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Stop Asking Why – A Functional Rustic Approach

Stop Asking Why.png

Stop asking why. Seriously. Drop the word from your vocabulary entirely. You don’t need it. The world doesn’t need it. Stop asking why.

“Why are you wearing that outfit?”

“Why are you doing it that way?”

“Why do I feel like this?”

Because. That’s the answer to every “why”. It is always the same answer. What is the reason to ask the question if you already know that the answer is “because….(insert justification here)”.

No one likes feeling judged
No one likes feeling judged. Back off and let people live. We’re all on some type of journey, all evolving and growing.

“Why are you wearing that outfit?”

I don’t know about you, but if someone  asked me “why are you wearing that outfit?” I am going to feel obligated to justify why my outfit is ok. The person asking the question isn’t stating my outfit is wrong, but their use of the word “why” forces me to use the word “because” and the word “because” is most often followed by some sort of justification.

“…because I wanted to.” “But why?” “…because I like it.” “But why?” “because fuck you and your judgmental questions. That’s why. I do not need to justify my clothing choices to you. Mind your own business!”

Unless your goal is make someone justify their outfit, don’t ask why. But what if you actually want to know the reason they wore that outfit? Ask them.

Everything we judge in others
Everything we judge in others is something within ourselves we don’t want to face.

“What is the reason you wore that outfit?” A “what” question does not imply judgment. “What” questions are answered with neutral, factual responses.

“The reason I wore this outfit is the law says that certain parts of the female body are inherently bad and therefore are a crime to expose in public. I am wearing the outfit because it is a crime for me not to. I am wearing this specific outfit because it was on the top of the pile, clean enough and appropriate for the weather and activities I have planned for the day.” At least that is what I would say if someone asked me that question right now. You now know the criteria I used to decide my outfit. Your “why” questions was answered without me feeling like I had to justify myself – I simply described my actions instead.

“Why are you doing it that way?”

Again, I’m feeling judged when asked that question. I am being asked to justify my actions. Let’s get a little more specific with this example, “why are you blogging on WordPress?” Again, there is nothing inherently wrong or mean or ill intentioned with the question. However, the use of the word “why” forces me to justify my blogging platform.

“What are the reasons you are blogging on WordPress?” Now this is a question I can answer without being forced to question my actions. This “what” question is asking for a list of items. “The reasons I blog on WordPress are 1. it was free to sign up 2. easy to use 3. lots of features 4. I get to meet interesting people.”

You have the answer to your question and I was able to provide that information without having to justify myself or question my actions.

“Why do I feel like this?”

“Why do I feel like this?” Asking ourselves why can be worse than someone else asking us why. Asking myself “why” I feel a certain way forces me to justify my feelings – to me. Feelings do not require justification. Feelings simply exist. They are not good nor bad. Feelings just are.

There are reasons I feel like this. The reasons are neither good or bad – they just are.

“What are the reasons you feel sad today?”

The reasons I feel sad today are that I heard the song Taps in a commercial and was reminded of my brothers suicide; I read a news article about a child being missing; I found out a friend had her heart broken.

When you judge youself for feeling bad
When you judge yourself for feeling bad you miss the opportunity to understand yourself.

Asking “why” I feel sad implies that I should not feel sad. It implies that there is a more appropriate way to feel. It implies that I should feel something different. It implies that my feelings are wrong.

“Why” questions cannot be answered, only justified. “What” questions provide answers that can be the foundation for change.

Identifying that a reason I am feeling sad is that I miss my brother enables me to know that I need to take time today to cry or simply reminisce. If I was focused on judging my sadness I would likely not set aside time to address the trigger.

Identifying that a reason I am feeling sad is that a child is missing reminds me that I have family I care about and do not want to be separated from. My sadness is not due to a deficiency on my part or some faulty way of thinking, but rather because I am filled with love for those I hold dear and don’t want to imagine being apart. Identifying the reason enables me to take the time I need to be grateful for what I have.

Identifying that a reason I feel sad is that my friend had her heartbroken reminds me to appreciate the supportive relationships I have and/or to assess the quality of my own relationships.

Words. So powerful. They can crush a heart
Words. So powerful. They can crush a heart, or heal it. They can shame a soul, or liberate it. They can shatter dreams, or energize them. The can obstruct connection, or invite it. They can create defenses, or melt them. We have to use words wisely.


This is not about pretending things don’t hurt or trying to see a positive in every situation. It is about viewing things in a way that leads to progress instead of stagnation. “Why” questions lead to a circle of judgement and justification – stagnation. “What” questions provide concrete foundations on which progress can be built and solutions can be found.

Lesson of the Day: Stop asking why.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

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