What’s Your Why?

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

February 23, 2023

I’ve been reading Dr. Dan Siegel’s new book, IntraConnected: MWe. I must admit to being a huge fan of Dr. Siegel. Some people are fans of sports, movie stars, or Instagram Influencers, but I prefer to focus my energy on authors – especially authors as intelligent and compassionate as Dr. Siegel. You may recall a blog post I wrote last June about The River of Integration. That was a Dr. Siegel concept as well.

I’ve only just begun his latest book. And as with the other books of his I’ve read, it’s taking me a while to get through. He’s a scientist and a doctor by trade, so he speaks in a rhythm that is more challenging than average prose. But the meaning in his words is so powerful. It’s certainly worth the time it takes to read for comprehension.

For the moment, the part that sticks out the most to me is his notion of the solo self. As he says, “That view of the separate Self, the ‘solo Self,’ is a teaching of modern times. Sometimes it is very subtle, and sometimes it’s more extreme, especially with social media. In either case, it’s very toxic. I think the lie of the separate Self is making us feel alone and lonely.”

We’re not alone in this world. We interact with other people. Some of us have pets. Some of us have children. We live with the cycles of the seasons. We reside on a planet that is orbited by one moon that goes through its own cyclical phases. And we exist because people before us created us. None of us is on the earth to survive alone. We’re here to survive in community.

My Why

Reading this book has made me think of a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche. He was known to have said, “One who has a ‘why’ to live for can endure almost any ‘how’.” Our why cannot be ourselves. Our why must be someone or something external. We wouldn’t endure pain, loss, grief, and hardship as resolutely without a why. My why is my children and their right to live an unencumbered life.

What’s your why?