What Are Your Reasons?
What we do is important for sure, but only momentarily. “What” can fade in seconds. Sometimes it fades after years and years. “What” exists in a finite amount of time—has a start and a finish.
Why we do what we do, however, matters much more deeply. “Why” has the possibility of lasting a lifetime and spilling over into others. “Why” exists infinitely—has no beginning or end, because it is not a thing but a way.
What we do, though, often gets the limelight because it can be seen. Why we do what we do is not always seen. Sometimes it is never seen. So it’s easy to get caught up in “what” and lose sight of the “why.”
It’s so important, though, to think about why we do what we do, because our reasons for doing things reveal much more about who we are than merely what we do.
Sometimes just asking “why” doesn’t really help, though, because "why" alone is too vague and open. As a lover of lists, I prefer a different form of the question that directs me towards a more clear and concise way to list out my answer(s).
In addition, although I am very emotional and tend to rely on my feelings more than logic, when those things get too cloudy and mixed up, logic is a good fall back. A re-wording of the question “why” into a more logical and thought-provoking structure helped unravel so many feelings for me and also got me on track to make some real changes.
Carve out a time in your day to try this out, but instead of asking yourself “why” you do things, try asking yourself “what are my reasons for ____?”
What are my reasons for:
- getting angry when the grocery lines are too long?
- pressing snooze 10 times every morning?
- overeating/choosing something I know isn’t good for me?
- declining that offer to hang out?
- not singing my favorite song out loud in my car?
- being crabby at work?
It works with small things and big things, good things and bad things.
I found that when I was forced to provide reasons for things I was doing, I was immediately able to call myself out. Looking straight in the eye at my list of reasons why I procrastinate (because I’m not certain what the result will be, because I’m nervous/anxious about disappointing myself, because I’m lazy) was a real honest wake-up call for myself, and I’d be willing to bet if you sat down and looked at your reasons why, you’d wake up a little, too.
So what are they? What are your reasons? Why are you doing what you are doing? If we can figure out our "why," our "what" can manifest itself not only more easily, but more authentically, and I, for one, have no greater plans than to be authentically me through all of my "whats."