Ask Questions That Are Empowering by Jeanie Marshall
solved by the level of thinking that created them.” -Albert Einstein
You ask questions all day long. Are you conscious of their power? As you become aware of your natural questions, you may find that they’re helpful or unhelpful; empowering or disempowering; clear or confusing. Some may lead you to the responses or answers that you truly desire, some may evade the true issues.
Questions guide you in all that you do. Some questions you ask yourself; some you ask others. You walk into a room and think or ask, “What’s going on here?” You hear the telephone ring and wonder, “Who’s that?” You see a friend and ask, usually quite automatically, “How are you?”
Not every question has a question mark at the end. For example, “I wonder if I’ll have trouble falling to sleep tonight.” Or, “Let’s see if there are any fresh vegetables that look good at the supermarket today.” These are examples of rather neutral questions, that is, those that aren’t empowering or disempowering. They simply guide you in your observations.
Questions You Ask Naturally
You may want to take a few moments to consider how you ask questions that lead you through a day. What do you ask when you awaken in the morning? ……when you see a friend? …….when you get into your car? …….when you hear the door bell? …….when you pick up your mail? ……..when you fall asleep at night?
Questions and other internal messages guide your observations. Questions transform your future. Some of these messages may be easy to hear because they’re audible and part of your conscious awareness. Others may be conscious but still inaudible. Still others may be inaudible and unconscious.
Your questions and inner messages accumulate at various levels of your consciousness. Some are deeply embedded and insidious. Many are disempowering. Some may have been empowering at a particular stage of your development, but now are disempowering or have no impact. As you ask questions about your questions, you become more aware of their impact and enhance your personal development and growth.
Your internal messages have many possible sources. They can originate in childhood, first heard said by an adult. They can be embedded from a perception of an early experience, even a rather non-dramatic experience. Internal messages are beliefs you hold about yourself and the outer world, regardless of the original influence. It’s important not to slow yourself down by being overly preoccupied with the formation of your guidance, only to recognize that there are many influences.
Since some internal messages are inaudible or unconscious, they can be tricky to uncover. It’s important to bring to the surface the ones that operate your life so that you can decide what to do with them. If the internal messages are empowering, energize them. If they’re disempowering, neutralize them and/or replace them.
What is the Question? Is it an Empowering Question?
Individuals in pain or confusion often ask, “What have I done wrong?” Many years ago, I stepped into a trap by answering this disempowering question when a client asked me. Now I know that all that’s wrong is the question!
The question “What have I done wrong?” returns disempowering responses. Even answering “Nothing” is unsatisfactory. If you’re tempted to ask questions like this, stop and ask another. If someone asks you this question, you can help the person more by suggesting he or she ask an empowering question rather than answering this disempowering one.
Alternative questions lead to more useful insights. The question “What is the question?” is often the perfect question! Alternatives are, “What is the most empowering question I can ask right now?” Or, “What question can I ask to move us (me, you) to or toward where we (I, you) desire to be?”
Ask Questions that are Empowering in or for a Mess
Here are empowering questions you can ask when you find yourself in a mess. Or vary the questions to assist others in asking for more meaningful information:
How have I benefited from this so far?
Who else has benefited from this?
What conditions allowed this situation?And then:
What do I want to bring into my life?
What can I do now to change this?
Such questions as these are far more uplifting and encouraging than “Who did what?” Or, “How did I get into this mess?” Or, “Why did this happen?” Of course, there may be times you must ask questions and answer questions such as these, but they tend to blame rather than empower. It’s helpful to distinguish between empowering and disempowering questions. Either can assist your personal development, but — trust me — the empowering ones are more fun.
Everyday Empowering Questions to Ask
Here are some of my favorite empowering questions that exemplify the power of questions. Many of these can aid in transforming disempowering situations. You may want to select the ones that resonate for you and write them on a card for your wallet or mirror or car or top desk drawer.
What do I want?
How do I feel?
How can I share my gifts now?
What can I learn here?
How can I realize more meaning in my life?
What is worthy of my attention?
Where is your (or the) attention?
How is your (or the) energy?
What are your (or the) unknowns?
Who can I connect with here?
What can I contribute to this situation?
What can I give today?
…and what else?
What’s funny about this?
What am I grateful for?
What brings me joy in that experience?
How did I make a difference today?
How can I leave this place more beautiful than I found it?
Can I laugh now?
What is my Truth about this issue?
What is the question?
How can I/we be empowered?
Am I ready to receive the gifts of the Universe?
How does God see this?
Who am I?
Your Favorite Empowering Question
What is your favorite empowering question? Perhaps you have several favorite questions. Or favorites for certain situations. Allow yourself to be more aware of the questions you’re asking, and make them as empowering as possible.
Since first writing this article, I’ve received many comments from readers telling me that they ask questions from this list which have helped them instantly; one man told me that one question on this list totally transformed a long-term rift between his father and himself; several have told me that they’ve printed the questions for their bulletin boards or to carry the questions with them always. It can be life-changing to ask questions that are empowering.
Copyright © 1991, 2008 Marshall House, http://www.mhmail.com Jeanie Marshall, Empowerment Consultant and Coach with Marshall House writes extensively on subjects related to personal development, growth, and empowerment at Empowering Personal Development
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