the importance of asking questions: how I have been growing in humility

recently I sent a letter to a group of people explaining what I observed and how I felt it was inadequate and was falling short of the standard that I think this particular community should be living up too. discussing this with a friend I came to an understanding that this was not loving because I did not know what was happening in the background that I could not observe. a mark of maturity is to observe what you can not see, which essentially promotes the act of believing the best of people you are working with and asking questions about what is going on. the most neglected act of observing is seeing how the past has shaped the present. often times we do not know the past so we need to ask questions. if you are catching on with what I am saying you will have figured out questions are a great way to show love, care, and affection.

a common definition of humility that I am coming to appreciate in a greater way is to not think of ourselves as lesser, but to think of others more. when we think of ourselves less we tend to not think we have it all together or that we know all, not that knowing all is possible but we can act like it. when we think of others more we realize the limitation of what we can know and if our reaction to that is healthy than that will cause us to ask questions. ignorance is not bliss, no matter how much you think happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of personal pleasure. we need to ask questions. questions send us to a place of choice. You know that miniscule moment where you have to choose, most often it is a moment of discomfort because you are challenged to enter into a foreign place. I guess you can say questions make you a traveler and a traveler has too often face that they do not know it all.

questions allow us to enter in. a general critique of our society is that we are losing our ability to connect due to our electronic devices that limit our human to human interactions. We have a hard enough time being present with somebody, but an even harder time engaging with somebody. a great way to start that is by asking questions. I know I personally need to ask more questions. I fall short of loving others because I do not ask enough questions to engage with their experience. Another example to illustrate this comes from the conversation I had with the guy above that showed me that I was being immature. I simply assumed that a particular experience had defined him a certain way and after he corrected me of his actual experience I realized a simple question would have helped me show him I care instead of assuming about the particular defining experience he had. a couple questions that would have been caring would be, how did you come to that place or what shaped your perspective on that. both of these would have been engaging, clarifying, and a sign of humility.
questions engage, questions bring clarity, and questions show humility. I have entered into the practice of asking questions with a couple different projects this past year to promote and further my growth in asking questions, so I can love god better, love others better, and love myself better. the first project was called personal questions and this was simply a list of questions that pertained to my personal development, which I will be writing about soon. the other project was a question a day, which was mainly questions about people, god, life, achieving goals, loving others, and personal growth. they were just questions that were in my head or that I came across throughout the day, but were none the less necessary questions that I felt needed to be wrestled with. most of the time we get questions in our head and 5 minutes later we forget it and never think about that intriguing question again. well by composing those questions I aim to engage with life, seek clarity of our purpose, and approach others in a humble way. I will be announcing more about the question a day project soon, so be excited. here is a little teaser, it has to do with twitter 🙂

what questions do you have? they can be anything, leave them below

changing the culture of asking questions: the importance of asking important questions

What if we did not need taboo anymore? What if we were able to talk about the important things with anybody? A scenario that I am imagining is you are out shopping and you run into a friend that you have not seen for a few months and instead of doing the standard how are you what have you been up to and all the other small talk tools, we ask how is your hope or what are you worshipping. Both sets of questions are essentially asking the same thing is your quality of life doing and is it satisfactory enough and how are you spending your time and your resources. How often do we tell people how we are really doing and how often do we really tell people what we have been doing? I would say not too often. What holds us back from saying what we really want in both the question and response?

How are you loving people?
Questions not only have the ability for you the recipient of the answer to be enlightened, but it gives the opportunity to the other person to let you in and to connect. A question is a proposal and it gives the other person the opportunity to engage. We can not engage much if we do not have much to engage too so asking the standard how are you and giving the automatic response of good or alright then there is not much to engage too. If you asked a question with some penetration to it then the ability to connect would be much greater. It may be uncomfortable and it may take some boldness at first, but those are not things to hide behind. We have the freedom to express how we feel and if it makes somebody uncomfortable they have the freedom to express that to you. asking questions is not only allows feedback to be given to the person asking the question but it is feedback to yourself and how you feel when something is asked. You learn about your feelings and how to express them, which is something that we all can continually be improving on.

Switching the culture of asking questions
Often we do not ask what we really want to ask because we are afraid of imposing or being to upfront. What I see behind this is fear. I recently spent some time in a completely different culture and one of the things that I was challenged with was the ability to just ask for something. I already have a tendency to be timid so the encouragement to ask for whatever I wanted was challenging for me. the sentiment I was told was if you have a desire or need we want to be able to meet it. so asking a question is opening the door for people to enter inn and care for you. when we ask a question we are saying I have a need and I am looking to engage with you. fortunately for us humans we all have an innate feature of desiring to connect with something and asking questions gives us that ability.

A restored utopia of question asking
I am not promoting sticking your finger in somebody else’s wounds by asking sensitive questions or inviting yourself into personal topics like sexual history, but what I am promoting is the opportunity to ask questions that are life giving and give us the ability to bond in the ways we long for. I understand we have topics that are taboo to talk about like politics, religion, war, communism, oppression, child rearing, god, colonialism and so on. Many of these are controversial issues mainly due to the differing perspectives of which they are viewed, but I am here to say those should not get in our way of asking questions. if we were to ask people what are you worshipping we would have a better understand of gods in our world, if we asked people how are you loving people we would have a better account of generosity and charity, if we ask how is your hope we would be able to focus on joy and peace more often, if we were to ask how are you caring for your community then we could understand the politics of the people and speak with a greater voice. See it is all about what we are asking and what we are willing to ask. Asking a question shows we are willing to widen our understanding, to learn, to engage, to connect, and to care. if you think this life has meaning and purpose then lets engage with others in it and a great way to start is by asking questions.
starting 7 months ago at the beginning of January I started writing down a question a day. This was to not only to take note of my wondrous mind, but to note thoughtful questions to engage with others in that I don’t think should go to waste. We are creatures with great minds, we think in great complex ways, we are thoughtful, we wonder, so let’s share that. What are 3 questions that you would like to normalize in your question asking utopia?
Mine are: 1 what are you worshipping? 2 how is your hope doing? 3 how are you loving?

Let’s be question askers.