Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Power of "What"

Sometimes the question "why?" is a good one. Like, why can't we live in a more peaceful world? Or why did I eat *all* those cookies? And why don't we call mustaches mouthbrows?

But there are times - especially during a crisis - when "why" may not the best puzzle to solve. When you're in an emotional entanglement, a difficult predicament or a physical hardship, asking "what" will do more.

What has directionality.
Why keeps you stuck in circular thinking.
What offers solutions.
Why offers no game plan.

So, the next time you find yourself in a bad place, ask yourself:

"What can I do to make things better?


"Why is this happening to me?

Once the crisis is over THEN you can search for the "Why".


S'onnie said...

this is very timely right now :)

kenju said...

Very good advice!!

I am always asking What? but it is usually because I can't

Wanda's Wings said...

Very good advise. You can spend a life time asking why and be in no better place at the end of the day. Thanks for sharing.

Becky Bohan Brown said...

Dr. Deb this is very powerful. I’m going to print your saying off and post it next to my computer at work. Thank you!

Xmichra said...

Agree'd 100%.

Purple Pineapple said...

LOL @ mouthbrows-so true!

great advise, thank you :)

~Just me again~ said...

So true!

Dr. Deb said...

I love postponing asking "why" for a while. Glad this post had meaning to you, blog friends.

Anonymous said...

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

And therein the 'what' lies in the final sentiment.

truenorth said...

As usual, I stop by and your words help me get where I need to go. Thank you Deb.

Dr Vin Depression and Anxiety Blog said...

Dr Deb,

Well said.

I have actually found the above useful in my clinical practice today. In essence, the "why" is addressed by the Cognitive Therapy and the "What or How" is addressed by the Behavioural Therapy.

You are right that when people are in acute crisis, it might be best just to address the "what and how" first rather than the "why". For example, see a friend, go for a walk, declutter one of your rooms etc. The "why" is very important but may have to come later.

Dr Vin MBBS FRACGP Qld Australia

Jenna said...

This is a very powerful post. Would it be ok if I post this (with a link to this original source that is, of course) on a message board for sexual abuse survivors?

Dr. Deb said...

Of course, Jenna. Please use whatever is meaningful.

Dr. Deb said...

Dr. Vin,
Please send me your contact info.

Dr. Deb

Jenna said...

Thank you. I will put it on the boards soon. The forum is public yet protected to provide some safety and privacy for abuse survivors. With many of us going through a crisis, I think it is important to indeed focus on the 'what' rather than the why. Your post was eye opening. Happy to provide website info per e-mail if wanted.

SeaSpray said...

I like that.

I am a deep thinker ...pondering the deeper meaning of things, but I can appreciate that when you have challenges to overcome ..."what" is the more important word/perspective. I can see where it brings about action if follow through. Perhaps empowers, because it feels better to DO something or feel like you are.

2 little words ...yet such a powerful difference when applied this way.

Thank you. :)

Beth said...

I definitely agree with this. I will have to remember it in my own sessions.