Byron Katie says, “When I argue with reality, I lose, but only 100% of the time.” Katie is famous for The Work, which is a process for questioning your beliefs and exposing a faulty relationship with reality that is often at the center of manufacturing misery for yourself. It’s four simple questions, followed by a “turnaround,” where you consider the opposites of your belief.
Here’s an example:
“My partner thinks I’m not good enough.”
1. Is it true? – It certainly feels true right now.
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? – No, I’m not a mind reader.
3. How do you react when you believe that thought? – I’m defensive, ashamed, spiteful, distant, sad, and alone.
4. Who would you be without the thought? – I’d probably be happier, more open and loving, more confident and connected to my partner.
You can create multiple turnarounds by simply inverting or negating parts of the belief. Here’s one turnaround:
“My partner thinks I AM good enough.”
Let’s consider, just for fun, what if this was true? After all, they haven’t left you yet, so it’s not a stretch to think perhaps they wanna be with you. Well, if my partner thinks I’m fine, then maybe I’m projecting something onto them to stir up shit or self-sabotage?
Here’s another turnaround:
“I think my partner is not good enough.”
Oof. What if this is true? Am I expecting my partner to be perfect? Do I think my happiness depends on them doing everything a certain way, and when they fall short (because they’re human) I conclude that there’s something terribly wrong?
“I think I’m not good enough.”
Fuuuuuuuck… there’s the jackpot right there. What if THIS is true??? Well, if that’s the case, it would make sense that I keep reaching for evidence to verify a belief in my own inadequacy. Maybe I’m trying to externalize my self-loathing, or coerce my partner into convincing me I’m good enough (because, after all, I’m the one that needs convincing here).
For more on this invaluable tool for accurate self-appraisal, scoop Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is.
The Unexamined Life
I don’t know that it’s possible to learn, grow, evolve, or heal unless you have a process for questioning your beliefs.
If any old thought just pops into your head and you automatically believe that shit, you might live and die behind a delusional fortress of random thoughts and ideas, completely disconnected from yourself, others, and reality.
I couldn’t begin my healing journey until I unlocked my ass and pulled my head out. I had to consider the possibility that perhaps I was wrong about some things and be willing to look at the world from a different perspective.
This is why it’s so important to have a therapist, coach, or mentor. You can’t smell your own bad breath – even with a stink hole one centimeter from your nose.
For anyone interested in digging into some recovery work with me today (November 12th), there may yet be time for some last-minute signups here. And if you miss the live event, you’ll be able to access the replay from the same link.
*This article contains an Amazon affiliate link to the book mentioned