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Monthly Self Care Journey-

May: Question

Welcome back to 2023’s self-care intention journey toward improved mental health! This is designed to be self-led, you create your own goals and intentions, and any thought or action taken toward that action is beneficial! This month the topic is Question.


May I ask? Get it?! It’s May! Just trying for a play on words, you don’t have to ask permission, ask anyways!

Ask easy questions. “I’m not clear on that, can you please repeat the instructions?”

Ask questions that sound dumb (no such thing unless you count the time an Australian told me they had never eaten turkey and I asked them what they ate for Thanksgiving.That was a dumb question! And yet, while I was mortified, I survived.)

Ask hard questions. It is a red flag if anything you are involved in is critical of being questioned.


· How does your religious organization treat the LGBTQ community?

· Are schools providing resources to help students coming from a lower economic status?

· What is the racial make-up of leadership at your work?

· To parents of your kid’s friends- are there are unsecured firearms in your home?

· Ask your partner how loved they are feeling in your relationship. Maybe ask yourself the same.


So many of our organizations, businesses, politics, relationships, families etc. run on fear. Fear of growing, changing, often of losing power. These organizations/people stay in power by creating a culture where they are beyond being questioned, where we are supposed to go along with the status quo. If we question we are labeled disloyal, heretic, trouble-maker, nonbeliever etc. Questioning can lead to exile, and while we might have questions we don’t want to cast out, so we stay quiet. I cannot stress this enough, if you are quiet for fear of negative consequences, blaming, gas-lighting or abuse, that is not the sign of a benevolent organization or person, that is a control tactic.


What makes a question difficult? It’s usually not the question itself, unless it’s the math problem from Good Will Hunting. Typically we perceive the subject matter as a dangerous subject based on messages we have received about that subject throughout our lives. When a question triggers your discomfort or defensiveness, that is information for you! (Imagine right now people in your life asking you noninvasive questions around sex, money, racism, religion, politics etc.) Super difficult, but lean into the discomfort. Get curious about your defensiveness. (“Why do I feel like they are accusing me, judging me, embarrassing me, shaming me by bringing up ___? Where have I felt this before in my life?”)

Some questions are easy to answer:

Toddler to parent- “Why do I have to go to bed?”

Parent to toddler- “Because it is nighttime, time to rest, sleepytime, 8pm, I need a break” etc.

Some questions are harder to answer:

Toddler to parent- “How are babies made?”

Inner dialogue- EEEK! They just asked an S-E-X question! I’m not ready for this, how do I explain this? I barely understand sex myself and definitely don’t want to talk about it! I am getting really uncomfortable right now. Is it hot in here? Can I distract them with something? Okay, just breathe, here goes….

Parent to toddler- um… “When a man and a woman love each other..”

Inner dialogue- Nope, don’t have to be in love. Don’t have to be a man and a woman.

Parent to toddler- “When two people spend time together”

Inner dialogue- Nope, too vague

Parent to toddler- “See these body parts on this diagram? This is what they do and what they make and where they go”

Inner dialogue- Maybe later, feels not really age appropriate now

Parent to toddler- “A stork comes and delivers the baby to parents who wish for them!”

Inner dialogue- NO! No make-believe information!

Parent to toddler- “Go ask some other adult”

Inner dialogue- They will be talking to their therapist about this one day…

You can acknowledge that the subject matter is hard for you, and you need some time to process. Acting weird and not acknowledging that you don’t really know how to have this conversation but it’s important and want to try to have it anyways, sends a lot of subliminal messages to the asker, such as “that subject matter is not okay” “I am bad for asking” “I can’t trust this person with hard stuff”.

If the question triggers an immediate fight or flight reaction:

Parent A to Parent B- “My kiddo is really looking forward to your kiddo's sleepover next week! Just wondering, are there unsecured firearms in the home?”

Parent B inner dialogue- How dare they ask me that? Are they saying that I’m a bad parent? I would never put our kids in danger!!

This is a sign to parent B that they need to breathe, their nervous system is temporarily disabled. If need be come back to the conversation later. Once you are calm, continue the conversation, and investigate with yourself why that conversation triggered such an intense response for you.

Work on reframing:

Parent A to Parent B- “My kiddo is really looking forward to your kiddo's sleepover next week! Just wondering, are there unsecured firearms in the home?”

Parent B inner dialogue- Wow, was not expecting that! Just what the heck are they implying?! Breathe. This doesn’t have anything to do with me, this is their concern for their child. I can answer the question without personalizing this about me or them.

Let’s all ask more questions, breathe, and work on responding awkwardly yet sincerely!

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