Ask The Helpful Question

Question Spiritual Growth Wellness Holistic Inner Peace
By Steve Seinberg

As I geared up for a big cross-country move and then executed it earlier this year, my time spent actually seeing clients took some significant hits. Packing, trekking across a continent, and then unpacking and settling in on the other side of it are not small processes, either, so this was not unexpected…

I’ve now pretty much navigated most of the way through that settling in phase, though, and I’ve been seeing clients again. And in that seeing of clients, I find myself bumping up against this recurring scenario that I wanted to write about here, as it should be helpful for people to consider – and this applies to when you might be seeking counseling of whatever sort, sure, but also just to life in general.

The scenario is this: people (myself absolutely included…) often want quick, plain, clear, sound-bite answers to huge, complex, profound questions that have frustrated and dazzled them for years.

And for the most part, while it’s fine to want that sort of thunderbolt of enlightenment and transformation, these thunderbolts are about as common as free-range leprechauns –  good luck finding ’em.

It’s far better, in my opinion, and way more realistic, to ask questions that take aim at the source of dissatisfaction, but that still allow you, the seeker, to take personal responsibility for the situation in question, and to agree to do the hard work needed to change it.

You want an example, don’t you…? Okay, try this one:

Unhelpful Q: “When will I meet the mate of my dreams?”
Unhappy A: “I’m not a psychic, I never claimed to be a psychic, and I can’t tell you that.”
[everyone goes away disgruntled…]

But check out this alternative exchange that gets at the same issue:

Helpful Q: “What do I truly want/need out of romance, and out of a mate, and what can I do to get myself ready to have those things when they do come along?”
Happy A: “I’m thrilled that you asked! Your birth chart/this Tarot card suggests that we need to start by focusing on themes of…”
[beneficial discussion ensues…]

See the difference?

The first (not so helpful) question doesn’t acknowledge any part the questioner may have had in arriving at an unhappy love life, and it shows no willingness to actually do anything in order to upgrade the status quo to something more desirable. It all but demands that the person on the receiving end of the question trundle this Idealized Mate up to the questioner’s doorstep and drop them off like a bag of groceries.

The second (much more helpful) question suggests the understanding that the questioner’s possible lack of clarity around their own romantic needs up to this point may have been a contributing factor to their present set of circumstances, and it also implies that the questioner has their metaphorical sleeves rolled up in readiness to apply some energy toward making real change.

Coming into a reading (or life) with the first question and approach will likely lead to dissatisfaction all around, but adopting the second attitude opens the door for insight, progress, and growth.

Sometimes it’s not even finding the right answer, but asking the right question, that stands as the real victory.

Ask the helpful question!

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