I know, I know. We have been told time and again to never judge other people. But… can you really refrain from judging people? Is not judging doing us any good?
Whenever a negative thought crosses my mind about another person, say my husband, my first instinct is to totally ignore the thought. Then again, I realized that ignoring the problem only causes a buildup of tension. Sure, I was able to ignore the thought yesterday, but when he does something extremely annoying the next day, the thought comes back and now more powerful. “I can’t believe he’s being that way again,” I would think. Then I would say: “He’s always that way.” See how much more negative the reaction is when the thought comes up again?
Recently, a client of mine introduced me to Byron Katie’s The Work. Oh my goodness, it is so simple yet super powerful! The Work, which Byron Katie says is simply a new way of perceiving things, tells us that it is okay to judge others. In fact, there is a worksheet you can check out here so you can release your judgments.
There are six questions in the worksheet that will help you let out your negative thoughts – hurts, worries, and fears – about/towards a person.
The wonderful thing about this new way of thinking is it does not end in judging others. While it encourages us to write down our judgments, it also provides us a guide on how to address these negative thoughts. The said guide has Four Questions:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it is true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe in that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
These will really make you think, right?
You have to ask these four questions for each of the six answers you wrote down in the worksheet. This will lead you towards what Byron Katie calls a turnaround. This is when you “switch positions” with whatever is causing tension in your life.
Let’s take, for instance, my situation with my family. I know, the photos I post on the blog and my Instagram account are all so happy and fun. That it’s because I don’t like spreading negativity around. :) So while we look like a generally happy family, we do have some issues that we have yet to address. One of them is this…
These past weeks, I have been having numerous negative thoughts about my husband. “I am angry at Arjay because he never listens to me,” I thought. Here’s what happens when I switched positions with my problem, that is, my husband:
- I don’t listen to myself. (The thought is turned around towards the self.)
- I don’t listen to Arjay. (The thought is turned around to the other.)
- Arjay listens to me. (The opposite of the thought.)
As explained by Byron Katie: “As I began living my turnarounds, I noticed that I was everything I called you. ‘You’ were merely my projection. Now, instead of trying to change the world around me, I can put the thoughts on paper, investigate them, turn them around, and find that I am the very thing I thought you were. In the moment I see you as selfish, I am selfish. In the moment I see you unkind, I am unkind. If I believe you should stop waging war, I am waging war on you in my mind.”
Beautiful words, yes? This, she says (and I believe her!), is the secret to happiness. This is accepting and loving what is. It is embracing life with eyes wide open to the realities of the world.
If you are having problems in your marriage, this is a great starting point towards fixing those problems. It does not only work for marriages, but for all sorts of relationships and situations – like issues you have in your workplace, or in school.
Source: The Work of Byron Katie