Tag Archives: Byron Katie

The Work on ‘I need to be healthy’

I need to be healthy.

Is that true?

No.

How do I react when I believe the thought ‘I need to be healthy’?

I stress out about finding therapists and health practitioners to ‘fix’ me. I act weak. I stress about whether I will get a cold. I feel angry at God for putting me in a defective body. I spend a lot of time, money and effort on getting healthy. I get extremely stressed when I get symptoms, especially if they’re new. I make a lot of unrealistic health goals and plans. I tell others about my poor health, and I get defensive and complain a lot in those interactions. I judge other people on their habits, displacing my own judgment of myself onto other people.

Who am I without the thought ‘I need to be healthy’?

I am empty, free and at peace. I do what I do and I eat what I eat. I do whatever feels right when sick, but maintain my sense of peace. All seems right with the world. I accept whatever happens.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I need to be healthy?’

No.

Turn it around

– I don’t need to be healthy

Reasons it could be better to not be healthy:

1. Bed rest — I would get to read and do nothing very much, and have plenty of time to do The Work!
2. I wouldn’t have to work.
3. I could get attention and be fussed over.

– My thinking needs to be healthy

This is where peace and happiness comes from, not from the body.

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The Work on ‘I need to not be fat’

I need to not be fat.

Is that true?

No.

How do I react when I believe the thought ‘I need to not be fat?’

I feel hideous when I look in the mirror, I feel disgusted with my fat rolls, and the size of my hips, stomach and bust. I feel completely wrong. I get very stressed when I put on weight, and my dress size terrifies me. I displace my disgust of myself onto strangers, and judge them on their weight and on the clothes they wear. I am equally likely to be judgmental of people who are thinner than me as I am of those who are fatter than me. I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy feeling stressed about weight, and about what I eat, and about my size. It’s extremely stressful.

Who am I without the thought ‘I need to not be fat’?

I am empty and free. I don’t even notice size. I eat what it occurs to me to eat, and I wear whatever fits. I am joyful and I know my own value, and other people’s.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I need to not be fat’?

Believing that I need to not be fat helps me be healthy.

Is that true?

No!!!!!!!!!!!!

Turn it around

– Believing that I need to not be fat does not help me to be healthy

Reasons this statement could be as true or truer than the original:

1. It stresses me out, which is absolutely not healthy, physically or mentally
2. It makes me restrict what I eat, which leads to binges.
3. I still eat junk food while believing the thought that ‘I need to not be fat’.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I need to not be fat’?

No.

Turn it around

– I need to be fat

Reasons why it could be better to be fat:

1. I can eat whatever I want.
2. If I got fat enough I could ride around on a scooter!
3. It would cut down on unwanted sexual attention.
4. I could sit in two bus seats at once.
5. I could store things in my fat rolls!!! heh.

– My thinking needs to not be fat

My body is fine the way it is, in fact it’s perfect in this moment. What is fat and heavy is my thinking, especially about my body. Lucky I have The Work to help me with thought ‘weight loss’!

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The Work on ‘I need to feel good about myself in order to love myself’

I need to feel good about myself in order to love myself

Is that true?

No.

How do I react when I believe the thought ‘I need to feel good about myself in order to love myself’?

I wait to love myself, and as a result I very rarely love myself, if at all. So I make unloving decisions that, surprise surprise, don’t make me feel good!!!

Who am I without the thought ‘I need to feel good about myself in order to love myself?’

I just love. I barely think of myself, or evaluate anything about myself. I am at peace and so relaxed.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I need to feel good about myself in order to love myself?’

No.

Turn it around.

– I don’t need to feel good about myself in order to love myself

In fact, I think self-love comes first. I’ve had it backwards!

– I need to feel good about my thinking in order to love myself

Totally. I need to eradicate guilt and painful thoughts and then I will love myself entirely.

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The Work on ‘I need to feel good about myself’

I need to feel good about myself.

Is that true?

No.

How do I react when I believe the thought that ‘I need to feel good about myself?’

I try and control myself, my appearance, and my environment in ways that I think will make me feel good about myself, which uses up a great deal of energy. I try to move life in a way that will lead me to feel good about myself, and when it doesn’t go there I feel absolutely distraught. I become angry with God/The Universe for putting me in a life where I can’t feel good about myself — I feel completely forsaken. I feel like a complete failure and like complete rubbish when I don’t feel good about myself. My opinion of myself is very fragile and easily influenced by events and circumstances I have little control over.

Who am I without the thought ‘I need to feel good about myself’?

I just live. I let life be. I feel SO relaxed. I just go with whatever I’m feeling, and I do The Work. I don’t try to control life.

Turn it around

– I don’t need to feel good about myself

Reasons it could be better to not feel good about myself:

1. I could see what I need to do The Work on next
2. I could get some great writing out of it!
3. I can enjoy what there is to enjoy in not feeling good about myself — e.g. eating chocolate, confiding in someone and having them tell me how awesome I am, taking a bath, wallowing, asking Boyfriend for cuddles, crying, laughing, hugging a stuffed toy in bed in the dark, hugging the cat, feeling tired and heavy from crying.

– I need to feel good about my thinking

This is really where peace and feeling good comes from!

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The Work on ‘I need to feel successful’

I need to feel successful.

Is that true?

I don’t know.

Can I absolutely know that it’s true?

No.

How do I react when I believe the thought ‘I need to feel successful’?

I set a lot of goals and when I don’t fulfil them I feel stressed out. I obsess about doing uni really well and getting terrific marks to the point where I push myself so hard that I fall ill every semester. I struggle and I put up with the struggle, because I believe that success comes after struggle. When I don’t achieve whatever it is I think I need to feel I’m successful, I’m just left with a lot of heartache and disappointment in myself. I compare my achievements and the milestones I’ve reached to other people’s, and I feel really terrible about myself and my life. To try to deal with that, I make up a story about how other people’s achievements are boring and ordinary, and I make myself superior to them in my eyes — very stressful. I push myself, and I exhaust myself. I set a lot of goals that I don’t finish, and life is a constant struggle.

Who am I without the thought ‘I need to feel successful?’

I do things because it feels good to do them, and I peacefully set them aside when I’m done. Life is so peaceful — so much quiet and presence, and no striving. I peacefully finish assignments and study for exams with little thought about the outcome, and as many breaks as I require. Life is so enjoyable. I do creative pursuits when I want to, and I enjoy them completely.

Turn it around

– I don’t need to feel successful.

Reasons it could be better to not feel successful:

1. I can see that there’s more to do The Work on.
2. I can enjoy setting new goals and making plans to complete them.
3. I can enjoy what there is to enjoy in not feeling successful — confiding in Boyfriend and having him help me come up with a plan to feel more successful, getting cuddles, wallowing, eating chocolate, etc.

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The Work on ‘I need to be tiny’

I need to be tiny.

Is that true?

I don’t know.

Can I absolutely know that it’s true?

No.

How do I react when I believe the thought that ‘I need to be tiny’?

I feel absolutely hideous and wrong when I look at my body. I feel extremely stressed out, and unattractive. I feel ungainly, cumbersome and unfeminine, and I feel really terrible about myself. I restrict what I eat quite severely. I hate myself for my clothing size. I criticise my portion sizes, and I stress out about what I’m eating a lot of the time. I beat myself up for eating junk food. I think longingly of when I used to be tiny, not remembering that I wasn’t happier back then. I ascribe a lot of happiness to being tiny.

Who am I without the thought ‘I need to be tiny’?

I eat what I eat and I do what I do, according to intuition and instinct. I eat as much as I want of  whatever I want to eat. I wear clothes that fit. I feel empty, light and free.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I need to be tiny’?

No.

Turn it around.

I don’t need to be tiny

Reasons it could be better to not be tiny:

1. I get to have a classically feminine shape.
2. It’s easy to get clothes that fit.
3. I can’t be carried off!
4. I won’t look weak.

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The Work on ‘It’s possible to waste money’

It’s possible to waste money.

Is that true?

I don’t know.

Can I absolutely know that it’s true?

No.

How do I react when I believe the thought ‘It’s possible to waste money’?

I feel guilty about past purchases and the way I’ve handled money in the past. I feel that if I buy something and don’t end up using it, I’m a bad person. There is a lot of guilt and self-hatred associated with this thought. I feel really terrible about past credit card debt.

Who am I without the thought that ‘It’s possible to waste money’?

I am much more anchored in the moment. The moment of purchase is the only moment in which money is relevant to whatever object/experience I have bought. I feel at peace.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘It’s possible to waste money’?

Believing the thought helps me save money.

Is that true?

No.

Turn it around.

– Believing that it’s possible to waste money doesn’t help me save money

Three reasons this statement could be as true or truer than the original:

1. I ran up huge debts on my credit card while believing that thought.
2. I still bought things I thought I would use but didn’t.
3. The thought doesn’t directly lead to me putting money in my online saver.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘It’s possible to waste money’?

No.

Turn it around

– It’s not possible to waste money

Three reasons this might be as true or truer than the original thought:

1. Every time you use money, you get something out of it — you never get nothing.
2. Even if you don’t use whatever it is you bought, the buying of it was meant to happen (because it did) — therefore the idea of waste is meaningless.
3. Everything I buy I sincerely wanted at the time, so at the time it wasn’t a waste.

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The Work on ‘We need to find the perfect place’

We need to find the perfect place (to rent).

Is it true?
Yes.

Can I absolutely know that it’s true that we need to find the perfect place?
I don’t know.

What’s the evidence that we need to find the perfect place?
If it’s not perfect, I will feel anxious there.

Is that true?
I have no idea.

Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
No.

How do I react when I believe the thought that if it’s not perfect, I will feel anxious there?
I feel really stressed about househunting. I check the listings obsessively, and I feel jittery when I do. I feel stressed about the fact that not many suitable places are coming up right now (in the past two weeks). I write places off for small faults. I feel really unsettled and scared. I feel tense in my stomach and very shaky. The whole idea of moving terrifies me.

Who would I be without the thought that if it’s not perfect, I will feel anxious there?
I would relax and view listings with an open mind. My body and stomach would relax. I would feel more calm and centred. Space would open up where I could think of myself as a flexible and resilient person who carries her home inside her. I would feel a lot stronger and at peace.

Is there a stress-free reason to keep the thought?
No.

Turn it around.

– Everything doesn’t have to be perfect, and I won’t be anxious.
1. Things are FAR from perfect in my family home, in fact a lot of things don’t work, or are untidy and unclean (or full of insects), and I feel comfortable here.
2. The house I lived in in 2003 wasn’t perfect and I felt safe there — when we first moved in, our bedroom doors didn’t even shut properly.
3. It’s really about the vibe of the place, and the comfort we add to it, rather than its facilities.

– Everything needs to be imperfect, or I’ll be anxious.
Actually, if a place is TOO modern and looks un-lived in, that scares me too. There’s such a thing as ‘too perfect’.

-My thinking needs to be perfect, or I’ll be anxious.
It’s really my thoughts about moving that need the most effort and attention in the lead-up to moving. Not the house listings.

So, evidence that we need to find the perfect place?
I need to do everything I can to make sure I’m happy there.

Is that true?
No.

How do I react when I believe the thought that I need to do everything I can to make sure I’m happy there?
I feel like there are a million things to do and factors to consider, and moving feels like a HUGE deal. I feel stressed and panicked, and like there’s not enough time. I stress and feel tense and like i’m being irresistably pulled towards something I have no way of preparing for.

Who would I be without the thought that I need to do everything I can to make sure I’m happy there?
I would relax, physically and mentally. I could imagine myself feeling comfortable anywhere. I would realise I could go at my own pace, and also that not much will change when I move.

Is there a stress-free reason to believe that I need to do everything I can to make sure I’m happy?
If I do that, then I’m less likely to be anxious.

Is that true?
No.

Is there a stress-free reason to believe that I need to do everything I can to make sure I’m happy there?
No.

Turn it around
– I don’t need to do everything I can to make sure I’m happy there
1. ‘Everything’ also includes some dysfunctional behaviours, like avoidance and rituals, that I shouldn’t encourage
2. Doing ‘everything’ is super stressful, which doesn’t make me happy!!
3. Whether I’m happy or anxious there actually has very little to do with the surroundings — it’s mostly internal. so I don’t have to do ‘everything’, only ‘The Work’. and I don’t even have to do that.

– I do need to do everything I can to make sure my thinking is happy there.
If I want to be happy there, I must work on my thinking. This is SO much more important than the house itself — getting myself to a point where I can feel comfortable from a place within myself is SO much more important and valuable. And long-lasting!

Evidence that we need to find the perfect place?
I need to feel safe there.

Is that true?
Oh my god. OH MY GOD. No!!! It isn’t!!

How do I react when I believe the thought that I need to feel safe there?
I stress out about moving. I feel terrified of moving and feeling unsafe. I avoid moving — I’ve avoided it for years. I avoid it because there’s no way of being certain that I’ll feel safe there. When I think about moving, my heart races and I begin to have difficulty swallowing. I imagine feeling extremely unsafe there and I get absolutely terrified. It’s awful.

Who would I be without the thought that I need to feel safe there?
I would just move. ha. haha ! HAHHAHAHA !!!

Is there a stress-free reason to believe the thought?
No.

Turn it around
– I don’t need to feel safe there.
1. I don’t feel safe here either, but I live here
2. Anxiety is the same everywhere, and my coping strategy is the same everywhere
3. It’s not a requirement to feel safe where you live — it’s not necessary for survival, or for life to go on.

– I need to feel safe in my thinking
That’s what it’s all about. If I feel safe internally, it doesn’t matter what’s up externally. And I can Work on my thinking anywhere.

Evidence that we need to find the perfect place?
None.

How do I react when I believe the thought that we need to find the perfect place?
I stress out. I obsessively check the house listings. I feel tense in my body. Even though there’s a month left before Boyfriend has to move, I feel as panicked as if there was only a week left. When I see that there are no new suitable places, I feel totally stressed and disappointed. The whole experience becomes extremely stressful.

Who would I be without the thought that we need to find the perfect place?
I would relax. I would wait til the email alerts about listings came, or if I checked obsessively it would be because it was fun. I would trust that the right place will find us, even if it doesn’t appear like my idea of the ‘right place’. Bottomline — I would trust. There would be a LOT of peace in that.

Is there a stress-free reason to believe the thought that we need to find the perfect place?
No.

Turn it around
-We don’t need to find the perfect place
1. I can learn to be happy anywhere
2. The perrfect place for us is actually whatever place we get
3. The perfect place will find me, it’s inevitable

– We need to find the imperfect place
1. Reality is never exactly like what you imagine — that’s the way it is, and therefore that’s the way it should be. So I shouldn’t find the place that perfectly matches my imagination.
2. As I said before, when a place is too perfect, it sort of freaks me out — it seems cold and clinical
3. The house I loved was definitely perfectly imperfect.

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The Work on ‘I am unhealthy’

I am unhealthy.

Is that true?
Yes.

Can I absolutely know that it’s true that I am unhealthy?
No.

How do I react when I believe the thought that I’m unhealthy?

I feel very stressed out. Life seems like too much. I feel a real sense of hopelessness about my ability to really enjoy and engage with life. I am very severe on myself in terms of my diet — I am a perfectionist for a while, which is very stressful, and thereafter I react by eating a lot of junk food. After that I feel guilty, awful about myself, and completely out of control. I feel angry at myself for making my health worse. I complain and feel scared and ‘force’ Boyfriend to support me. I avoid things, like running, going out too much, getting cold. I feel terrified when I get cold or wet, thinking it’s going to lead to illness. I spend a lot of time terrified of getting sick, and being frustrated and angry and blaming myself when I do get sick. I feel very angry at the Universe/angry at God for putting me in this defective body. In fact, I feel a lot of rage. I have lots of tantrums and feel that life is really too much for me.

Who am I without the thought ‘I am unhealthy’?
I am at peace. I have so much energy. I am happy, strong and capable. I do what I do, I eat what I eat, with a sense of total peace and strength. If I get sick, I enjoy resting, knowing that I am inherently complete and perfect. I never make decisions according to an idea of myself as damaged — I make the decisions that feel right and joyful in the moment. I feel strong, infinitely so, and infinitely capable.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I am unhealthy’?
I can get the help I need.

I need to believe I am unhealthy to get the help I need.

Is that true?
No.

I need help.

Is that true?
No.

How do I react when I believe the thought ‘I need help’?
I stress out about finding the right person or people to help me. I spend a LOT of money on appointments and medicines. This reinforces my idea of myself as damaged. I feel very small and very powerless, needing external forces. I feel very sad and discouraged when I see someone and the treatment doesn’t seem to help.

Who am I without the thought ‘I need help’?
I smile and look on everything as perfect. I love every sensation in my body and I am grateful for every twinge. I see a health practitioner when I decide to, but I know in my heart that I am perfect, and I don’t need anyone to heal me.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I need help’?
No.

Turn it around

– I don’t need help.
Three reasons why this statement is as true or truer than the original:
1. I am able to move through my daily life just fine
2. A lot can be achieved by changing my habits, which I don’t need external help to do
3. I never used to see health practitioners this often and I was just fine.

– My thinking needs help.
There is a LOT to be achieved by doing The Work on the thoughts that stand between me and my wellbeing.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I am unhealthy’?
I can modify my habits in order to live better.

Believing that I am unhealthy allows me to modify my habits.

Is that true?
No. It makes me feel not strong enough to modify my habits.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I am unhealthy’?
It’ll motivate me to go to the gym.

Is that true?
No.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I am unhealthy’?
No.

Turn it around.

– I am healthy
Reasons this statement is as true or truer than the original thought:
1. I am up and about.
2. My intellect works really well.
3. I can live on junk food.
4. I can laugh and be happy.
5. I can weed the garden.
6. I can walk for two hours.
7. I can work with weights.
8. I can do yoga.
9. I’m not depressed or anxious.
10. My thyroid is working well.
11. I can progressively relax my muscles.
12. I can have sex and have an orgasm.
13. I can sleep.
14. I can wake up.
15. I can dress myself, feed myself, go to the toilet myself, clean myself.
16. My brain works well — I have no learning issues, no epilepsy, no hallucinations.
17. I get over infections.
18. I can learn new things.
19. My fight or flight response works really well.
20. I can catch objects that are thrown to me.
21. I can run, skip and dance.
22. I can see, hear, taste and smell.
23. I can walk without assistance.
24. I can smile.
25. I can read and write.
26. I can engage with new concepts.
27. I am alive.
28. I can sing, make music and understand rhythm.

– My thinking is unhealthy
Especially about my health! There is so much Work to be done, and I’m so looking forward to doing it.

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The Work on ‘I need fear to motivate me’

I need fear to motivate me.

Is that true?

No.

How do I react when I believe the thought ‘I need fear to motivate me’?

I torture myself with an imagined future involving the consequences of doing or not doing whatever it is I’m trying to motivate myself to do or avoid. For example, I think of myself as enormously fat, ugly and ill, both now and in the future. I torture myself with images of not being good at my chosen profession, and failing my subjects at uni, in order to try and force myself to study. Of course I rebel against this. I eat a whole lot of junk food, or I don’t study for a few days, and then I feel very guilty, and angry with myself, and afraid. I believe I am not good enough, lazy, and unacceptable. I hold on to a lot of fearful thoughts because I’m afraid that, without them, I won’t get the life I want. And, in the meantime, I never get the life I want because I’m always afraid and never happy.

Who am I without the thought ‘I need fear to motivate me’?

I am at peace. Nothing matters. I do things because I want to, and I don’t do them when I don’t want to. Life is exactly as I want it to be, and I haven’t even achieved the things I think I want to achieve. I’m so relaxed and happy. It doesn’t even matter if I achieve whatever it is, or not.

Is there a peaceful reason to believe the thought ‘I need fear to motivate me’?

No.

Turn it around.

– I need love to motivate me.

I will have more lasting success and a steady stream of happiness if what I do I do out of love. For example, if I don’t eat junk food because I feel heavy and horrid afterwards, and I love myself enough to spare myself that pain. Or, I study progressively throughout semester because I love myself too much to want to stress myself out by making myself do entire assignments in a day. Or I do The Work because I love myself and the people around me enough to help myself reach peace.

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