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Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: The Power of Questions

There are days when we feel stressed, pressured by obligations, overwhelmed by strong emotions. Then we often start an internal dialogue in the form of questions and answers, trying to understand the situations we live in and the way we ourselves react to them.

We believe that if we find a good answer, we will be able to solve the problem that concerns us. However, we will never be able to find the right answer if we do not ask the right question.

We usually interpret the word ‘question’ as the means to find answers or information. But questions can have a more far-reaching and tremendous power. They can lead to a change in our way of thinking and consequently to a change in our way of life. With these kinds of questions some of us are not just looking for information. People use them as a means to better understand themselves and the world around them, redefine the meaning of their lives, their relationships, their profession, or their contribution to others.

Many people avoid asking such questions, because they are afraid to answer them – because then they may be forced to drastically change their lives. They prefer to stay on the surface, because they may not want to take responsibility for their choices. But the right questions can also lead to the right life choices, because they help us see what is behind the easy to understand, behind what seems to be the case at first glance. And the more persistent and deeper the questions become, the more likely we are to be led to our own truth.

Let's look at some of these questions:

What does professional success mean to me today?

We tend to equate happiness with professional success and financial security. And perhaps for many of us this is true. But is it the same for me? How do I feel when I do my job – does the time pass unnoticed? Do I feel creative and happy? Or have I sacrificed something I love dearly for greater financial comfort? And if I do not love what I do, can I live with it? If not, what can I change today?

Do I feel good about myself?

Many times we create an imaginary image of ourselves, but how much self-knowledge do we really have? Do I know who I really am? What are my strengths/weaknesses? Do I know what my soul longs for? Or am I content with what I have because I am comfortable? Are my goals in harmony with my existence, or am I chasing things that don't suit me, because that's what I was told I should do?

What am I grateful for today?

When one lives in a state of gratitude, one is able to face his life with less pain or discomfort, he can more easily tame his fear and ‘converse’ logically with the perceptions that limit him. So what do I feel grateful for today, even if it is a difficult day? What do I have in my life that when I think about it my soul rejoices and I smile? What are the gifts of life that I enjoy, even in the midst of adversity?

What lesson did I learn from this?

Many times we experience very difficult situations, from which, no matter how hard one tries, one cannot distinguish anything positive. And yet, even in these cases there is something you can learn which may help you to develop as a personality, to prepare more effectively for the future. What do I learn when I fail in my relationships or at work? What do I learn when I get sick? What lesson do I learn from the difficulties and how can this help me move forward in life?

What is my role in this?

Many times we find ourselves trapped in situations or relationships that do not give us joy and peace of mind. Some may feel wronged by life, or unlucky. But what is my role in this relationship? In what ways do I enhance or limit the dynamics of the relationship? How do I influence the way it works? What space did I leave for things to happen like this? Why am I not trying to change something?

The right questions bring the right (for us) answers. And the right answers can cause discomfort, pain or anxiety. But this is only at the beginning. Because in the long run they redeem.

Stavroula Tsoutsa is a Certified Holistic Professional and Life Coach, Certified Heartmath Coach/Mentor, and Certified Points of You practitioner.

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Dear Stavroula,   I am married with three children.

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