The Importance of Why

A client remarked to me the other day, “When the why is strong enough, the how will follow.” As I reflected upon this with her, I was once again brought back to one of my favourite words: curiosity.

People come to therapy because they want something to be fixed; they want to feel better. Sometimes that comes with a clarity as to what they are struggling with; other times it is obscure or hidden from them and they are basing their presenting issue on feelings or symptoms. In any case, whether they realize it or not,  what they are seeking is the ‘why.’

We often rush to seek solution which makes total sense – after all, we are feeling crummy and want it to end. If we can find immediate relief, we alleviate the symptom. Unfortunately, this type of relief is usually temporary (think of the way we soothe ourselves with food, alcohol or marijuana), and the more encompassing issue is still present, just waiting around for us to do something about it.

And this is where the ‘why’ comes in. When we can gain a greater understanding of how our patterns, core beliefs and relationship dynamics were formed, we can move towards acceptance. The freedom of letting go of something that weighs us down is what allows structural change to form.

When the why is strong enough, the how will follow. Bottom line: we can allow ourselves to push past fear to where curiosity is patiently waiting for us.

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4 thoughts on “The Importance of Why”

  1. Good morning Kristine. You always have such wise words for us. Thank you. I have 2 problems. (Only two?!) How to move past a difficult situation and I’m lacking a sense of direction. I see all the things that need doing. Become overwhelmed then do nothing. Feel like I’m floundering, drowning. Thanks for any additional insight

    • Moving past a difficult situation can be a challenge. Sometimes it requires asking ourselves what it is that is unresolved for us and from there either doing something to work towards a resolution and/or accepting that sometimes we can’t get the resolution we want and to some degree have to accept what we cannot change. Not always easy, but we feel more at peace. And then the position of “all or nothing” – something we can fall prey to when things seem overwhelming. We can’t rely here on willpower as that is tied to emotion (the moment of overwhelm takes care of that) and so we are better to formulate a plan – 10 minutes here and there, or suggest a friend or family member help you. I have a friend who periodically asks me to come help clean out her closet – we make a fun afternoon of it 🙂

  2. Yes. “Baby steps”. That’s what I tell others who are feeling like me. Now, just to implement your- my advice. I’ll try.

    A cheery hello to Gurly, if you still see her.


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