In the last few months I’ve been sharing lists of prompts to help us discover ourselves and our needs, because self-reflection is key for taking compassionate care of ourselves and crafting a meaningful life. (Here’s one list of 30 prompts; and the second list.)
As Margaret Atwood wrote in her poem “Spelling,” “A word after a word after a word is power.” The more words we write about ourselves, the more we explore and discover, and the more good information we have to make conscious, nourishing decisions — and ultimately the more we use our voice, which deserves to speak and be heard.
In her book Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within, author Janet Conner talks about the power of questions for hearing our voice.
Conner writes: “Questions are the Mars Explorers of your psyche, flying out from your conscious mind to probe the vast vaults of information available in your subconscious mind and beyond.”
In her book she includes a slew of powerful questions we can ask ourselves. Here’s a list of some of these to help you write down your soul — exploring everything from being comfortable in our own skin to the toxic thoughts we think to the secret beliefs we hold:
- How comfortable are you in your own skin?
- When are you comfortable? When are you not comfortable?
- What is the difference between when you’re comfortable and when you’re not?
- What has to happen in order for you to become more comfortable?
- What thoughts do you think that are toxic?
- What is the damage of these toxic thoughts?
- What are the healthy thoughts you can think?
- What toxic words do you repeatedly use?
- What are your new words? What do these new words sound like?
- What do you have to do in order to transform your thoughts, words and actions?
- What parts of yourself have you been unwilling to acknowledge?
- Are you willing to acknowledge them now? Why or why not?
- What would happen if you decided to love and embrace all of you?
- When have you felt whole?
- What does whole mean to you?
- What makes you feel whole?
- Do you feel like the experience you’re currently having is leading you to wholeness or drawing you away from it? How?
- What does this information tell you about where you need to go from here?
- What do you really want?
- What would your life look like if you had this?
- Why do you want this and not something else?
- What needs to happen in order to bring this into your life?
- If you could do anything, what would it be?
- If nothing stood in your way, and you could truly do that, would you? Why or why not?
- What is needed right now? (Conner suggests writing this question on the inside of your journal because you can always ask it. “It applies to all times and all situations.”)
- What question should you be asking?
Asking ourselves such questions helps us to dig deeper, to discover things about ourselves we might’ve never realized, to discover our truest, most vulnerable voice.