21 Smart Questions To Expose What Mutes Your Happiness

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The paradigm from which you live (what you believe, think, and feel) is what influences your actions and creates your experience of life. Shift your paradigm and your life changes. Simple equation, right? But we all know that doesn’t mean it’s easy!

The issue many people face is either:

  • they can’t see clearly what is going on that holds them back, and/or
  • they’re not really that interested to ask the important questions to figure it out, and/or
  • they’re too busy to ask the questions, and/or
  • understandably… they are too afraid to ask the questions because it would mean needing to look at themselves and their life honestly (that can be confronting!)

“If you live the questions, life will move you into the answers.” – Deepak Chopra

Yet, those people who do show up with a little effort and courage, asking smart questions and being OPEN TO THE ANSWERS will seriously reap the benefits! The willingness to shine a light on yourself, and the courage to be vulnerable and honest when you do so, brings with it great reward.

“Once self-awareness dawns in you, the questions you can ask about yourself, about how you think and feel, have no limit. Self-aware questions are the keys that make consciousness expand, and when that happens, the POSSIBILITIES ARE INFINITE.” – Deepak Chopra & Rudolph Tanzi

I am here to help you expose what blocks you, to support you to have the willingness and courage required. Let’s face what doesn’t work in your life so you can see it and then make the choice to change it.

If you answer the 21 questions (provided further below) authentically, the answers will give you a clear picture of why your life is the way it is, including what you might consider all the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ aspects of it.

But before we expose your blocks, first I want to get you thinking about what you do, why you do it, and what is available to you if you slow down a bit, listen more closely to the “stuff” going on inside of you, and harness a few simple tools to deal with that stuff once and for all!

Here’s a short excerpt  from one of my books, Going Out on a Limbregarding a problem I call “Muting,” and the solution… which I call “Gold Mining.”


“So many of us live muted lives. We have stuff going on within us, unresolved and uncomfortable stuff, and we mute it. It can seem too hard to listen to what is going on inside. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it scares us. Sometimes it makes us angry, upset, or worried. We push it down and mute it. I muted myself from as young as I could remember, because there was a void inside of me that just seemed to roar louder the older I got. Questions about life, death, about ‘what’s the point?’ filled me, along with my fears. I had no idea that all along my being busy and racing around and filling my life with striving and achieving, that was all just my attempt to mute myself, to mute the void. Stimulus is a perfect way to dampen the uncomfortable flames that flicker inside, calling out for answers and resolution. Keep busy and you don’t hear the roar. Of course we mute ourselves … who wouldn’t mute feelings of dis-ease!”

What things do we do to fill our voids or suppress issues that linger inside?

  • Do we work every given minute available to avoid being still?
  • Do we overeat?
  • Do we drink ourselves into oblivion?
  • Do we drug our bodies to numb the numbness?
  • Do we trance ourselves with brain candy?
  • Do we shop in excess for things we don’t need?

Of course, the longer we mute whatever it is going on within, the more likely we are to slowly (or sharply) end up out of the natural flow of life and instead feel stuck and unhappy.

Unmuting – By Gold Mining!

I like to relate the process of unmuting to that of gold mining. Let’s be honest, there’s got to be some type of incentive to “unmute,” and the pot of gold is a worthy analogy to pique the interest of anyone!

Unmuting involves slowing, reducing or ceasing the stimulus that causes the muting. It involves stripping back layers that have numbed whatever lies beneath, in order to fully see and dissolve that which is ugly enough to need muting in the first place!

You start to break through layer after layer of bedrock. Each layer of rock represents challenges, and new insights arise from understanding those challenges. What sorts of challenges?

  • Perhaps a layer of questions that pester you.
  • Perhaps unresolved emotions that trigger from time to time.
  • Perhaps a layer of fears you do not face.
  • Perhaps a layer of issues you hold onto.
  • Perhaps layers of past hurts you own and wear like a pair of your favorite pajamas.
  • Perhaps a layer of false rationale about what you do and why you do it.
  • Perhaps a layer of perspectives you’ve formed which block your view of the truth.
  • And in all cases, a layer of stories you’ve created about yourself, your experiences, and the world. These stories are your interpretations, as filtered through your own unique beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Though at the time you’re not sure what you’re uncovering, any good gold miner knows that as you dig into each layer of rock, it’s critical to pan that rock to see what it’s made of, to understand the substance and density of what you’re dealing with, because…within the rock lies the gold.

Panning for gold.
Courtesy of P_Wei (via Canva)

So you get to know the rock layers and formation, you take rock samples and you study them. You place them under the microscope to assess their form, their origin, and/or how old they are.

As you better understand the rock, and you remove more and more layers—panning, sifting, understanding, assessing, considering—you gain greater and greater clarity about what lies below.

Eventually you hit the jackpot, the deposits of gold—your true and limitless self that lies beneath all the unresolved layers of rocks, that lies beneath the stimulus that muted those layers. When you find the gold it’s a great relief. It makes all the digging well worth the effort.

We think muting our lives is resolution. Muting is not resolution. Gold mining for your true self is resolution.

It is a fairly well accepted fact that humans will do more to avoid pain than they will do to gain pleasure. Essentially, avoiding pain is a greater motivator than pleasure. This is why, in the majority of cases, muting (avoidance of pain) wins over gold mining. Sad but true. Here are two things most “muters” don’t realize.

Firstly, most muters don’t realize they’re muting. Secondly, a cost benefit equation I discovered…

  • A lifetime of relatively easy but ultimately destructive muting = unhappiness; OR
  • A short time of intriguing, albeit slightly uncomfortable goldmining = inner peace and joy.

Muting is a little like the “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” image. We pretend if we block our ears, look away, and don’t speak a word of our true feelings, this suppression will solve our challenges. I love monkeys, but I don’t want to be one, and I don’t think you do either!

21 Smart Questions to Ask Yourself…

Remember to actually answer all the questions below, not in your head but with pen and paper. The answers will create a story.

Read the answers back as if you were reading the story of someone else, as objectively as you can. Perhaps even read the story aloud to yourself and listen to it. Is it a sad story? A funny story? A negative story? A positive story? A story of hope? Or a story of limitation?

Let’s dive in…

  1. What do I have in my life right now that I 100% know I don’t want or need in my life any longer?
  2. What am I certain I do need (more of, or new) in my life as soon as possible – as fundamental anchors?
  3. What actions am I currently taking in my life that I already know are NOT good for me?
  4. What actions do I already know I need to be taking in my life that will make a positive difference?
  5. What is stopping me from ceasing actions that no longer serve me and/or from starting actions that will serve me?
  6. What do I believe about myself, my life, and my future?
  7. What emotions do I most often experience?
  8. Who am I spending time with that bring me down and keep me feeling small, guilty, hurt, lacking confidence, and second guessing myself?
  9. What type of people (traits, characteristics) do I want to invite into my life that I know will help me to thrive?
  10. When opportunities arise to try new things, to meet new people, and to experience life in a different way, do I hesitate?
  11. Am I acting upon all of my inspired ideas?
  12. Am I a priority to myself – do I have dedicated time in my weekly schedule for reflection, quiet time, slow time, and just to enjoy ‘being’ without doing?
  13. What habits do I have at present that dim my inner light, create negativity, drag me down, and clip my wings?! [See this list of 28 soul-sucking habits that block your happiness to help you identify them.]
  14. Who do I harbor resentment toward that I haven’t forgiven?
  15. What aspect of my past (positive or negative) am I still clinging onto that keeps me looking backward instead of enjoying the present and creating my life now?
  16. What do I feel guilty about, that I am carrying like a burden or beating myself up about?
  17. In what ways am I lacking confidence and self-belief in regards to my talent, gifts, capabilities, and possibilities for the next stage of my life – that is stopping me from flying higher?
  18. What about my current circumstances am I resisting – like it shouldn’t be the way it is?
  19. If I could rid myself of any recurring negative thoughts that run through my mind, what would they be?
  20. What external circumstances and resources don’t I have, that I believe are the reason I can’t move forward in the way I want to?
  21. Am I using excuses (regardless of how valid they appear to me) or blaming someone else, myself, life, the world, society, my boss, my family, my friends, my lack of anything – for why I can’t live any aspect of my life the way I really need/want to?

Now… remember, literally read your story (the answers you have written down). Read it aloud to yourself, but pretend it is a story that someone else wrote. Give that person a fictitious name if you wish, and do everything you can to convince yourself this is their story.

  • Start to see from your objective position – is this person holding themselves back?
  • See how they have created their own blocks from the inside out. Can you see how their own mind (beliefs, thoughts) and arising feelings are keeping them stuck?
  • Can you see how new perspectives (shifts in consciousness) and new actions are available to them, if they will choose courage over fear, love over hurt, and possibility above limitation?

Imagine a world where you don’t need to know HOW your life could change, only that it is possible, that it really CAN change, but that it has to start with you making new choices about what you believe, what you think, how you feel, and what you do. This is the world you live in! It all begins with you making a stand for yourself and declaring that your life is worth living in a bolder, more colorful, courageous, and inspired way!

This article was written by Bernadette Logue, Transformation Life Coach, author, and leader of The Daily PositiveYou can follow Bernadette at The Daily Positive on InstagramFacebook, and YouTube. Be sure to  subscribe  to our free email newsletter for our best stories. 

Read more from Bernadette: 

32 Facts To Remember When People Don’t “Get You”

28 Habits That Block Your Happiness And How To Let Them Go

How To Quit Making Excuses: 7 ‘Buts’ You Must Kick In The Butt

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