Monday, June 28, 2010

Are You Asking Yourself the Right Questions?

At church yesterday the minister asked all of us to participate in a short exercise. First we all closed our eyes and then she asked us to think about the question, "What is wrong with me?" How did this make us feel? Then, after getting up and shaking to dispel that experience, she asked us to close our eyes again and posed another question for us to think about, "What is right with me?" How did this make us feel? During the first part of the exercise, I know I felt very let down and sad - all the things that I would like to improve about myself ran through my mind in quick succession. Then, during the second part of the exercise, I experienced a mind shift. I began to think about the things that I do well and my spirits lifted. I found myself smiling! What a difference!

What are the "wrong questions" we often ask ourselves? These are questions like "How come ________ happened?", "who is to blame for this?", "can I do this?" and "why am I only _______ (you fill in the blank)?" All of these questions focus on our past and assign blame. They drain our energy and make us feel bad about ourselves and the situation. Asking the "right questions", though, has the opposite effect. They uplift us and make us feel good about ourselves and others. These are questions like "How can we solve this problem/fix this situation?", "how can I do this?" and "wow, I'm _______! How can I improve to become even better?" All of these questions are future oriented and are focused on finding solutions, not assigning blame.

What type of questions are you asking yourself? Over the next week, if you hear that pesky voice inside your head ask a "wrong question", pay attention to how it makes you feel. Then change it to a more positive one; one that helps you to look to the future. Bask in how good it makes you feel. It can become addictive!