All of us have an internal dialogue that continues throughout our day. In it we ask ourselves questions. The following questions are some examples of strong and weak questions that we can ask ourselves in this self talk.
Nearing the end of the workday
Weak: Have I done enough that I can justify quitting for the day? Is this a good time to stop? Can I finish this tomorrow?
Strong: What’s next? How can I complete one more task? How much more can I get done today?
When spending time with the kids
Weak: Why do I have to do so much childcare? How can I keep the kids from draining my energy this evening? What’s the bare minimum I can do to keep them out of my hair? How early can I put them to bed?
Strong: What can I do with the kids that will leave me feeling energized? What do I appreciate most about my kids? What would I enjoy doing with them this evening? What would happen if I let my kids direct how we spend our time together?
When facing an unfamiliar social situation
Weak: How can I avoid looking like an idiot? What should I talk about? How can I keep from being too nervous or shy? How did I get myself into this situation? Can I get out of going?
Strong: Won’t it be fun to meet some interesting new people? If I see someone there who’s a bit shy, what can I do to make him/her feel more comfortable? What can I expect others at this event to have in common with me?
When feeling depressed, anxious, or otherwise negative
Weak: Why do I feel so down? Why can’t I be happy? How come I never get any time to myself?
Strong: What can I do to energize myself? Who can I talk to that would help cheer me up? What can I read or listen to that would inspire me? Are these feelings trying to tell me somethingÂ should I go journal about them? How long can I hold a fake smile before it forces me to start feeling good again?
What’s the difference?
Weak questions are disempowering. They keep your focused on your own ego, your problems, and your shortcomings. Weak questions keep you focused on what’s wrong on what isn’t working. That might seem like a good idea, but all it does is further reinforce the situation you’d like to change. Weak questions will lead your brain to come up with answers that are useless, circular, or even destructive.
So the way forward is to start asking ourselves the right questions. Ones that are empowering and encourage our success.
The difficulty for many people is that they will need to unlearn many familiar conversational patterns. Sometimes it is easier to remain in the familiar no matter how disempowering it may be. Being a victim exonerates that person from a certain level of responsibility and that can feel safe.
Empowered people are willing to take on the greatest challenge they will ever face. Themselves.