Know Your Why
About 4 minutes to read
Have you ever found yourself in a situation when in the middle of something you suddenly ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Perhaps there is a moment when you feel a schism, be it doubt, insecurity or even clarity, where you suddenly feel the need to know your why.
I recently experienced one such moment while performing the ridiculously mundane task of erecting and decorating the Christmas tree. You see I knew that deep within myself my actions were not in harmony with my beliefs and I asked my partner and myself, “Sweetie, why are we doing this?”
Neither of us actually believes in Christmas nor considers ourselves practicing Christians. I find it hideous that from September each year I am primed for over spending and over eating by advertising agencies and their clients. I do not believe that we need a special season to be jolly, generous, and considerate of family and others; I believe that I should be living this way daily.
Yet there I was happily tinkering with a plastic Christmas tree (sacrilegious I know!) and feeling oddly excited about decorating it.
What I realised was that my actions were not attuned with my core beliefs and this made me feel some discomfort and slightly hypocritical. I took a moment to fully examine the question and discover my why.
Now you might be thinking this is ridiculous, why make such a big deal over erecting a Christmas tree and turning it into a philosophical quest for answers, but I believe that when you know your why even regarding the mundane, a few key things fall into place.
Take a moment to think about this. Do you know your why around the relationship you are in, the career you pursue, the organisation you work for. If you are self-employed, do you know your why around your business, what about the clients you serve? On a personal level, do you know your why around the way you speak, behave, and think?
To know your why is not to become stuck on a problem, but rather to explore a greater means for experiencing personal clarity.
In the example I shared, I saw that what I think and feel about Christmas is not necessarily synchronous with popular culture, and I clearly identified what emotions I elicited through my behaviour. I felt compelled to become clear, gain clarity on what I felt and believed. I found myself noting that I felt hypocritical and judgemental of myself. I understood quite clearly what Christmas does and does not mean to me. I found myself looking for what felt good in the situation. I was looking for the bliss, that connection that gave me happiness.
Aligning With Acceptance
As I began to know my why I was aligning with acceptance. I had to ask myself if I was feeling greater degrees of happiness by decorating a Christmas tree or was I in an absolute state of discord with myself. I accepted that Christmas has no traditional meaning for me but that I simply like nice decorations and the tree in the house. I enjoy the cosy ambience created when the lights shine and the candles are lit. I experience a certain sense of peace as I stare at the lights, almost like gazing upon a campfire. Then I questioned if I could I accept behaving as others do while not sharing a common feeling and I realised, yes I can. It was important to know what made me happy within the situation and to discern if this happiness outweighed any other emotion I might have felt.
Taking Ownership and Assuming Responsibility
Through aligning with acceptance, I assumed ownership of my actions and took responsibility for myself. We often place ourselves in the role of victim in situations. We feel that our why is about obligation or necessity and we feel helpless as if we have no choice. When we do not take full responsibility for ourselves and our actions we are never in a position to fully live in a self-determined space. We do not fully own our power in our life.
When you know your why, have clarity, experience acceptance, take responsibility you can then
Create Options for Yourself
Often we are scared to examine the why because at the end of that crooked question lies the possibility of change and upheaval. It can feel safer to maintain the status quo than to take steps into the unknown, but the reward to knowing your why is the options you can create and the new possibilities that will unfold. If you realised that at the end of your why, there is a great love or enjoyment of what you are doing or who you are becoming, you would not hesitate to immerse yourself in knowing and living your why. If you know your why ends in dissatisfaction and possible misery then you are able to create options that will move you away from what you don’t want and towards what you desire. The choice is always yours.
Seek Your Joy
Make the goal to discovering your why joy. More joy, more bliss, more happiness in your life. If we are not seeking joy in our lives, what is the point of it all? In our formative years, we seem to learn that life should be hard, that we should suffer in order to be happy, that happiness comes at a great cost. However if you look at people who are joyful and happy it is because that is their goal. They seek joy in all they do this is their ultimate why.
So if you find yourself in a situation asking, “Why am I doing this?” don’t be afraid to seek the answer. If your intention is to live a joyous life, make all your whys about that. Will this relationship, business, customer, job, career bring me joy?
Remember the future you choose to create literally lays within knowing your why.