1. Am I really okay? Was my day actually good?
When is the last time your roommate asked you how your day was? And when is the last time you told them anything other than “good?” Think about this question next time you are asked about your day or your mood. Unless your roommate is a meth-addled sociopath, they will probably listen and even sympathize when you tell them that your chauvinist scumbag boss tried to make a pass at you again. Much has been said about the importance of talking about the bad things, but you have to start somewhere.
2. Is this any of my business?
No matter who you are or what you do, you have enough to think about. Next time you feel the urge to jump in to another person’s juicy bit of gossip, massive personal challenge, or conflict, ask yourself this question. Then, you can determine if you can actually achieve any good by involving yourself, and you can see if you already have enough on your plate.
3. Can I take action about this now?
Chances are good that, sometime during your life, you have freaked out unnecessarily about something you could do nothing about at the moment. These are usually things where you will need to take action eventually, but you give it too much thought before anything can be actually done. When you’re stressed by one of these situations, ask yourself this question. If the answer is yes, figure out what you can do…and do it. If the answer is no, take a deep breath and determine when action will be called for.
4. What can (or will) I actually do about this?
Similar to the above question, this one specifically points out when to call it quits. Say you got fired today. Can you do anything about it? If you think of something, give it a shot, but, if not, begin the road to acceptance. There are plenty of situations in life where your hands will be tied, and it will be time to start accepting it and moving on.
5. Am I going to suffer later if I do this now?
Would your friends and family describe you as a closet masochist? Do you keep thoughtlessly making decisions that would clearly cause you harm down the road? Try asking yourself this question more often, and you might just break that pattern.
6. Why am I afraid?
Fear happens. You would hardly be human if it didn’t. The nice thing about fears is that they almost always have a solution. Notice that you aren’t asking what you are afraid of, but instead, why you are afraid. This points directly to the underlying causes, the deep aspects of your psyche you must get to know to achieve major, lasting change.
7. What do I know?
Well, shit. You’re doubting everything, nothing makes sense, and you’re about to implode. This is when you need to ask yourself what you know to be true. You aren’t asking about which scientific formulas or mid-century architects you can remember, here. Instead, you are getting to the roots of your own philosophy, which, for most people, lends a lot of comfort.
8. Will this pass?
If you’ve ever had moments where you forgot that good days exist, you will probably understand the value of this question. Everyone who is happy today has undoubtedly had a bad day sometime before, but they hung in there until it got better. Ask yourself this question, and it will probably give you the hope to do the same.
9. What is my motivation?
Sometimes you may find yourself about make a decision or take an action, but are afraid to take that next step. By asking yourself this question, you can remember all of those reasons that brought you to that precipice, which will probably give you the resolve to go ahead. You also may be doubting a commitment you made to yourself, but, again, this question can serve as a reminder of why you are doing what you are doing.
10. What is my intention?
This is the opposite of the above. You are dead set on taking this next step, and something is pushing you to do so, but have you stopped to consider what you hope to gain or give from this experience? Ask yourself this question. If you discover you intention is kind, gentle and loving, by all means go ahead. If, instead, you discover that it is selfish and may hurt someone, you might want to reconsider.
11. Am I okay?
The tears have stopped and you are catching your breath. Take a second. Look at your body. Is it basically the same as before your world began crashing down on you? Has climate change swept away your coastal community yet? Are you basically okay? Exactly. You needed that cry, but it might be time to stop.