Letting Go of the Why
Written on Monday 09 May 2016
Often times, in my work as a psychologist and coach, I see that clients (and myself) get stuck in the why. Why am I feeling this way? Why am I doing this? Why do I keep doing this? Why am I not beyond this? Why is this happening? Why is this person acting this way? We get so preoccupied in the why that we get and stay stuck in the problem that we are trying to solve. That is not to say that the why isn’t important but it is not crucial in moving forward toward value driven action.
Here is an example. Let’s say you are struggling with negative feelings about something. Let’s also add that you have been doing some personal work in this area. You think that you should be beyond this. That you should have healed from this. You can’t figure out why you have taken this trip to crazy town. You bust your head trying to figure out WHY. However, this only keeps you on that train to crazy town. It does nothing to promote action, growth and/or change. We continue to sink in this pool of quicksand.
Here is why I believe that the why is not crucial for change. As a former cigarette smoker, I knew they why of why I smoked. I also knew the potential adverse consequences of my continued smoking. All of that insight, however, did not help me to quit smoking. I would just light up and inhale. Insight alone does not necessarily promote change. While helpful, it must be backed up with action.
Here is the tricky part. I see that some people get stuck in the why because they think that the why is the only key that is going to create the change. Nothing can be further from the truth. I can take action toward a value driven behavior and/or change without knowing the why of something. Alcoholic Anonymous has a saying, “Bring the body and the mind will follow.” What I have seen is that when we go towards value driven direction and action, it releases the blocks that we self-created to access the why. Sometimes, we see the positive benefits of our actions and we just don’t care about the why anymore.
I also think that people get stuck in the why because figuring out a why allows for the situation to make sense. Again, while this may be true, lots of things don’t make sense but we do them anyway, right? Figuring out the why does tend to promote fear and anxiety. While taking action to value driven behavior does as well, it will subsequently go away once we have completed the desired (or not so desired) behavior.
When it doubt and you’re stuck in the why, just do it, as long as this is value driven behavior that benefits you and others. Do not use this as carte blanche to engage in any behaviors that is not in alignment with your higher self. This is in regards to behaviors that you are wanting to engage in, however, you hesitate due to trying to figure out the why. The why isn’t as important as doing what serves you and others.
Tags: psychology, LGBTQ, coaching,