The “Whys” To Our Problems Might Block Us From Answers

I want to know whys! As humans, we are very curious beings. We want answers! And we often want them now. Wondering why we have a problem can be awesomely helpful.

Knowing how a problem was recruited into our life can help us see how to get rid of it, or it can assist us in being gentle with ourselves.

Or it might be incredibly distracting. Instead of thinking ahead to what actions or thoughts can change we can get stuck in judgment, lamenting, and maybe even self pity: Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? Why am I being punished?

A Culture Stuck in Whys

whys jodi aman on facebook liveOne time a friend who was in therapy (with someone else) told me she was ready to be done with therapy. She told her therapist who told her if they met every week for the next three months they might be done. I thought this was ludicrous. Of course I wanted to know why?

Her therapist said if they worked very hard they would find out why she wanted attempted suicide when she was 15. I was stunned. We knew why she attempted suicide, it is not brain surgery. It was because, she was being verbally abused and wanted to escape. There is nothing mysterious about where her depression came from. I had a different why: I wanted to know why she hadn’t kept trying to kill herself. Why had she survived and never attempted again in the last 20 years.

I asked her this and she said that she met someone with an interesting life philosophy. She started to think about life and how it worked. She started caring for the earth and all of its creatures and most importantly she started wanting to make a difference in the world. Also, she had a purpose, and she decided to live to carry it out. She ended therapy the next session. She said she felt freer than she had felt in 20 years the burden of that action no longer distracting her.

Whys, not wise

The whys inquiry into our problems comes from an old psychology metaphor. (Psychology metaphors in the last century have come from the economic info structure of the times.) The “why”  comes from the metaphor of our body being a machine. The theory being, if something is “broken down,” one goes back (in development) to find out where and why things went wrong. Then, you fix it, and development resumes “normally” from there.

This would be great if it was just a metaphor. But when it becomes a truth, people need to figure it out where and why they broke down. But these things can be esoteric. Take anxiety for example.  (I am including many things in this, eating disorders, irritability, anger, OCD, OCPD, panic). Everyone wonders: Why do I have anxiety?  It feels so big and huge. Of course, difficult times trigger these episodes. If the connection to this event is made, it makes it feel more normal to someone, they may judge themselves less and get through it. This is very helpful.

Why trigger

It is not cut and dry. Even something little can be a trigger, a flu, a scary movie, bad news, make us feel vulnerable in a moment. And then, this can feed anxiety. It can snowball, in the end being quite big and huge for such a small trigger, making us wonder if that was it. Not believing, we worry that something is wrong that we don’t see. Judgment and fear grow our problems in an instant, make them much bigger than they need to be (See Globs of Self Judgment, and Worry Globs, Too). If we keep looking for our inherent flaw, we increase the fear and doubt. Instead, know this is what we have to let go of.

This post was inspired by a conversation in the comment section of Tina Fariss Barbour’s blog post on Bringing Along OCD called OCD and Touching. My video on OCD.

What whys do you like to ask?  Finish this sentence:  Why……..?

Please share!

32 thoughts on “The “Whys” To Our Problems Might Block Us From Answers”

  1. I think I can sometimes go to the extreme of not asking why and just accepting that that’s how things are. But now I’m thinking that’s not necessarily a good thing. Asking why does have a place and can even help me solve some problems. Thanks, Jodi!
    Kelly Hashway recently posted..Monday MishmashMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Judgment, Stanley,

      You think you are wrong for being the way you are, it gets in the way. You are perfect exactly as you are! Remember!

  2. I don’t ask why like I used to. Sometimes though, there is a sense of guilt so I think it’s Karma. Sometimes, anyway. When I don’t ask why and just move on, there’s less anxiety.

  3. Jodi, Thank you for writing this! I ask “why” less than I used to because I realized that sometimes the answer doesn’t help as much as I thought it would–I still have to deal with the “what.”

    I love your comment about how a small trigger can start a big anxiety and then we think it’s something large and hidden that started the anxiety. So true! It just seems that a lot of anxiety must have been started by a lot of something!
    Tina Barbour recently posted..Read, reread, again and again: Reading OCDMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      It can start as just nothing. Most of our problems are the guilt and fear. The rest is handleable.

  4. Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer

    Yes indeed!

    We do tend to question things and often remain troubled or worried about the answers. But if we are peaceful with ourselves, we find the solutions to our questions or reasons that disturb us too.

    It’s just as I keep saying so often – always in our mind. If we wish we can find the answers to what troubles us ourselves, though we really don’t do that and seek outside help.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. Jodi Lobozzo Aman


    In can be hard to look within with judgment and fear blocking our view! Asking can relieve worry or entice it. We have to decide which! Maybe it is is knowing what questions to ask?
    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hey, Jodi, thanks for addressing this! You’ve put the “why” in its proper place, I think, and that’s useful information for a lot of people. I wanted to get your perspective because I’ve been fascinated by my observations of “why” in my life and the life of one of my loved ones. I noticed that for me, the why questions often kept me stuck. I like the way you’ve noted appropriate and reasonable uses of “why” as well as its limitations.

    I’ve had more incidents of depression since entering menopause. It makes for a great “why,” but it doesn’t help me with those dark moments. What does help is to ask, “What is this depression telling me?” Usually, if I hang with that question long enough, I get a message. It may mean I need more rest, or more nourishment, a hike, or some quiet time alone. It may mean that I have given too much of myself to others and have to pull back. In the menopausal years, I find that I can’t “stuff” things for very long, and I’m excited about that!
    Nadine Feldman recently posted..Taking a Blog BreakMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Sounds like you have the right balance for yourself and find comfort and peace from your questions, allowing answers instead of “making them happen.” You asking the depression what it is telling you, is coming from a distance. That distance changes things, automatically you have circumvented fear and guilt into a curious role. In this was you are opening yourself to any message your body is telling you! Awesome!

  7. It’s a very beautiful post. Thank you Jodi.
    I have always been a person who needs to know why things are the way they are. I always analyse everything, the single details to try and understand. That has been the case since I was a child. Even at school I wouldn’t just learn things by heart the way they give them to us. I used to spend hours trying to understand how they found a formula and why before I can accept it and use it. Once I understand why, I feel “at peace”.
    That applies to many things, but not everything. I never questioned events of a life, like why a person gets sick or why a child dies because I believe those are things that have a purpose that I might not know now but will discover later.
    The only “why” that hurt are the ones connected to relationships. I still find it very hard when people hurt each other, when a friend abandons me, when someone lie to me, etc.
    Nikky44 recently posted..Reader’s Love and appreciationMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      You know the answer then, too, because of their stuff, because of their own fear, judgment, misery. It doesn’t make sense bc you don’t do this, but this was their choice. You also know people have free will. this is their lesson to learn.

      Curious whys are good whys, keep asking! Judgmental whys are not so good!

  8. ” I had a different why: I wanted to know why she hadn’t kept trying to kill herself” I love this. Talking about the reasons why we did something bad can trigger all the negative feelings and make us feel bad again, but talking about the reasons that helped us stop can only be positive ones.
    Nikky44 recently posted..Reader’s Love and appreciationMy Profile

  9. My therapist was not a big fan of why, at least when it was directed at other people, as in “Why did you….?” I had not thought about that in a long time. Your post brings up some other aspects of this challenging word!
    Galen Pearl recently posted..In a HeartbeatMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Why did you, like how we ask our kids? So condescending! But ask why with curiosity, now that is openhearted and enlightening!

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      We live in a crazy world, you make the most of it. You find pockets of happiness, goodness in yourself and others. I love to watch you. Your friendships are where you give and find peace. You are generous. Right now you are nervous, wondering about Dallas and other men you know. It makes us so sad in our heart knowing what is happening a world away, but right up close next to us too. Don’t be content if it means you speak up and remind people. And through it allow everything you feel. It’s is all perfect. You are where you are supposed to be. Discontent is your content. A sacrifice, a gift to give. Surrender to it. That might sound weird but I hope you understand.

  10. Yes, that is how people feel after years of abuse. Every little thing you see or story you hear triggers enormous amount of emotions because of depression. Here it is a book I wrote about abuse:
    Fire and Ice
    In Fire and Ice, Nancy, a naïve but resourceful, kindhearted woman, marries her high school sweetheart. As a working wife and mother, Nancy perseveres, despite having an abusive, alcoholic husband.

  11. Solid gold creativity

    Great post! Thank you.

    “Why” is a poor question. The answers don’t make any difference and it only encourages the core issue: perpetuating the drama we concoct about ourselves. “What” or “Who”, as in “Who am I being?”, are better questions, questions that make a difference.

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      I love that question: Who am I being right now? Love it! I am going to start to use that to help myself make good choices!
      Thanks for coming over!

  12. I am a big ‘Why’ – I like understanding the reason for things, why love works, why it didn’t, why this or that, and on and on. Sometimes I find the answer but mostly I do not. Not everything is resolved or comes to clear to me in the moment. Drat! And then their are some situations I will never know the why for or behind. Tis part of the mystery of life. BTW – loved how your phrased this: Wondering why we have a problem can be awesomely helpful. Knowing how a problem was recruited into our life can help us see how to get rid of it, or it can assist us in being gentle with ourselves.
    Brenda recently posted..Sudoko For WritersMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Thanks Brenda, I love your comments. The whys get revealed when they want, but can really distract us! Thanks for complimenting my writing. It means so much coming from you!

  13. Eleana Winter-Irving

    Hi Jodi, well here I am. I have read everything up to here. There are some ‘whys’ we will never be able to work out an answer to. Some things/events/situations are in our blueprint from birth. This is easily seen if you get your horoscope done. Sometimes you can get an inkling from a Natal Chart, but not the full picture unless you can regress back to a previous incarnation. How one copes with difficult situations shapes our next incarnation. Love Eleana

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Thanks do much for reading! An commenting! I hope we become life long friends and colleagues!
      Much love,

  14. I’m one of those people who ask so many WHYs 😉 I guess I’m naturally curious and would always want to get to the heart of the problem so I could solve it or discover the mystery behind it. Sometimes though, our problem is when we stop with our WHYs or just focus on it too much, instead of asking something like HOW do I solve this now? or WHERE do I go from here?
    Joyce at I Take Off The Mask recently posted..Why Do We Give Up on a Dream?My Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman


      I just saved this comment from my spam! So glad to have you here!

      I agree, curiosity is underrated. I am a curious cat, myself! Curiosity can help us grow and solve and dissolve our problems, too. I always want to know everything, but it is not to judge it but to move on. I guess this is the difference!

  15. Jodi, this makes perfect sense. Sometimes the why’s we focus on aren’t the ones we need the answers to. The why’s we need to ask maybe right in front of our nose, but we just aren’t seeing it. Thanks for pointing that out and helping me to see things in a different light. You always seem to hit the nail on the head. Thanks!
    Monica recently posted..Euro Traveller ExtraordinaireMy Profile

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