Just for fun, I have started using the inquiry techniques from Byron Katie’s The Work on Facebook memes. I had two come through my feed that are in direct opposition to each other, that inspired me to try this out.
The first says “If someone treats you bad, just remember there is something wrong with them, not you. Normal people don’t go around destroying other people.” The second one says “Never reject anybody in your life, because good people give us happiness and bad people give us experience. Both are essential in life.”
Is it True?
I am going to deconstruct the first one so this doesn’t take forever to read. Is it true that if someone treats you badly, something is wrong with them, not you? Is it true that Normal people don’t go around destroying other people? My immediate psychological knowledge of mediation and doing investigations can surface proof that if someone treats you badly, there are many possible sources of why that is occurring. My spiritual knowledge tells me that these types of things are co-created. I also would be curious about what is normal, and how another can destroy me.
Can you absolutely know it is true?
Since I can argue against a few assumptions in the meme, I do not believe that this could ever absolutely be true.
How do you react, what happens when you believe this thought?
If I believed that something was wrong with other people, I would be less empathetic. It would entrench me in separation. It would lead to ways I could judge others and justify it. I would feel like a victim. I would begin searching for normal people, who may be people who have the same woundedness as me or see the world with the same beliefs I do. I would close off from other options. I would feel defensive.
Who would I be without the thought?
Ironically, I would be a bit like the second meme. I would be open to how this experience is happening for me instead of to me. I would be free. I would know I have the opportunity to change my experience.
Possible turnarounds of that thought could be:
- If (I feel like) someone treats me badly, something is wrong with me (my view of the situation). How do I know this is true? When I have used curious questions to understand others or what they have done, I don’t experience it the same way. When I have used non-violent communication, the situation has often turned out to be about needs.
- Others treating me badly is not in my control. My problem is how I experience or view it. How do I know this is true? I know that I cannot control others. I have found techniques like not judging an experience as good or bad can completely change my emotional experience.
- Normal people DO go around destroying other people. How do I know this is true? Normal is a word that can subtly be used to control how the world is supposed to be according to your world view. As a leader, sometimes we make decisions that will mean people have to change, or they need to leave the organization – essentially destroying them. No matter what the specific circumstances are, two world views clashed – and that is common and therefore normal. This sentence is inherently dangerous and controlling in some ways.
What happens when you do turnarounds?
For me, I find that eventually my beliefs are the source of my pain. My thoughts are the source of pain. If I view the world without my thoughts or beliefs as a point of reference, there is an openness, a peacefulness and an incredible freedom.