As a recovering pleaser, I’ve spent a LOT of time figuring out what really matters to me. And, also what doesn’t.
There was a time I twisted myself into an emotional pretzel just to get approval, love, some imaginary measure of success. Yeah, I feel to all that a huge amount of gratitude.
All that twisting and turning and gnashing of teeth helped me to get real. From those experiences, I learned to give absolutely ZERO fucks about the things that don’t really matter. And, you know, what does or doesn’t matter is different for me than it might be for you.
Once I stopped trying to please others, it took me a hot minute to figure out what makes me feel good and a sense of purpose and, well, happy.
In determining my way forward, I learned a LOT about the power of asking myself and others a few questions.
The positive energy by asking open-ended questions helps us get unstuck. Whatever we're facing, if we generate question energy, it helps us consider the possibilities. Questions raise our vibe. They expand our opportunities and future. We think of options we never did before.
It helps if we ask “what” and “why” questions. The “how” figures itself out. Promise. As the possibilities begin to emerge, we expand our minds and our considerations. We might be shown, like a light from actual heaven, that wonderful, unexpected thing that aligns our priorities, might (probably) be revealed. Ah, blissful serendipity.
There is a parable of the delivery truck. A group of grown men: engineers, construction executives, and highway workers, all gathered around the opening of a tunnel on the highway. The problem was obvious: The delivery truck was too big, just by a little bit, for the tunnel. They considered blasting the tunnel to raise its ceiling height, they considered how much dynamite they would need to blow the entire mountainside away.
All the options focused on what to do with the tunnel.
Then a little girl rode by on her bike. She saw what they were up to and walked over then tugged on the jacket of the Chief Thinker.
She asked, “What if you just let some air out of the tires?”
She didn’t ask how they were going to let air out nor how long it would take. She just wanted to consider what if?
One of the highway workers stooped down and spun the cap off the tire value and bent it a little to let out some air. Soon, all four tires, and the truck, were lower. Someone drove it through the tunnel to the other side, then put some air back in the tires and it went on its way.
As a recovering pleaser I really had to start at the beginning in order to figure out what mattered, most, to me. For so long, I’d done everything I SHOULD do, that I OUGHT to do that I’d NEVER considered what I really WANTED to be or do. So, starting at the beginning I had to just ask myself some pretty basic questions.
What feels good?
When do I enjoy myself so much that I lose track of time?
What makes me laugh?
What makes me happy?
Here’s a few more: What have I yet to consider to…feel good, that might be fun? That I say “YES” to with my whole heart and soul?
These questions led me back to singing, again, after abandoning it when I went to college to pursue a practical career. I was so stuck, back then, I couldn’t even ask myself, why not do both? I didn’t consider the possibilities before me for a practical career and to sing for fun.
Now, I wonder how in the actual fuck I didn’t sing for all those years. Right now, I don’t see myself as the next Susan Boyle, who was “discovered” mid-life on Britain’s Got Talent. Right now, I just enjoy it and it makes me happy. And, you can bet I’m doing more of that!
We will generate quite a head of steam from all that Question Energy. Like me, you may rediscover hobbies and things that you used to LOVE and that made you HAPPY. As a result, there will probably be a LOT more questions, like:
What have I yet to consider?
What possibilities are before me?
What magic can I create today?
What is my next step?
What else is possible?
I have three words that have followed me around for about a decade. They are: Fun. Easy. Profitable. Anyone who knows me knows I’m no slacker. Yet, I’ve done so much that I SHOULD do, so much that I OUGHT to do, rarely had I considered what’s enjoyable, what comes effortless, and what generates a wealth of love, joy, money, and happiness for my investment of time and focus. Good words, right?
Yep. So, now, if I say YES with my whole heart, if it makes me feel good and I’m happy and lose track of time, I’m IN for a lot more. Lately I’ve asked myself a whole slew more questions:
What would be the ONE thing that aligns all my priorities, raises my vibration, and fills me with a sense of purpose?
What would I do? What would it be like, from the time I wake up and all throughout the day?
When someone – typically a friend, lover, or family – issues an ultimatum, it’s never good.
“Help me understand,” is both the answer and the question I’ll ask in return, most of the time. Every once in a while they will come on so strong that I still, to this day, just freeze up. Takes a bit for me to get my proverbial breath back. Seriously, ultimatums are typically arbitrary and meant to shift power. The other person wants to redefine or eliminate boundaries by letting you know that it’s either what they want or they will withhold whatever thing matters most to you with them.
If they know your love language, and loved ones always do, they will take away the one thing or do the one thing that crushes you. For example, my love language is the language of actions – either in time spent together, sharing a kind sentiment, doing something thoughtful…actions. If someone wants to really hurt me, they will remove themselves altogether from my life. Conversely, when I’m REALLY mad or sad, my radio goes silent. I am so jumbled up, I don’t know what to say…or do…to get unstuck. Takes a bit.
I have to remind myself…
Breathe. Ask a question or two. I know I’m being given an ultimatum if none of the options I offer are acceptable – that they want me to do what they want me to do when they want me to do it. K. Good to know.
As fully functioning adults, we get to decide what clothes to wear, how to celebrate the holidays, what type of food to eat, and what to do with our spare time. Within reason, if the person I love – whether friend, lover, or family – issues an ultimatum on some arbitrary, inflexible thing and will not consider any reasonable alternative….it’s a dun-a-matum!
No more questions should be asked. Remember, give ZERO fucks and move on.
Defining and maintaining our boundaries usually has short term pain and long term gain. Yep. Shedding unhealthy people, situations, and activities might hurt in the moment, but over time, it’s a specific gift allowing you to focus on what matters, most.
There are even more questions as you go through this transformation and metamorphosis. When those inevitable good and wonderful things happen (or when they are not yet happening) my dad taught me to ask another question.
He was an early-adopter on the power of manifestation before the Law of Attraction was a thing. When I was little, and something great happened, he would ask, “Hey, Jax, how does it get any better?”
Over time, I challenged him and asked, “If I got it any better, would I want it any better? And, what would that be like?”
Actual Fact: The universe LOVES to defy itself. If you pose this question, get ready. Something wonderful is coming. Promise.
I’ve recently even added a full on gauntlet thrown down, flat-out challenge:
Yep, T3. T to the third power. Results have yet to be shown, so I give a full disclaimer that you may want to buckle up, buttercup.
My fond wish is to generate a nuclear power-plant worth of positive possibilities with all these questions. We’ve got this. Take it one step-at-a-time. And, never underestimate the power of a question.