Do your visions of how peaceful things could be bring you peace or stress?
I Had a Cool Session with a Client Last Week
She had written a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on herself about how she loses her temper with her kids, and how she wants to be patient and loving and kind.
The whole worksheet was an excellent list of self-judgments worth questioning.
And as we were working, she came out with a real gem of a statement, “I want to eradicate my anger.”
It Sounded So True
So genuine. And so stressful.
So we questioned this want. And in question 3 (“How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?”) she shared how painful it is to want to eradicate her anger and not be able to. How angry she gets at herself every time she loses her temper with her children. And how easily it can lead to escape through alcohol.
She was being victimized by her own anger. Totally powerless against it.
And Without the Thought (Question 4) – Totally Different
Without the thought that she wants to eradicate her anger, she is much more tolerant of her anger and much more gentle with herself.
She is cutting herself some slack.
The thought, “I want to eradicate my anger,” was actually paralyzing her. Without it, she is not demanding perfection of herself. She became more of a “work in progress,” without so much shame or guilt. And she is actually more motivated to grow and change.
And the Turnaround Led Deeper
The turnaround was, “I don’t want to eradicate my anger.” At first, it sounded counter-intuitive. But she soon found that being angry with her kids was better than holding it in.
This led to an underlying belief that she was hurting or damaging her children with her anger, which was not 100% true for her. In fact, it could be giving her kids permission to show their emotions too, as well as practicing dealing with their mother’s anger when it comes. She remarked, “How else will they have their own stuff to work on?”
In any case, she found that her anger was also very understandable considering that her husband died only a year ago, and she and her kids are still adjusting.
For Me, This Is Compassion Toward the Self
There’s a difference between justification and understanding. And this work was all about gaining understanding and compassion for herself.
Then the self-attack slows down a bit, and The Work on what started the war can begin: worksheets on her children.
Have a great weekend,
“Once investigated, these self-judgments simply melt away. I have yet to see an inquiry that didn’t reveal innocence—innocence in others and innocence in ourselves.” — Byron Katie, Loving What Is