for me just the other morning when I woke up late. My first thought was that my husband would be annoyed that I’d slept so late. I felt guilty for being so late. I decided to ask myself “why?” Why do I feel that way, why do I think he’ll be mad? The truth was he didn’t even care. When I asked myself why I thought he'd be mad, it made me remember that when I was a kid, I’d be in so much trouble if I got up late. So, because this is the only frame of reference I have about getting up late, I just naturally assumed he’d be mad too.
This one was actually a huge revelation for me as I figured out that there are a few things I worry about and it’s simply because that’s how it was when I was growing up. They’re no longer relevant to my current life and I need to update my beliefs.
The great thing about always asking “why” is that it can bring to light a lot of beliefs you may have which may not be helping you. For example:
• "He should be more understanding and supportive." The reality is that he doesn’t understand and he may need help from you in order to understand what you need and what you feel would show he's being supportive.
• "I should be a faster learner than this." The reality is that you’re learning at the perfect speed for you.
• "My co-worker should know better than to do that." The reality is he doesn’t.
The “should’s” cause such unnecessary grief. It’s so much easier to just let them go. But, you don’t always realize you’re caught up with “should’s” until you ask yourself, “why?” Why are you annoyed with someone, why are you really so frustrated, why did someone hurt your feelings?
Anyway, I thought I'd share this with you because I'm finding it so helpful to deal with procrastination and feelings like anger, frustration, sadness, or even boredom. Once you figure out what the real reason is then you can deal with it instead of it stopping you in your tracks or trying to force yourself to do something you don't want to do.
Give it a try.
• If you get annoyed with the person packing your bags at the grocery store, “Why?”
• If you’re procrastinating, "Why?"
• If you don't want to do something, "Why?"
• If you're feeling jealous, "Why?" This is actually a good one because once you figure out why you're really feeling jealous, you can decide if it's something you really want. If it is, just turn it around to be, "How can I get this too?" Or, you may discover it's an area within that needs to be healed. Either way, by asking "why?", you can suddenly use it to your advantage instead of just feeling bad.
So, go ahead, just like when you were a kid, drive yourself completely crazy with asking "Why?". You’ll be amazed at what you learn about yourself.
And, here’s what’s new on the site
65 Positive Ways To Deal With Negative People
Also, I’ve updated and revised my “3 Questions That Will Change Your Life” ebook to add more examples and some additional chapters. If you’ve already purchased a copy, you should be receiving the updated version within the next couple of days. Please let me know if you don’t receive it. It’s tough to get past the spam filters sometimes especially with an attachment.
That's all for this time. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reply to this email or use my Contact Form
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Please be advised that the opinions expressed here are purely those of the author, Catherine Pratt. You read and act upon it at your own risk.
Life With Confidence
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