The psychologist I found for talk therapy in my 20s was funny and blunt. After our sessions, I’d go home and capture his insights in a notebook. I wanted to study my way out of the damaging effects Read
Since the day we began talking, we started asking questions. "Why aren't there any more dinosaurs?" "What type of oil should I cook with?" or, "How much money do I need to retire?"
We are always searching for answers.
For now, let's try to abandon our need to find the right answer. Let's just ask the questions below; there's no right or wrong. In this instance just asking might be the right answer.
1. Am I living a life based on fear?
So often we base our decisions around the emotion of fear instead of the emotion of joy.
When you reach a crossroads in life, whether it's a big or little fork, do you swerve the wheel sharply left with wild determination, thinking, "This will thrill me and provide joy," (love-based decision)? Or do you sputter with hesitation at the fork, only to miss the turn and continue on the same road, saying, "I had better pick this road, since I could risk losing a, b, or c," (fear-based decision)?
If you take fear out of the equation — the fear of disapproval, embarrassment, failing, loneliness or wealth — what would your life look like? Does your life add up?
Unfortunately we can't make any U-turns, but we can look deeper at our next fork. Living a life based on fear might seem like the safe bet, but in our uncertain world, one thing is certain: fear-based decisions are likely to leave you drowning in a pool of regrets.
2. Can I change the situation?
When you're confronted with an external problem, ask, "Can I solve this problem?" Regardless of the answer, will any good come from worrying about this problem?
Why do we waste so much precious time and energy worrying about something that can't be changed?
When you fight against reality, you'll lose a bloody battle of what if's, if only's, should have's and denial. Whether your reality is that you should have married someone else, said something you needed to say, or are dealing with an illness the reality is you can't change any these things.
3. What mistakes have I made?
Have you ever been the cause of conflicts or problems? Are there are any relationships that might be able to be saved or repaired if you acknowledge your mistakes?
We can gain incredible insight from admitting and seeing our own ignorance. I can bet your ego is in denial that you were ever wrong, responsible or negligent, but for the sake of your relationships, why not look at your shortcomings? Chances are your mistakes are forgivable, as long as you can admit them and grow.
4. What do I love and what do I not love?
Do you really love to bake? Or do you bake because it's something that any normal, good mother or wife should do? What if you admitted to the world that you hated baking and stopped forcing everyone to eat your rock-hard chocolate chip cookies? You might breathe a sign of relief and your co-workers might silently say thanks.
This goes for all men and women out there. Are you living a life of expectations? What do you really enjoy? If it's staying home with a good book instead of hitting up the baseball field, that's perfectly OK.
Is anyone really any better or worse than you just because they have different hobbies and passions?
5. Why not? What would happen if…?
You can fill in the blank above with whatever you're passionate about, big or small, but for discussion purposes let's look at something simple, "what would happen if I took guitar lessons?" Again we can always take it back to fear-based decisions; are you afraid of failing or of embarrassment?
Why not? In every situation, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen if I did? What's the worst that would happen if I didn't? What's the best that could happen if I did or didn't?”
There really isn't a right or wrong answer, but by playing with these questions a whole new world of possibilities opens up right in front of you.
There are so many important questions; these are a few that stand out to me. What questions do you think we should add to this list?
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