One of the simplest ways to get down to the pain of the matter is to ask yourself the seemingly simple question, “why?”. When we start to get to know where our pain and shame inhabit, we can start to untie and unravel the power it has over us. Maybe we will just tug at one of the strings in the knot and gently loosen it. The power and unmistakeable magic in this will be although you are just touching on one chord, when you began to unravel a deeply held limiting belief or a painful story, the knots and the blocks loosen up and other areas of your life are healed simultaneously. The light slowly starts to seep in and freedom (my favorite feeling) will begin to radiate from that beautiful soul of yours.
Now I said the simple question of why, but a lot of power lays in those three letters. So much so, that when working with clients I have to make sure there is enough trust built up to even pose the question. Our personalities are often rooted in these stories or beliefs we hold on so tightly to that when the questions are asked such as, “Why is it important to you that you are are respected?” or “Why can’t you trust him?” it puts you on the defensive. We all build up our walls to protect our vulnerabilities, and when the hammer of the “why” starts to break them down, we feel exposed.
I saw a wonderful intuitive therapist a few years ago and when she told me something she observed about my thoughts or behaviors I felt myself get so defensive. So much so that I didn’t recognize the feeling. She pointed out that perhaps we were on onto something when this feeling came up but…oooh, I didn’t want to give up on that old victim story I had worn around for so long. But when I really leaned in and opened up into the possibility of a truth being spoken, it was quick healing. I couldn’t dodge the truth or build up my personality to protect it any longer and there was so much freedom on the other side.
So here’s a quick recipe to get the heart of the healing. In this classroom of life there are lessons hitting you everyday (possibly every five minutes!). Any thought or action that brings you into judgment, suffering or pain can be used. Then ask yourself (or buddy up with someone..I find it much more effective), why? Repeat at least 5 times. Like I said, seemingly simple!
Here is an example of a conversation I recently had where a client felt like she was putting in a lot of effort and extra time at work and felt as if she wasn’t getting appreciated for it.
Me: Why it is bugging you that your boss isn’t noticing what you are doing at work?
Client: Because I want to feel like I am contributing.
Me: Why is it important that you are contributing?
Client: I want to feel like I am exceeding her expectations.
Me: Why do you need to exceed her expectations?
Client: I want to feel like I belong at the table making important decisions. I want to be irreplaceable.
Me: Why is it so important to belong and be the superstar?
Client: I hate feeling like I’m the outsider, that I’m the one who has to fight their way into acceptance.
Me: Why is it bad to be the outsider?
Client: I’m tired of never belonging…feeling like everyone else has a natural place at the company and I have to struggle.
Now she’s getting somewhere. Instead of wanting her boss to appreciate and notice her at work it sounds like she wants to belong. Where else in her life has she felt this lack of value or belonging? Our feelings may be amplified in certain scenarios but generally the thematic feelings of wanting to belong spill into every aspect of our lives. Of course, we all want to belong…it’s a need so strong that our survival depends on it. However, when it gets out of balance it can cause a lot of pain and sometimes it is rooted in a story where we didn’t feel like we were wanted in the past.
So notice next time something brings you into painful thoughts…ask the powerful why questions a minimum of five times. I hope it helps you get down to where that pain knot sits and lights it on fire!
Wishing you much love and freedom,