My husband is very perceptive. He can sense with pinpoint accuracy when something’s “off” in me. When he does, he often asks:
Sometimes, the question is helpful and I can identify and share what I’m preoccupied with and which I might label “bad” or “wrong”. But, sometimes, there is nothing “wrong” at all and the question puts me in a defensive place.
One thing I appreciate about Buddhism is the message, “it just is” rather than “it’s good” or “it’s bad”, “it’s right – or it’s wrong”.
With that in mind, he and I talked about his question and came up with this reframe:
“What are you experiencing now?”
And how much lighter it is! He can ask me what I’m experiencing and I can answer without labeling. Imagine:
- I’m experiencing fear or doubt
- I’m experiencing preoccupation with a new client
- I’m experiencing overwhelm from too much on the to-do list
- I’m experiencing physical pain
No defensiveness. No labels. No judgment. Just noticing. Just awareness. From here, I am more open to hearing myself and to hearing questions he might ask in order to support me.
Next time you hear (or ask yourself!) the question, “What’s wrong?”, consider a do-over and ask instead:
What are you experiencing?
What would you like to shift in your experience?
What, if any, help do you need?