I’m suggesting, as I do in my book: WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? MAYBE NOT THAT MUCH! …. that the question ITSELF is the problem! And it’s highly likely that the wrong question…a bad question… leads to the wrong answers. A negatively formed question opens the door of thinking to awfulizing, catastrophizing….to telling yourself negative things…that compound negative feelings, and dig a deeper and deeper hole of anxiety and depression.
Someone once suggested, “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Another recommended, “If you are lost, stand still.” Simply put, reassess and then see what the best new thought or direction might be.
I think questioning ourselves is excellent, in fact, necessary. And good questions do lead us to self-exploration, discovery, planning for purposeful new directions. Most individuals enter psychotherapy or attend workshops and seminars because they have questions about what’s next? So if you don’t have a future workshop/seminar on your calendar or aren’t quite ready to explore therapy, your personal exploration can start with allowing time for your own reflection and focus and writing.
I suggest you determine a regular time of day for a few days — maybe even longer if you discover it truly helps — and write answers to questions in a journal. If you want to add extra fuel to the process, meditate for 20 minutes, then journal. If the meditation technique makes you frown, you can also write following exercising. The idea is to clear your mind before you write. But write, even if these two suggestions of meditation and exercise are a definitive no for you!
Provocative questions do help open your mind to thoughts that have “been forming/developing right below the surface of your awareness. Sometimes answers to questions pop up in a way that suggests “I have always known that!”
Here are a few to get you started:
-What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
-What would you do if you were not afraid?
-What strong beliefs/philosophy/spiritual concepts form a basis for what you believe about yourself? Your life? And your life direction?
-Who are the people in your life — from childhood to the present — you identify as having some formative role in your life — positive or negative or both?
-Are there people in your life you need to thank?
-If you could carve out the time to learn a new skill or acquire a new body of knowledge, what would it be?
-Where are you headed in life? Who is on the path with you? Who do you want on the path with you?
And one more thought: can you catch the negative/distorted questions that pop up in your mind and work on stopping the process? When you hear the thoughts that are self defeating, write them down and correct them. It truly helps. And if you need assistance with that part of the process, try my book WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? MAYBE NOT THAT MUCH.
And if you think you need help to feel better, always pick a safe person and ask for what you need. And contact me any time.