We all have things we want, we like, we feel we need in our lives. But how often do we stop to think about why we want, like, or need those things? It can be interesting and sometimes deeply profound to ask ourselves not just "what", but "why". Exploring the why can help us see things on a deeper level, if we're up for the adventure.
All the things that make up our daily lives like food, clothes, sleep, work, relationships, habits, they all have the potential to be a source of self-discovery through asking why. Something as simple as, "I want ice cream today" may provide insight into the overall balance of our lives if we ask, "Why do I want ice cream today?" Maybe we got some really bad news or feel really stressed at work and some ice cream would feel like a comfort, a way to treat ourselves and make us feel better for a little while. But maybe having the ice cream keeps us from facing something that needs to be faced. Kind of like a bandaid on a bigger problem. Maybe our job IS too stressful and it would make sense to change it, find a different one that isn't as stressful or that we enjoy more. Maybe the ice cream relieves it just enough for us to keep doing our job without realizing that it's no longer a good fit for us and it's time to go, time to try something else. And if we keep eating the ice cream, we keep avoiding the real issue, maybe gain some weight and our lives gets more out of alignment. The exercise of asking why is simply a compass, a check in with ourselves to explore any aspect of our lives and weed out anything that might be unawarely keeping us from having a happy, healthy, balanced and fulfilling life. It's not about making any judgements, just about asking the question, seeing what the answer is, and then deciding what we want to do. We might decide to keep eating ice cream, and that's fine. Maybe it will take gaining some weight to make us look at our unhappiness and change it. It's absolutely up to us to decide, and whatever we do, we are deciding one way or the other.
It also might just be a really nice, warm, sunny day and ice cream would be a great way to treat ourselves and cool off a bit! We don't have to go through some big philosophical discovery every time we want ice cream, that's not exactly the point. It's just taking the opportunity to discover hidden things about ourselves that might be getting in our way without us even knowing it. To take it a little deeper, after asking 'why', we can then ask if our answer is actually true. Maybe we're in a bad relationship and if we ask ourselves why, we might have multiple reasons. One answer might be, of course, we love the person, we want to try and make it work. But is that true? Do we really want to try and make it work if it's making us miserable and is ultimately not the right relationship for us? Or maybe the answer is that we can't change it because we have children who would be affected by a change in the relationship and it wouldn't be good for them. Is that actually true? It's likely that it's just as hard on them to watch us and our partner stay in a bad relationship and so they don't fully understand what a good relationship looks like and it ultimately affects their relationships later in life. So, holding our answers up to the light of truth is important too and can take us to an even more profound level of discovery, choice, and action.
Asking these questions about different aspects of our lives might take us to a positive place as well, where we realize and appreciate what's good in our lives, what we're grateful for. Perhaps when we ask why we're in a particular relationship, or job, we notice all the reasons we love it, why it's important to us and resolve to cherish it and keep nurturing it going forward. Exploring the why, without any judgements about it, can have a powerful impact on our overall well-being. It can help us to see things more clearly and perhaps uncover anything that's holding us back, or keeping us stuck. What are some places in your life you'd like to take a little journey into and explore the "why"? You never know where it might lead you!