“But why?” My father pursed his lips and gave a labored, hard breath through flared nostrils. “Because. Just do it. I don’t have time to go in to it.”
My father hates this question. “Why?” Something so innocent, so simple. This has been the dialogue since I was a young child and he dislikes when I ask this question. I think he sees it as me trying to pester or be defiant, but I’ve never been able to have him understand my side. I’m curious. I want to learn. I want to know why things are done. I want to know my surroundings, my tasks, my environment and the reasoning as to why things work the way they do. I want to be self-reliant. I want to teach myself so I can then know down the road. “Why?” has become the question that has allowed me to change myself for the better. The more I questioned, the more I understood and could feel whole in my choices and decisions. I will never let this question go.
Asking “why?” has allowed me to break through a lot of my bullshit. I may be upset with someone and not understand where it is coming from. I may have palpable tension with a loved one. I may be consistently on the verge of tears for no reason. I may feel lonely. I may push and prod at the same life pattern that I can’t seem to get out of even though I desperately want to shake it. I may be unhappy and not feel like myself. I may feel unfulfilled. I may really want to do something, but hold myself back. It’s easy to take each of these at face value. Easy to answer “just because” and move along. We are really good at giving poor excuses to ourselves and not allowing ourselves to really sit with the question. “I’m tired.” “I’m PMS-ing.” “It was a long day at work.” These are all reasons why we don’t allow ourselves to get to the bottom of something.
I have learned that when something doesn’t feel right or when there is an emotion or feeling that keeps bubbling up– I need to ask “why?”. Usually the petty isn’t the issue. There is something much greater that we don’t want to admit or say, because if we truly allow ourselves to ask “why?” we may get an answer we aren’t ready to hear.
If you’ve answered the question “why?” and it’s still there– go further. If you’ve answered the question and something doesn’t feel right or you are upset– then it isn’t the full answer. Each layer we question through, we finally get to the bottom and either release it or find our answer as to how to fix it. I have asked “why?” in many situations only to have the same issue pop up a few weeks later. I had taken my simple answer at face value and moved on. However, it just kept coming back. If something has to be ignored or if I have to convince myself of the reason– it’s not the final answer.
Knowledge allows us to have an anchor. However, we can only establish that anchor by questioning. A beautiful thing about homo sapiens is they question, investigate, willingly jump into a boat and sail into the Pacific to explore. Neanderthals would walk to the edge of a body of water and land and consider it truth; they would stop. Being human allows us to question and expand both our internal and external world, don’t stop and settle for something less than you deserve.