The most important question you’ll ever ask…

Image credit: Skeptical Cat
Copyright text: Jorinde Berben

There’s a question that is both simple in its form and endless in its answers. It leads to opening up your mind to understand, instead of closing it off to judge. The question I’m, of course, talking about is ‘Why?’

‘Why?’ is a very powerful question. I first realised one of its powers when my kids got into the 2-3 year old phase where ‘why’ is pretty much a mantra, but that’s not the power I’m talking about here.

The power I use most, need most, is the power to let me explore my own subconscious beliefs. The power that seeks to understand. This power I discovered about two years ago thanks to a great therapist. She’d just drop the WHY-bomb whenever I said something that seemed really self-explanatory to me, so I could then realise I didn’t really have a clue why I said what I said at all. Just because it sounds familiar, that doesn’t make it common sense.

  • Why do I worry so much about what people think? What’s behind it? What am I afraid of?
  • Why do I like to travel? What do I get out of it?
  • Why do I prefer to write in English rather than my native language?
  • Why do I find it easier to be alone than to be in a relationship when it’s the other way around for so many people?

I guarantee you won’t find all the answers. I never do, definitely not right away. But you can find them over time, perhaps with some help (asking honest and true friends to help figure stuff out has been a lifesaver for me many times!).

There are a few more benefits: if you’re asking why things are the way they are, you are also seeing them for what they are. And once you’ve accepted your reality, you can actually live IN it, and change it if you want or need to.

Furthermore, you begin to open up to the WHY of other people. Yes, my son threw a stick at his sister (and I immediately started yelling), but WHY did he do it? (And the yelling stops).
Why did my student seem so sleepy in class? Is he working too hard?
Why did that teenage boy join a neo-Nazi group? Is he disappointed with the state of things or is he looking for a feeling of belonging?
There are answers to these questions that help us understand each other, and in that way help each other.

WHY is a great way to open your mind. And if you let it, a great way to open your heart (Why is it that I’ve never truly let any man in? Why can’t I ask for help?).

What are the hard questions you need to ask yourself? What are the ‘why’ questions you want to ask the world?

3 thoughts on “The most important question you’ll ever ask…

  1. The most painful question a therapist can ask. It threw me off big time the first time she did this. But gradually, I’ve started to anticipate the question and now, even outside therapy, I question myself.
    I’ve never questioned others, though, with that simple one word question. Food for thought.


    1. I think the best result you can aim for in therapy, is that you learn to start asking yourself the hard questions and look at yourself in that way. And then rain that same inquiry and insight down on those around you.


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