WHY IS NOT A USEFUL QUESTION

Whether it be about the wider context of our world, or about something which happens to us personally, why is not a useful question.

It may serve a purpose in gaining us a greater understanding or an explanation, but it is also likely to make us feel more powerless, more a victim of circumstance, or more guilty.

We generally ask why when something doesn’t make sense in our world view: Why did this happen to me? Why don’t they…? Why would someone…? Why can’t I…? We start from a place of wishing it were different from how it is, of finding whatever it is confusing or unacceptable. So any answers we may find already have a negative tinge.

More than that, answers to why don’t help us to handle it better usually, and are very unlikely to change the circumstance. ‘Why doesn’t so and so call me back?’ for example, just makes me feel crosser and doesn’t prompt them to call me!

So, what will help us to deal with whatever it is? This is a more useful question! Once we accept that it is how it is, then we can ask ourselves the useful questions: What am I going to do about it? How can I find a way to deal with it?

We are living through a time when things don’t make sense to us, and it’s easy to be disheartened by it. But we also all have the ability to choose to find a way to make our lives work the best way we can in the circumstances, rather than to be victims of it. Let’s stop asking why and start asking what can I do to help myself through.

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