Byron Katie says we can’t stop thinking about a stressful thought. We have to examine it, and get to the truth behind our stories, and then, and only then, when we no longer believe the thought, the thought lets go of us.
Such a pleasant thought to think of stressful thoughts letting go of us, no pun intended. In fact, I’ve tried to prove her wrong but I have yet to command a single thought of mine to do anything other than whatever it wants.
My thoughts are on their own agenda and don’t follow a single instruction. Never have. What about yours? Can you command yours to do your bidding?
Yeah. Didn’t think so. Let’s outsmart our stressful thoughts a better way, shall we?
So inspired by Katie, and going nuts from my own stressful thoughts – don’t ask, let’s just get on with it – I wanted to make more sense of this. How do we put Byron Katie’s words into practice?
Body not stiff. Mind stiff. ~Sri Pattabhi Jois
And I came up with a 3-step shortcut that I’ve been using on my stressful thoughts!
How do I know it works? Well, I’ve tested these questions and validations on my own stressful, crazy, unhappy persistent thoughts. The work is not fun. The process is not exactly joyful but it gets you closer to your truth.
Closer to your own truth.
Which is really a beautiful thing, if you let it float up to the surface from underneath all those doubts and insecurities.
Underneath, you are perfection, but to get to the underneath is a journey all its own.
All I can say is these questions help. And knowing how beautiful that perfection can be, I’d say it’s worth the trip!
The more I do it, the easier it becomes to do them, and the better the results. Don’t expect miracles here, but don’t be surprised either with how easy it gets to gently persuade the thought to let go of you.
End Stressful Thoughts with this 3-Step Short-Cut
First, define the stressful thought.
Say the thought out loud even if it sounds awful to do so. You need clarity here as to what exactly the stressful thought is. In Words!
“My mother doesn’t love me.”
“My family doesn’t care about me.”
“I am all alone in this world.”
“Nobody believes in me.”
“I am a big ugly failure!”
You get the picture. Insert your own stressful, unhappy thought here in clear descriptive words. Knowing the thought is the first step to clearing it up. Sometimes you just don’t know what the thought is and you are still feeling the stress of it. How fair is that? At least, let’s figure out what on earth is stressing us so we can face it head-on.
Ready? Got your thought?
Let’s move on.
Second, have an inner dialogue with the thought
Asking questions is the most powerful way to get closer to that truth. Ask yourself if this is really and absolutely and positively true and ask to provide a proof or two. Go on and have an inner dialogue between you and your inner teacher.
Here’s how it might go but you don’t care, because you are determined to get to the truth and the process is what it is.
~So my mother doesn’t love me. Interesting. Terribly sad but also interesting. She was such a great Mommy for all those years but she has just stopped loving me!
~How do you know it’s true? How do you know for certain? Do you have any facts to disprove this?
~Well, I recall she did acts of love towards me ages ago. I suppose she loved me at some point. Hmmm.
~So has that love disappeared? Can love really disappear or does it mold into something else?
~Yeah, ‘m afraid so. It’s molded into indifference!
~ But how do you know?
~ Well, she’s acting the way she is, all distant and in her own world.
~ But how do you know what’s going on in her heart?
~ Well I don’t if you must know, you ugly persistent rash. I guess there is a chance that she could love me, not that I care but a chance there is.
~ And maybe she’s just angry at herself or at her life. Maybe you are getting the disgusting burden of that. Maybe it has nothing to do with you at all.
~ Fine. She’s still being a complete pain, don’t get me wrong, but hey, maybe she has an ounce or two of love for me. Possibly more. You think?”
And on and on it might go. Let it. In fact, one writing exercise that helps tremendously is using 750 Words and writing out your thoughts every morning.
Now there are several benefits to these inner dialogues. Here are the top ones:
- They relieve your unnecessary stress.
- They make you feel better fast.
- They give you an outlet to have a release for your stress and sadness and frustration.
- They are healthy and therapeutic, as opposed to say lashing out at loved ones, breaking stuff, and slamming doors. Just a healthier outlet for the bloody stress.
- And they give you a wee bit of clarity into what may or may not really be transpiring in the person that is “causing” you the stress.
Third, say your thought again and see how you feel now.
In the example here, “My mother doesn’t love me.” , ask yourself if the statement still feels as bad.
Does it hurt as strong and bite as deep and sting as hard?
Or does it make you smile a tad bit because now you know that it may just not be true at all.
The thought becomes weaker as a result of a real inner dialogue but this only happens if you were truthful and honest without censoring yourself. This is the first sign that the thought is losing its power over you. Repeat the process. Repeat the questions and the dialogue and soon, you may wake up to find the thought has let go of you. And in its place, you have filled the gap with sprinkles of quiet joy and inner peace. And the process makes you a better person as well as a happier one. It’s a win all around!
Tell me if the 3-step shortcut to ending your stressful thoughts works for you. And if you have any shortcuts of your own to outsmart these little devils! Share your thoughts in the comments below.