There’s No Reason
How many times do you click on a video link and find your own name being sung into a beautifully made song?
It happened to me once. It was a surprise and honour to find my name in a catchy, fun, and upbeat song, produced by bthemothion. The singer-songwriter Ian knew how to sum me up with that line.
As I normally advocate: no explanation, no justification. A question needs an answer, not an explanation or justification, which always weakens us. Unless, of course, we are asked to do so. Then it becomes another question or request, but voluntary justification or explanation often indicates our own inner inadequacy, and more often than not, dilutes others.
Every time, when you use the word “because” voluntarily, you take people to another trajectory. If I ask you, “Do you choose red or blue?” You simply need to say, “Blue” or “Red” as an answer; but if you say, “Blue because …” you are taking me out of my own thought process and into something that may not be relevant for me. Now we are off another tangent.
Yes-no questions, practice giving yes-no answers.
Yesterday I was working with a 50-year-old gentleman. We had started our work over a week ago when he was sharing something important about his health with me. Before I had a chance to help him address it, I noticed he was talking about something else – as if he needed to set the stage for me to get what he was saying (while I already got it). It happened for a few cycles like that. I asked him to stop the discussion (as therapy is not a discussion). He started to look frustrated, and rhetorically asked, “Why is it so hard for people to understand me? I must be really bad at articulating.”
I told him that I asked him to stop the explanation not because I couldn’t understand him – “At least I understand that you are frustrated now,” I said, “Therefore it’s not hard for me to understand you.” It was that too much an explanation would dilute the importance of the subject itself.
When we feel we need to take responsibility for other people’s emotions and feelings, we tend to overly explain. This gentleman has some health challenges and related fears. His wife is anxious about his mood on his own health. So now this gentleman not only has to deal with his ongoing health monitoring, his own fear of getting worse, but also his wife’s anxiety. “At least,” I told him, “as you are working through this challenging time, you can release the need for your wife to be okay on the subject of your health and your worries. If she’s anxious about that, she needs to seek help. It’s not your responsibility to manage that for her.”
This gentleman had taken on the homework I gave him: For a week, focus on his own internal health and emotional process, while only giving an answer when his wife had a question. He came back yesterday saying it felt so liberating to not carry on the extra weight of always having to explain what he couldn’t articulate at the moment.
Cause and effect… Only if we don’t link things up in our minds on the surface level. Then as Ian would sing, “Deep down we know.”
To do what you love to do, you don’t need a reason.