Q is for Questioning

By February 17, 2012 7 Comments

My friend Molly asked me to contribute to a series of posts on Fierce Self-Love — as a part of the warmup to her upcoming course on that topic.

I’m excited about what Molly does over at her site, Stratejoy. Her work targets women in their mid-twenties, women grappling with their “quarter-life crisis!” (Have you heard that term yet? It’s a new thing.)

She’s created a community for thousands of young women who want to consciously craft their lives and find greater meaning EARLY in adulthood.

I’m a big supporter of this because of my own experiences. I started consciously working on my personal growth early in life, and along the way was often frustrated when people remarked to me that inner work is for the second half of life. That you only get interested in it or ready for it when you are older.

I believe that is so not true, that many children, adolescents and young adults are seeking tools to live aligned with their values and help them go after their dreams.

So, for her “ABC’s of Self-Love” blog crawl, Molly asked me to write a post about questioning, as it relates to self-love.

Of course, one way we can love ourselves is to question the limiting stories or inner critic narratives that live in our heads. But I want to write about something else here: the importance of asking ourselves powerful questions.

It’s sometimes said that the quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our questions. I think that’s true.

Here are seven of the most loving questions I think we can ask ourselves

1. What do I really want?
2. What is my heart’s desire?
3. What is this teaching me?
4. What is the gift in this?
5. What am I ready to let go of?
6. What am I avoiding?
7. What would love do in this situation?

Notice what these questions have in common:

1. They are about the present – not the future or the past.
2. They are short, under seven words. Simple.
3. They begin with the word “what.”

There are exceptions to every rule, but for the most part, I believe the most helpful questions we can ask ourselves meet these three criteria.

They don’t try to predict the future or figure out the past. (Sorry, Freud!)

They are simple, simple enough that our hearts and souls can hear and understand them. Once a question gets too complex and weighty, only the frontal cortex can understand it – and when it comes to the questions that matter most in our lives, the frontal cortex probably doesn’t have the answers. We need to speak to ourselves in language simple enough that our hearts and souls can understand — and then reply.

These questions also begin with “what.” “What” questions open up a space for naming what is happening, for creating possibilities, for generating ideas. They don’t demand an answer about “how” (“how” comes later, after a gorgeous and rich and wise “what” is uncovered) or try to figure out “why.” The “what” leads the way.

So try it this week. Set aside the why questions, the complex questions, the either/or questions. When you are reflecting, or journaling, or talking with a friend, think in terms of questions like these: big, open-ended, simple, short, “what” questions.

See what gifts show up in the answer.



This post is part of the “Blog Crawl of Self-Love” hosted by Molly Mahar of Stratejoy. You can check out other great posts by bloggers Amy Kessel, Rachel Cole, Randi Buckley and many others. Find out more about The ABC’s of Self Love Blog Crawl + Treasure Hunt here.



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