I just got off my call with my coach. I want to write some things down, before I forget, right?
PRINCIPLES STUDIED THIS WEEK:
I had two questions for my coach this week.
In Byron Katie’s work, and the “turnaround” as a tool for inquisition, what is the different between turning the circumstance and your thoughts about the circumstance around, and shaming yourself?
To understand the question, you and I need to first understand what Byron Katie’s “turnaround” is. After writing down the thoughts you are having that are causing you stress, the “turnaround” is when you do just that – you turn your belief around to the opposite.
- If your original thought was: My husband is always late. He doesn’t care about what I need to do with my time! The turnaround would be: I don’t care about what he needs to do with his time.
- If the original thought was: I don’t stand up for myself enough. The turnaround would be: I do stand up for myself enough. I have stood up for myself in many many important ways, in my words, in my desires and what I attract to myself, in what I accept and don’t accept.
- If the original thought was: She doesn’t help me enough. The turnaround would be: I don’t help her enough. OR I don’t help me enough.
I am new to Byron Katie’s work, so these may not be complete examples. But do you see now where my question is coming from? Again, when does the turnaround turn into shaming myself?
My coach asked me why it needed to turn into shame at all? I don’t help her enough can be a shaming statement, but it doesn’t have to be. That thought can be an opportunity to investigate further. What is enough? Why is it a problem that I’m not helping her? Can I have the same human condition as her and be okay with that? In her? In me?
There is a reason this is called “the work”. This is a lot of work! It takes a lot of time, and emotional energy. And every minute of the work has served me well, my friends.
Something more to look at is the manual I have written for myself. What I have to do to be a good daughter or a good wife or a good mom, or whatever. What is in my manual? Why? What do I make my non-compliance with my manual mean about me?
Speaking of the 50/50, what if an area of my life is not 50/50? Maybe it’s 80/20?
Again, to understand the question, you and I first need to understand what the 50/50 is?
Life is 50% comfortable, 50% uncomfortable. No matter who we are, our education, our family life, our marriage status, our job, our religion, whatever. 50/50. So when we are in the 50% uncomfortable, that’s okay. Nothing has gone wrong. It has always been 50/50.
Do you see how that principle really helps us mentally and emotionally wrap our minds around life? When I’m annoyed at my husband, it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean that he is a bad husband or I am a bad wife. It doesn’t mean I married the wrong man, or whatever. It’s just the negative side of the 50/50. And that is normal. It has always been 50/50.
And using the 50 negative to get visibility on what is going on my mind, really is an advantage to me! Look at that blogpost for more information on the 50/50, and using it to improve our lives.
But, again, back to the question I had for the coach. What if an area of my life is not 50/50? I was asking specific to relationships.
Her first thought was, it’s not a want-match. And that is okay. That doesn’t need to mean anything about me. That doesn’t need to mean anything about them.
We are often so anxious to get to the step where we change our thoughts to something positive, we skip over the VERY important step of sitting with the negative and being okay with being human with human tendencies and human weaknesses and human brains.
Awareness. Instead of trying to fix things – instead of trying to get back to 50/50 – be aware. What are my negative thoughts about that area of my life or that specific relationship? Why is this even a problem? What do I make this mean about me?
Sit with this before trying to change it.
CIRCUMSTANCE: Pearl, a woman from NYC, is moving to a house 2 miles away from my house.
THOUGHT: Pearl is kind of needy. She will have so many expectations of me.
ACTION: My actions toward Pearl are that I am short with her, when she reaches out. My actions toward my husband and children are that I am not connecting with them. When I think about Pearl and her possible expectations of me, I get grumpy with the children and I have unreal expectations of my husband. My actions toward myself are that I beat myself up and look down on everything I do.
RESULT: Disconnect. Not only from Pearl, but from my husband, my children, and even myself. I do not meet my own expectations.
I don’t want to “fix” this thought right away. I want to sit with it, see if I can find any proof to validate my thought and my feeling. I want to investigate: Is it true that Pearl will have expectations of me? And even if it is true, why is it a problem that she will have expectations of me? Why is it a problem that I don’t want to meet those expectations? What am I making it mean about me?
What friend-manual have I written for myself?