“I” statements Often Don’t Have Three Turnarounds

Trillium flowers have three petals. But roses have five.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Stressful thoughts come in all shapes and sizes. Some are complex. Some are simple. Some involve other people. Some do not.

As a result of all these variations, turnarounds are not always the same.

The Three Standard Turnarounds

Most of the time, the three standard turnarounds work. These are the most common turnarounds that work with the vast majority of stressful thoughts.

The standard three turnarounds are the turnaround the self, to the other, and to the opposite. These turnarounds show up naturally when there is another person involved in the stressful thought—which is very common.

In fact, when you are questioning stressful thoughts from a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, you will almost always find that all three turnarounds works just fine.

For Example, Here’s a Statement from a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet

This is a typical statement from Line 2 of the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet:

“I want him to listen to me.”

And here are the standard three turnarounds:

To the self: “I want me to listen to me.”
To the other: “I want me to listen to him.”
To the opposite: “I don’t want him to listen to me.”

And your job, if you are working this statement, is to look for three examples of how each turnaround could be as true, or truer, than the original stressful thought.

These three standard turnarounds are, by far, the most common turnarounds.

But They Don’t Always Show up

Sometimes you may not be working a stressful thought from a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. Maybe you’re questioning a motive like, “I want to look good.” Or maybe you’re questioning a fear like, “I’m afraid to fly.” Or maybe it’s a self-judgment like, “I am depressed.”

In statements like these, there is no other person included. It’s not like the statement, “I want him to listen to me,” which involves both a “him” as well as a “me.”

When There’s Only One Person Involved, There Is Often Just One Turnaround

Let’s look at the statement, “I want to look good.”

Is there a turnaround to the self? Not an obvious one.

Is there a turnaround to the other? Not an obvious one.

Is there a turnaround to the opposite? Yes, “I don’t want to look good.”

There’s really just one of the standard turnarounds that is obvious. However, if you sit with it, you may find a possible turnaround to the self, “I want to look like myself.” And you may find an unusual turnaround to the other, “Others want to look good.” But these are not so obvious or standard. The main turnaround for this statement is the turnaround to the opposite.

Here’s Another Statement With Only One Person in It

“I’m afraid to fly.”

Turnaround to the self: “I’m afraid of myself.”

Turnaround to the other: N/A

Turnaround to the opposite: “I’m not afraid to fly.”

You might also want to play with the unusual turnaround, “I’m afraid of my thinking about flying.”

The work lies in finding examples for these turnarounds.

And Here’s One Final Statement to Turn Around

“I am depressed.”

Is there a turnaround to the self? No.

Is there a turnaround to the other? No.

Is there a turnaround to the opposite? Yes, “I am not depressed.”

And as you sit in meditation, you may find examples of how this one turnaround is as true.

It Doesn’t Matter How Many or How Few Turnarounds There Are

If there is just one turnaround, find examples for that one turnaround. If there are three turnarounds, find examples for each of them. If there are five or six turnarounds, find examples for them.

There’s no need to make your statement “conform” to the standard three turnarounds. I use the standard three turnarounds as a kind of checklist. I look for each one. But I’m not surprised when one or two of them are missing. And yet it’s amazing how often all three, and more, can be found.

Have a great weekend,

“The point is not to find the most turnarounds, but to find the ones that bring you the shift to self-realization, the enlightenment that sets you free from the nightmare you’re innocently attached to. Turn the original statement around any way you want to until you find the turnarounds that penetrate the most.” Byron Katie, Loving What Is

Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.