Adapted from “The Work” by Byron Katie
Shifting relationships is all about shifting YOU. The goal is that YOU feel better. Anger and resentment are like taking poison hoping the other person will suffer. This tool helps us release negativity and move on in a genuine and healthy way.
Instructions: Fill in the blanks below, writing about someone (dead or alive) you haven’t yet forgiven 100 percent. Use short, simple sentences. Don’t censor yourself—try to fully experience the situation as if it were occurring right now. Take this opportunity to express your judgments on paper.
1. What is it that the person you are angry at should or shouldn’t do, be, think, or feel? What advice could you offer?
(Name)___________________ should/shouldn’t ________________________________________________________________
Example: Paul should pull his weight. He shouldn’t argue with me.
2. What do they need to do in order for you to be happy?
I need (Name)__________________ to ________________________________________________________________________
Example: I need Paul to step up in this relationship. I need Paul to respect me.
3. What do you think of them? Make a list.
(Name)_____________________ is ___________________________________________________________________________
Example: Paul is unfair, arrogant, lazy, inconsiderate, and unconscious.
The Four Questions
1. Is it true? (The answer is a simple yes or no. There is no, “Well, in this situation…” If it is “no” go to #3)
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react, what happens, how do you treat others and yourself, when you believe that thought? Can you find a single, stress-free reason to keep that thought?
4. Who or what would you be without the thought?
Turning It Around
Knowing that relationships present a perfect mirror of ourselves, we can fully shift our negativity when we understand how we are triggered by things others do which are the very things we judge most in ourselves.
Taking the above judgments, turn the thought around (original thought: Paul doesn’t respect me):
a) To the self (I don’t respect me) – Could that be as true or truer?
b) To the other (I don’t respect Paul) – Could that be as true or truer?
c) To the opposite (Paul does respect me) – Could that be as true or truer?
When dealing with an object/ condition, you can replace the object with “my thinking” or “my thoughts.”
Find 2-3 genuine and specific examples of how each turnaround is true in your life (i.e. Paul not only respects me, he has empowered me to go back and get my degree, and he regularly makes considerable sacrifices so I can do that. And he has really taken over all responsibilities in some important areas, like he has been doing all the cooking lately… healthy cooking, too… and all this eating at home saves us a lot of money).
More About The Work
When You Want to Defend Yourself… Do The Work!
Defense is the first act of war.
If Paul says, “You’re wrong!” and you react with, “How can you possibly say that?” or, “I can prove that I’m right, and here’s why,” or, No, you are wrong, and I think you’re rude”—and even if you don’t say it out loud, maybe you think it, that is also stressful—and that’s the moment you’ve started the war, even if it’s a silent war festering inside of you.
When you want to defend yourself, it’s time to do The Work.
The Work allows us to consider other possibilities than our own judgmental thoughts. It shows the mind what is as true or truer than the original thought. People usually find that the Turnaround is as true or truer than the stressful thought they began with.
In doing The Work, it’s not about having others change for you, it’s about you taking responsibility and staying in your own business.
Stay focused on the changes you can create! When you take away the negative thoughts and judgments, you open yourself to being altogether different…. and meeting this person from there, full of possibility.
Find free worksheets and other tools at http://www.thework.com.