Anyone who has hung out with a small child lately, will be extremely familiar with these 2 repetitive little words…
The BUT-WHY-TAP gets turned on pretty much the moment these little angels learn to speak, and the party lasts for frigging aaaaaaaaages.
Why is corn yellow?
Why are peas green?
Why is poo brown?
Why can’t I bite my sister?
Why has my bread got seeds in it?
Why are those lines on your face?
Why is the sky blue?
Why can’t you turn off the wind that’s blowing in my face?
Why is that man wearing that little rug on top of his head?
Why can’t you turn down the sun… it’s in my eyes!
Why do I have to eat that?
Why do I have to do that?
Why can’t I do that on my own?
But why CAN’T I?
Oh and don’t forget one of my personal favourites…
Why did YOU just do that thing you always tell me not to do?
Hmmm yes, small children yell out (often really loudly at the most publically humiliating opportunity) the kind of questions that you ask when you’re seeing something for the first time. They enquire because they are super interested to know the answer, there is no malice, no presumption of right or wrong, and no hidden agenda (well at least until their big brother or sister starts to suggest a few questions for their own entertainment… but that’s a whole other story).
Over the years, in the name of shining a light on my own life, I’ve been known to hang around like a 4-year-old asking "BUT WHYYYYYYYYY????"
And I have to tell you, it has taught me so much. I reckon that it’s a bit of a superpower to regularly do my best small human impersonation and to curiously ask myself questions like...
What’s working for me?
Where am I doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result?
Why do I put up with that shit?
Where do I make excuses for people who don’t deserve it?
Where do I make excuses for my own behaviour?
Why aren’t I asking to get paid for that?
Why am I spending time and energy on people who clearly don’t give a fuck about me?
Who are the people I can count on?
What makes me smile?
Why did I choose to eat that right then?
Why am I spending time doing everything except the thing that I’m supposed to be getting done right now?
Why am I feeling stuck, frustrated, torn, overwhelmed?
What drama am I tolerating in my life? What is it that I’m getting out of participating in it?
Why do I speak to myself that way?
What do I laugh off, when deep down it really hurts?
When do I smile and say “that’s ok” when it abso-fucking-lutely is not?
Where do I say yes when I really want to say no?
Why don’t I speak up for myself?
Why don’t I say what I need?
Why do I think that isn’t possible?
What is the worst thing that could happen if I tried and failed?
What if I tried, and it was a massive success?
How would that feel?
Where is my coffee? (ok, that one’s something that my 40-something-year-old inner person asks, but it’s still a fair question…)
Channelling your inner 4-year-old… looking at life through that glorious filter can be a most precious opportunity to look at life through fresh, shining eyes.
It can teach you so much.
You start to notice the stories that you tell yourself… stories about who you are, what you deserve, what you presume/assume people are thinking about you, stories about your worth, your potential.
You notice where you are getting in your own way.
You notice all of the everyday good stuff that is already right there in front of you.
You notice all the choices that you DO have.
You question things that you’ve been doing the same way forever, and ask if maybe there’s a better way?
A small child isn’t interested in self-judgment or recrimination, they just want to know stuff. They are seeking to understand. And you can bet your boots “That’s just how we always do it”, isn’t ever going to be enough of an answer. So come on, I double dog dare you….
Liberate YOUR inner 4-year-old.
Ask her to have a look at your life and the choices that you make, and to start asking "BUT WHY?"
Do her a solid, and treat her with the patience, love and gentleness that she deserves… a bit of ice-cream might even sweeten the deal.
If want to go the extra mile, to go the whole 4-year-old hog…. hellllloooo…. go for it!!! Feel free to break out your tutu, eat fairy floss for breakfast, spit your peas across the room if it takes your fancy, say exactly what you think with absolutely no filter, lie on the floor at k-mart and kick and scream as people just walk around you, pick your nose and eat it, and tell Grandma what her Christmas present is in October.
Let the world be your 4-year-old oyster. I am struggling to see a downside of this adventure really.