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What if Questions Were the Answer?

Dear Reader,

As a counselor and a teacher, I know the value and importance of asking the right type of questions.  In essence, being intentional has value.  The questions we ask ourselves, often, guide our focus, critical thinking and problem solving.

I have learned that during difficult times, we have an inclination to shift to survival mode, which is typically appropriate and adaptive depending on circumstances and even past experiences.  This survival lens may influence our perspective and mindset.

It is important to keep in mind that if we have experienced any form of trauma, then there are additional layers that need to be considered besides shifting our mindset.  In fact, some of those layers include feeling safe, type of support system, and resources, among many more.

My intention is to invite a possible way of reframing some of our internal dialogue in spite of adversity.  The purpose of this is to help us change our perspective and view things in a way that may be more helpful than unhelpful.

We spend a lot of time in our mind.  Thus, what we ask ourselves matters.  Many times, we may ask ourselves, “What did I do wrong?  Can things get any worse?  Why me?”  Hence, this begins shaping our inner dialogue as our mind attempts to find the answers.  We may find responses within our mind that are negative, disempowering, or discouraging.

Michael Beckwith explains that, “During difficult times, we often ask ourselves disempowering questions instead of empowering questions.”  This is often true and the case.  It actually is difficult to even consider a more empowering solution or possibility.  There is a reason for that.

While attending Level 1 Theraplay training, our instructor explained, “when trauma happens the first thing that leaves is joy.” This is important because it reframes how difficulties and adversities can impact our ability to be present and feel safe which are essential to feel joy. 

In fact, it’s tempting and very common to focus on everything that is going wrong, mistakes, errors, or setbacks.  Hence, making it very difficult to “think or stay positive.”

If our questions can guide our focus and attention, what if we could ask ourselves questions that have a dosage of empowerment?

What if we could as ourselves even, if it’s just one question, that could help reframe or shift our paradigm?

Antidotes during times of stress are curiosity and hope.  Thus, when we reframe questions, we seek the most generous possibilities and opportunities.  This means that we ask questions that are more strength based than deficit based.  Below you will find some examples of questions.

Here are some questions we can start practicing today:

  • What’s going on inside me?
  • What do I need?
  • What is my body asking for?
  • What is working well?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What if things could be easier than they seem?
  • How can I transform my pain?
  • What is life trying to teach me from this? How can I learn and grow from this?
  • What if I’m actually better than I think?
  • What if this was the best thing that could have happened to me?

Maybe none of these questions matter at the moment or are appropriate.  You may reframe questions in a manner that is more fitting to present circumstances.

I will close with a final consideration, if our brain is powerful enough to think of ourselves and outcomes negatively, what if we could use that same system for something that is an ounce more helpful and more in our favor.

My hope for you to consider what shifts could occur by reframing the questions we ask ourselves.

May you find the answers your heart longs for. 

With warmth and kindness,

Jazmine

References

A., V. D. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York (New York): Penguin Books.

Level One Theraplay @ Marshack Interaction Method training.  (2019)

Jazmine Silva, MS, LPC, RPT
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