Questions With Meaning
On instagram, I asked my followers questions that I usually ask people who are closest to me in order to understand them better. This practice is kind of interesting because it was birthed out of a fear I have about myself. I am fearful that one day, I will get dementia or some sort of memory losing disease that makes me forget not only the many experiences I cherish, but also the beautiful people I have met in my lifetime that I have realized that are the most important things in the world to me. Because of this, I have started journaling the things I know and love about these people that are around me and that mean so much to me.
I started coming up with questions to ask the people I care about to better understand who they are. I did this so that I could remember them better once my memory goes away. In this blog post, my first blog post, I want to state those questions and explain them a little bit. I also want to put some of the answers that really stood out to me in hopes that it will encourage whoever reads this to be more open and understanding of others because we do all really just deal with the same type of stuff.
For the audio. Please press play before you read each question and answers. After you are done reading the answers, for that specific question, come back up and press pause on the song in order to play the next song. If you are on a mobile device, it doesn’t work. :( Sorry
1. Are your parent married? How does that affect you?
This question is packed with emotion because most people have one of two extremes. Either your parents are not married and you feel the pain of having two parents that do not express love for each other, or your parents are happily married and you couldn’t imaging what it would be like without that. Of course there are some in betweens, like your parents may be divorced but still like each other or your parents could be married and hate each other. The point of this question however is not to compare but it is to really think about how your childhood experiences with your parents affected you as a person. They have acted in a specific way, and no matter how that way was, you reacted in a way that has essentially paved your natural response to almost everything you go through in life. So… now on to my favorite responses to this. For the sake of privacy, all responses are anonymous. I also am going to let the responses speak for themselves because it was the authentic response of the individual that matters the most with these answers.
“My parents were married up to until my mom died 3 years ago. It affected me positively”
“My biological dad left before I was born and my adopted dad hasn’t seemed to care about me my whole life. He divorced my mom when i was 7 and he was mentally abusive. Its impact on my life has been so damaging”
“No they aren’t. It has affected me probably because I feel like I have grown up different.“
“yup, almost 40 years. It shows me how hard marriage is but also that commitment is so important”
“Yes, it has affected me by showing me how a marriage based around God is the best kind”
“My parents were married for 23 years, It was super sad when they split up”
“No, When I was younger it was harder because I had to go back and forth to different dynamic house holds, but now, Im thankful because it gave me the best step family”
“They’re married, but the disfunction they have influences my relationships.”
“They divorced, and now are remarried. Too much to write about here though.'“
'“They are not married. I find myself being closer to one over the other in different seasons.”
“They are, they honest modeled this amazing marriage for me to look up to.”
“My bio parents never married and I am their only child before they separate. Now, I have 7 siblings. They were’t following christ then, but when they did choose christ, they taught me that its good to marry.”
“My parents were married 33 years happily (father died recently). They taught me its worth fighting through hard times for the people that you love.”
“They are together. They’ve shown me that true love is out there and what to look for in a partner”
“Together. Family gives you a sense of belonging and marriage is where that starts.”
“I found out when I was 18 that they weren’t. Their marriage wasn’t the best example. My mom was the only one who really tried, and this made me think that I needed a guy as well as a perfect marriage, and a life with kids. Etc”
“They are. It encouraged me to find the right person to build a life with, for the rest if my life.”
“Yes, I think it was good to see how they had to work together and compromise.”
“They separated when I was young. It caused a lot of questions but ultimately God is still good.
“Yes. It is a constant reminder that love is a commitment, and hope is not futile.”
“My father is a widow. Their relationship affected me greatly.”
“My parents are both remarried, both their partners passed away close together.”
2. Who was your most influential role model? Who taught you the most in life?
This question I find very important because without my parents I don’t think I would be anything. It made me curious about what the people without parents or strong role models see as the more influential things in their life. I knew very respectable and healthy people who did not really have strong influential people in their life and I wanted to know what influenced them to be who they are today. For simplicities sake, I am going to combine the ones that say parents, even though I find it important to state that most people are influenced by a parent. It makes me realize what a big deal it is to have children.
“My mom (x3)”
“My mom, My dream has been to become a doctor, and watching her grow up and chase that dream while having kids is so inspiring to me.”
“No specific model, but a life that I wanted to put out there. My dad, but because I did not want to be him.”
“I honestly don’t know anyone who mirrors the person I want to become/am becoming.”
“My Parents, but also my lifelong best friend.”
“I’ve taught myself more than anything, but my grandparents really helped.”
“100% my grandparents. They went the extra mile to care for me. They dragged me to church before I loved it.”
“Both my parents, my mom showed me strength by kicking my father out cause of alcoholism. My father taught me about faith because he sought help and found freedom in Christ.”
“My mom and Cousin”
“Creatives in my field. Looking up to someone who is better than I am truly pushes me”
“My grandmother. She showed me how to love God personally and how to love reading the bible. She also taught me how to make sugar biscuits and peach cobbler.”
“My nanny Kim, she raised me to be creative.”
“My dad. He taught me so much about Christ’s love and how to love every soul we encounter.”
“My guitar instructor and mentor. Learning from him changed how I viewed how i felt called. My parents. There’s not a day where something they taught me or said doesn’t apply.”
“My grandmother. I’ve never seen anyone put in so much work and effort to love others.”
“The farming couple I lived with and worked for age 21-23 have had a life changing effect on me.”
“My step mama without a doubt”
3. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to go through?
This question always shows me the strength of people. I am always blown away by the hardships people have endured when you wouldn’t really expect it just by looking at them. Everyone has some stuff, and if we can learn anything from hearing the stuff people go through, it is that we can all be a little bit more understanding when someone treats us poorly or offends us in some way.
“Losing one of my closest friends unexpectedly. It affects me everyday.'“ (Girl in her early 20s)
“Recovering from a car accident. I was scared that my symptoms would never go away, and I wouldn’t be able to pursue medicine or other things that bring me joy like hiking in nature.”
“Watching my father have a nervous breakdown. It brings tears to my eyes to even type this”
“My father leaving my mom and brother and me having to be the leader of the house.”
“My brother being diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was in 7th grade.”
“My first break up, and my mother passing away (in that order). Both rocked my sense of self.
“Having one parent being sent away to war while the other was hospitalized for seizures.”
“Abusive friendships/relationships, including my eating disorder”
“Losing my dad, watching my mom lose her husband and his dad losing his son. on and on.”
“My husband passing away from cancer. It broke my world/heart to the core. But God is restoring.”
“Jail, brother overdosed, step sister was diagnosed with cancer and passed away 6 months later. This all happened within a year. Hardest. Year. Ever.”
“having to provide for my family at 15 years old.”
“having mental instability”
“Leaving my family to move to Redding, CA”
“Recurring struggles dealing with value and worth.”
“telling my mom I was sexually abused by a close friend of the family for 7 years.”
“Having a prodigal daughter.”
“This past year. Being in physical pain for so long.”
“Losing my best friend at 19yrs old due to a heart defect”
“The drug and alcohol addiction of my brother and dad.”
“Highschool and the first 2 years after moving to San Francisco.”
“Two things. A break up and a death in the family.”
“Last February I had an extensive blood clot, and almost died. So scary.”
“I was diagnosed with epilepsy. It is one thing to lose people you love and were extremely close to. I found there was something much darker about my own life becoming a living death. IT could kill me, IT feels like dying, and IT means I can die doing anything.”
“Abuse, Homelessness, friends OD’ing but the worst is the loneliness.”
“One of my parents relied on on physical punishment as a fundamental way way of parenting.”
“watching my step mama die. Grieving for a living person is rough.”
4. Whats one thing you want to change about yourself?
This question is great to me especially right now in any conversation because if you just asked the previous questions, you just talked about very depressing and pass tens things. This question flips the focus on to an encouraging thing about what you could grow towards in the future.
“Spend less time worrying about the future and more time being present right now.”
“I like to be more confident. I tend to only be confident if I am 100% sure.”
“I wish I was more open in life. I’ve been hurt by a lot of people and it’s hard to trust.”
“More positive self talk. Less assuming that other people think badly of me. To push myself to be better for my son. To actually put my words into action.”
“I would like to believe the best in people. It’s tough sometimes.”
“Less of things… talk less. think less negatively of myself and care less what other people think.”
To truly, whole heartedly love myself.”
“Must. Get. Better. At . Time. Management.”
“My false need for perfection, which is actually my fear of not being in control. To trust God more.”
“Getting more dedicated and goal oriented when it comes to tasks I do for myself.”
“Get in shape.”
“My self sabotage when it comes to relationships. Self pity and pity from others.”
“Self Sabotaging myself.”
“I want to become more disciplined.”
“How I come off to other people.”
“Worry less, Pray more.”
“Procrastination (its improving), and general organization in life.”
“My motivation to better myself. I could always use more.”
“I want to stop being so judgmental of others. I want to see people for who they REALLY are.”
“Feel and express my own joy and passion better. It helps others as much as me.”
5. What is one thing you want to accomplish before you die?
Oh! This one is my favorite. It turns the attention away of the depressing completely and makes the person focus on what they could possibly accomplish in life. This is where you really get to understand the desires of some people and I love when someone answers this question and the thing they want to do is something I also want to do or have experience in. I always feel like the best way to get to know someone is to understand what they have gone through and then connect with them about what they love.
“Play piano… and actually be good at it. Run a marathon and actually complete 1 of those 5 minutes a day journal.”
“If someone says they got to know Jesus more through how I lived my life than I am great.”
“To know one life has breathed easier because you have lived…. this is success.”
“Visit every continent”
“I want to love my husband, raise kind kids, and when I look back at life feel good about it.
“Own my own traveling coffee shop".”
“Fall in love, get married, have kids and have a successful freelance design business.”
“Become a pediatric nurse, and travel the world.”
“White a book that impacts the way people think about themselves and treat others.”
“help find the cure for sarcoma.”
“write many many books.”
“Build a house and make it perfect for my one day family.”
“To create the most detailed work of art (film or music) that fully encapsulates who I am.”
“selling a photobook. People are more likely to read a dead mans book over listening to audio/visual.”
“Publish a novel”
“Earn a doctorate.”
“Write a book.”
“Write music, see a whale in the ocean, and buy my parents an RV to travel across the US!”
“One day, adopt my daughter.”
“My father/daughter dance at my wedding.”
“My dream job.”
“To be more spontaneous. Stop being afraid of what others think. Just live life to the fullest.”
“Spend a week on al 7 continents with whoever bae is.”
“Love my friends and family unconditionally.”
“Being a working doula anywhere in the world.”
6. Whats your favorite quality about yourself?
This question always makes me smile. No one is used to talking to themselves in a positive light because the thought of coming across as prideful is so unattractive that we all stop ourselves from actually liking ourselves, but when we do, we start to realize that the things we value in ourselves is actually pretty special.
“My smoking hot mom bod…. and sense of humor.”
“My consistency with my values.”
“My work ethic. I push myself hard and have been able to accomplish so much because of it.”
“I’m kind to people and I really try to make sure they are okay and don’t feel left out.”
“I care too much. Which usually means I put so much effort into the ones I care for.”
“A lot of personality and who I am is a dichotomy. I also try to be kind to everyone.”
“My compassion and joy. I try to make everyone I encounter feel loved in some manner.”
“How understanding, loyal and nonjudgmental I am.”
“Finding beauty and meaning in even the mundane, small. painful. or unseen.”
“Gods gift and desire to serve others in hospitality, music, service, and encouragement.”
“My work ethic. Working since 15 has gotten me further than I ever would’ve imagined.”
“I am a really good musician/producer. I am also funny.”
“My positive energy.”
“My gentleness and empathy.”
“My dedication to my family.”
“My love for nature and getting excited about almost anything having to do with it.”
“Being a good friend.”
“My loyalty to others. I am a type 6 (enneagram) and I am there for my people at all times.”
“Either loyalty or intelligence. I am no genius, but I enjoy how my brain works through things.”
7. Are you happy? Why?
Alright. Now the kicker… This question is designed to make the person think about everything you just asked them… the bad experiences they have been through and also the things they like about themselves and the future they are striving for and truly asking them if they are happy with what they have been given and what they could accomplish. Remember though, this question is meant for those who would say no. If someone isn’t happy with where they are in life, a true friend would either encourage them if they are in a good place and they maybe just have the wrong perspective. OR help them get out of the place they are in to a better place where they can be on the right track to where they want to be. Remember though, it is up to them to make the decision to get to that place. You can’t force them or get mad if they don’t. You have to show them a way they could get on the track to what they want in life and hope they take the step you showed them didn’t have the mine. Weirdly, most of the people I asked said they were happy, but for those who didn’t, I want to be there for them if they need me even if I don’t even know them.
“Joy is a choice. Practicing gratitude has helped me find happiness no matter what season.”
“When I stay in my own lane, yes. Everyday I get to impact those with disabilities.”
“I am. I choose to find joy in my circumstances, and try to make life fun.”
“Yes, my family is happy, healthy and I feel blessed to have a good life with people who love me.”
“I don’t think so. I instantly think of my mom and brother and what they are going through. I think of what my dad did. I cant fix what happened but I also have my son which makes me happy, I felt like it was a weird circle that had to happen.”
“I am happy because I have taught myself to be happy regardless of the situation.”
“No, I feel like I am losing everything. It’s been hard but I know it will be okay eventually.”
“It comes and goes violently lately. Choosing joy, but leaning into grief and processing as needed.”
“Yes. But moreover, I prefer to be content. to trust God and find joy even if .”
“Yes, Because life is now and I’ve got the privilege to experience it and create my reality.”
“Yes. I have a great job, a roof, food and people who love me and tell me regularly.”
“I am because of the community of people around me.”
“I am. I am currently living out the life I wanted to have 2 years ago.”
“Yes. I have fulfilling work and close relationships.”
“I am not exactly sure. This season is so hard but so precious. I am choosing joy.”
“For once, yes. Things have just been getting better in life.“
“I am content with where I am. but also excited for the future.”
“Yes. There are good things in my life that make the unhappy times clearly worth it.”
“Yes I am. I am grateful to be here and share my life with people who love me.”
8. Do you know these things about the people closest to you?
This last question is kind of a call to action. I want to make people start to think about others now that we focused only on themselves. Its important for growth to care for others and I think the best way to heal from something is to use it to help others.
“I hope so, But I could do way better.”
“I don’t. In our society we do not really talk about deep stuff like this which is sad.”
“I don’t, but now I am encouraged to ask them these questions.”
“hmm, I don’t think so. My significant other usually diverts these kind of questions when we have personal talks.”
“I do! These sound like questions I ask my friends often so they were fun to answer.”
“I’d say yes. I am one to listen more than to talk about myself.
“I am working on it.”
“Some of them. I too started a profile journal of my loved ones. I wish I started sooner.”
“The people I tend to be closest to are work people, so other than my girlfriend, no.”
“Yeah! I think so at least.”
“For the most part.”
“Yes! Communication/intentionality is super important to me and it’s how I love others.”
“Most but not all. Really got me thinking about the questions I ask and the words I use.”
“some of them.”
“Not most of my people. This has sparked an interested in me though. Off I go to ask!.”
I hope this post has affected you in some way. If it has, please tell me. My dream is to change people to be a little bit more close to each other so that we can all love a little more and hate and misunderstand a little less.