Why not ask “why”?
If you are looking for an intellectual understanding of how something works and came to be, why is the question that gets you there.
If you are looking for a present moment connection with someone’s internal world, why usually detracts from that connection.
When you ask why, the listener may perceive that you are beginning an analysis of him in which you will point out his faults. This may result in a defensive story or explanation without any reference to feelings and needs. Analysis has its utility, creating heart connection is not one of them (see previous gem http://wiseheartpdx.org/blog/?p=154).
Of course the key here is truly feeling curious about someone’s internal world. If you are angry, thinking this person should be doing something different, take the time for self-empathy first. Notice your anger and the thoughts that feed them and then ask yourself what’s important to you underneath those thoughts (what needs are up). Connecting with and honoring your own needs makes space for curiosity about other’s needs.
When you truly feel curious and would like connection to someone around a decision, behavior, or comment, experiment with different ways of asking. Here are a few I have used: -What’s going on for you around that? -What’s important to you in this? -What’s up for you that has you saying no? -What feelings and needs are alive for you with that? -Are there some needs of yours that you think won’t be met if you do this?
This week notice when you ask why. Discern whether you are looking for connection or information. If you are looking for connection, experiment with different ways of asking about someone’s world.
***click here for a list of feelings and universal needs http://www.wiseheartpdx.org/resources.php