Do You Ever Feel Obligated To Say, “I Love You?”


Your lover turns to you and tenderly says, “I love you.”

How do you react?

Does your heart open wide with love? Or do you feel a sense of obligation to reply with an equally tender “I love you”?

Notice the subtle way that we start to deceive our partners and ourselves when we act out of a sense of obligation. Do you feel the subtle closing of your heart, and the growing distance that this creates?

The Problem Is Not Your Partner’s Honest “I Love You”

The problem is our unwillingness to be honest to ourselves. Maybe right now we don’t feel like saying “I love you.” Maybe we’re just not thinking about love at all.

So why don’t we just say, “Thank you”? And take in the love that comes to us as a gift to nourish us?

Why do we complicate things by trying to please the other person? Why do we feel obligated to say “I love you too”?

The other person is already full of love. They just told us so. What could they possibly need from us? They give. We receive. It’s so simple. And as the recipient of their love we become the luckiest person in the world.

When we really receive another person’s love and take it in, we often do feel real love inside. And who knows, we may even find the words to express it.

But Why Do We Step Out Of Our Integrity To Say It?

We step out of our integrity because we are believing something. We are believing that there will be consequences if we don’t reciprocate.

Things like, “They will be hurt if I don’t say I love you too.” Or, “They will get mad at me.” Or, “They will leave me.” Or “They will think I’m no longer interested in them.”

If you really want to find freedom on the other side of “I love you,” then question the thoughts that keep you feeling obligated to say it.

Here’s One Way To Do It

Fill in the blank…

“If I don’t say ‘I love you’ then my partner will __________ .”

You might find a list of things. You may find lots of imagined consequences. Write them all down and take them to The Work.

“They will get mad at me.” Is that true? Can you absolutely know it’s true? Question these beliefs as if your relationship depends on it, and find out the truth. And then test what you find in real life.

You Can Do This With Your Mother, Father, Sister, Or Lover

If you really want to get to the bottom of it, find a specific situation where you said “I love you” out of a sense of obligation. And write a whole Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet on the person you said it to, and what they would have done if you had not said it.

You may find a whole new way of relating to them after you question these fears. The sense of obligation falls away as you honor your integrity. And integrity is the basis for true love.


Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. By continuing to question his own beliefs and fears using The Work, he is able to support you as you question yours. To find out how to do The Work with Todd, visit his website here.

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Why Would You Welcome Sorrow?

If you’ve ever done The Work of Byron Katie, you’ve probably experienced that your fears, your cruelness, and your sorrows can be your greatest teachers.

Sorrow is a starting point for self-inquiry. And through The Work it leads us back to peace.

With this in mind, Rumi’s poem is a fitting invitation:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

© 1997 by Coleman Barks. All rights reserved.
From The Illuminated Rumi.


Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. If you would like to do The Work with Todd, you can make an appointment here.

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If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your autoresponder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it.

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Keeping The Spirit of The Work

Starting on July 5, 2010, the day my mom, step-brother, and sister-in-law died in a plane crash, I spent the next couple of months trying to make sense of it.

Here’s what I knew. My mom was a pilot with over 1000 hours of flight time. The day they crashed was extremely hot. The propeller hit the runway when they were attempting to land and was damaged. They crashed about a half mile from the airport.

I visited the crash site. I calculated the time they must have been aware of their impending doom (about 30 seconds). I tried to figure out the physics of the crash. And I looked for all the details of the crash that I could find, in the hopes of understanding it. In the hopes of going back in time and avoiding the inevitable. In the hopes of fixing it.

I was obsessed. I played the imagined crash scenario over and over in my mind that summer in a vain attempt to make sense of it.

Until I Realized That It Would Never Bring Me Peace

I could have read every detail of the crash report. I could have studied every aspect of the accident. I could have interviewed the air traffic controllers who saw the crash. I could have watched the videos from the security cameras that captured the event.

I could have made it my life’s work to find out exactly what happened, to analyze every scrap of metal, but it would have never brought the peace that I so badly wanted.

That’s because figuring it out is not the same as finding peace. Peace comes from accepting reality. Making friends with that which you cannot change.

And That Is What The Work Is All About

The Work is about making friends with reality. It is not about figuring things out. The Work is about finding the truth. Finding reality and taking it in fully. And noticing that peace follows when the truth is accepted.

The Work is not analysis, or psychotherapy. It is not journaling. It is not diagnosis. The Work has one singe purpose: to help us love reality just the way it is. This is the spirit of The Work.

Have a great week,

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Why It’s More Effective To Write Out The Work Than To Do It In Your Head

Think of your trip to the supermarket. You got the milk, you got the cheese, you got the pasta. Darn! Why did you forget the olives? You should have remembered the olives considering the olives were the reason you set out in the first place.

Many people don’t want to write down their shopping list. And it seems logical not to write it down. After all, you’ve got things right most of the time. But it’s when you get it wrong that it becomes a real chore to go back and forth.

Same Thing Happens When You Do The Work

You may think that you’ll be much more likely to do The Work if you can do it in your head instead of writing it on paper. You may think, “It takes time to write it out. It’s too much work.”

After all, you think, “It’s better to do The Work quickly in my head than to not do it at all.”

But If You Take This Tactic, You’ll Be Missing Out

Even Einstein would have had trouble doing The Work in his head. That’s because it is much too easy to skim over the important parts when you do it all mentally. And because it’s much harder to be objective.

Let’ s look at these two problems individually.

1. You Tend To Skim Over It When You Do The Work In Your Head

You may have every good intention to sit down and question a stressful thought that you believe. But when you do The Work in your head, it’s easy to get distracted.

Even at the best of times, there may be a million thoughts running around your head. This makes it hard to keep things straight. How can you turn the thought around when you can’t remember what the original thought was?

Writing has the advantage of giving you a snap shot of the mind. This makes it much more easy to keep track of things. And when you keep track of things, you can go much deeper in The Work.

But this is just half of it. The second reason is even more important.

2. It’s Harder To Be Objective In Your Head

This is the inevitable problem of subjectivity. When you do things in your head, you can’t always be objective. The problem is that the mind has a vested interest in preventing you from seeing the truth.

The mind really likes to be right. In that sense, it’s not objective at all. In fact, it has a strong bias for holding onto it’s beliefs. It has a huge network of support for each and every belief that it holds dear.

It doesn’t matter to the mind if a thought causes you stress or not, it fights with everything it has to hold on to what it knows. That’s why the mind resists The Work.

It Resists It Because The Work A Challenge To The Mind

In essence, when you do The Work, you are considering if the mind might just be wrong. The mind does not take this sitting down. It must defend itself. And to defend itself the mind has a million tactics.

For example, it can simply change the subject. It can offer up an example that proves it’s right. It can make you feel tired. Or it can tell you that you’re hungry just when things get interesting.

The mind can become a very devious character when its beliefs are challenged. That’s why doing The Work on paper is much more effective than trying to navigate the mind’s stormy seas without assistance.

A stressful thought on paper, doesn’t change and morph the way it does inside your head. Paper brings accountability, and it strongly aids you as you question the foxy mind.

This Is What Professionals Do

Scientists don’t just observe things, they keep good records of what they see. This greatly increases their ability to draw reliable conclusions.

Business owners don’t just say, “We’re doing pretty good.” They hire accountants to nail down exactly what is going on so they don’t get fooled.

Even artists keep good records. A chef takes notes so she can refine a recipe. A photographer takes notes of f-stops and shutter speeds so that he can learn from his mistakes.

If You Try To Do It In Your Head You’ll Probably Not Make It Very Far

The Work is a challenge to the mind’s beliefs. Those beliefs may be completely wrong, but it doesn’t matter to the mind. It will do everything it can to fool you.

The only way to loosen the mind’s grip on it’s stressful beliefs is to be completely objective. And a good way to be more objective is to write down the stressful thoughts, and do The Work on them on paper.

When you write things down you’ll go further in The Work. Just as you do when you go shopping. When you write a list it’s much harder to forget the olives.

Here’s An Experiment

Find two stressful thoughts. For example, “John should call more often,” and “Molly should treat her mother better.” Find something stressful for you. Something that’s on your mind.

For the first thought, sit in a chair, close your eyes, and run through the four questions and turnarounds of The Work without writing anything down.

For the second thought, go through the same process, but this time write everything down. Write in complete sentences, like you would if you were talking to a facilitator.

Then, go back and compare the experiences. Which one made it easier to be objective?


Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. He has been helping people question their stressful thoughts for over four years. Just as writing helps keep things objective, so also facilitation helps you be objective when you do The Work.

You can make an appointment to do The Work with Todd here.

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If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your auto-responder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it.

As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article. No textual amendments permitted. Only exception is Twitter.

©2010-2011 Todd Smith, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Looking For Work And Not Getting Any Interviews?

A swimmer was just ten feet from shore, but he thought he couldn’t make it. The waves were knocking him around and he was scared to death.

He was actually a decent swimmer, but somehow panic had overtaken him. All that he could do was thrash his arms and wave for help.

Are You Thrashing Around In Your Search For A Job?

Panic can seriously impact your ability to find a job.

Panic is a sensation of fear that is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking. When you’re looking for a job, it can take weeks or even months for panic to take over your thinking. But when it does, you become as helpless as a drowning man.

When You Start The Job Search, You May Be Feeling Quite Enthusiastic

You may start looking for work in the newspaper, scanning for all the jobs that sound appealing. You put together a nice appealing resume, and submit it to all the places where you’d like to work.

This enthusiasm may even continue for a week, or month, or longer. You keep putting out the word that you’re available, and you hold high hopes that you will soon land a decent job.

But Then Something Shifts Inside Of You

You’ve now left your resume with over 20 businesses. And not one business has called you for an interview.

This is when the panic starts to surface. It starts as a little funny feeling in your stomach, a flip flop in the solar plexus. And from there it grows. Frustration builds on this little funny feeling, and soon you’re starting to feel angry, and rather hopeless.

You see the very real demands of life around you. And you see your inability to meet those demands. You have to feed your family. You have to pay the rent. Your life flashes before your very eyes, and you become desperate to find a way to make it work.

And Ironically This Desperation Slows You Down

Like a drowning man who flails his arms in desperation, your internal kicking and screaming keep you from getting out and doing what you need to do.

In his panic, the swimmer doesn’t think to swim towards shore. He doesn’t think he can. And when you panic in your job search, you slow down or stop putting out your resume. You’re too busy believing that there’s no hope.

A lifeguard may pinch a drowning man to jolt him out of this state of panic. But how can you break through the panic that you’re feeling as you’re looking for a job?

One Way Is To Question Your Stressful Thoughts

You probably have a lot of stressful thoughts about your job search. Take a moment to jot them down.

For example, you may be thinking, “I’ve got to pay the rent.” Or you may be thinking, “I have to find a job that uses my skills.” Or you may find thoughts like, “This company should hire me,” or “They will reject me,” or “I’m not good enough,” or “Hunting for a job is no fun.”

All of these thoughts can be questioned.

What Does It Mean To Question Stressful Thoughts?

The method that I like to use to question stressful thoughts is called The Work of Byron Katie. You can learn how to do the The Work in detail on my website.

In short, when you do The Work, you take a stressful thought like, “I’ve got to pay the rent,” and you ask yourself, “Is that true?” This may seem strange at first. “Of course, I have to pay the rent.” But look again, is it really true?

In essence you’re asking, “What happens if I don’t pay the rent?” You may be thinking that it would be really crushing if you had to ask for help. You might think that everyone will abandon you, or that your friends and family would think less of you.

But when you question things, you may find that these fears have no basis in reality. When you question what you have been taking for granted, you may find that life is not as desperate as you thought. And when you see things more clearly, the panic starts to settle down.

But This Is An Oversimplification

You may be thinking that questioning thoughts is not going to help you get a job. It sounds impractical. It may seem like it even takes you backwards. What you really need to do is to keep knocking on more doors.

To understand the vital role that questioning your stressful thoughts plays in your job search, let’s go back to the drowning man analogy.

To Get To Shore, The Drowning Man Must Swim

There’s no substitute for putting one arm in front of the other, and kicking with his feet. But in his panicked state, the swimmer has become frozen, and he is sinking. Before he can take the necessary strokes to get him safely to the shore, he must first overcome the panic.

Likewise, to get a job in a tough economy you have to overcome your panic. You may well understand that you have to keep knocking on lots of doors to get an interview. But when you’re panicked, you’re frozen in your tracks.

Panic is irrational. It’s held up by false assumptions. When you question these false assumptions and find the truth, the panic falls away. And as the panic leaves you, it becomes much easier to do everything you have to do to get an interview.

To Summarize

We unnecessarily handicap ourselves when we start to panic. We paralyze ourselves with fear when we can’t get an interview. And this makes it even harder to find a job.

But when we question the beliefs that hold up our panicked state, we become more rational again. The Work of Byron Katie is a systematic way to question your stressful beliefs.

You Can Get Started Right Away

You can try doing The Work of Byron Katie on your own today. Download the One-Belief-At-A-Time Worksheet here and print it out.

First, identify a stressful thought about your job search and write it on the worksheet. For example, “Hunting for a job is no fun.” Then simply follow the instructions on the worksheet.

The waves of life may be knocking you around. But if all you do is thrash your arms and wave for help like a drowning swimmer, you’ll never take the steps you need to take to get to shore.


When you are new to The Work, you may have more success with it if you work with a facilitator. You can make an appointment to do The Work with me here.

About This Article

If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your autoresponder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it.

As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article. No textual amendments permitted. Only exception is Twitter.

©2010-2011 Todd Smith, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Why Are Some Beliefs So Hard To Overcome?

In 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus published a revolutionary idea that the Earth revolved around the Sun. But it took 200 years for the Copernican model to be accepted.

To confirm the theory, the work of many other scientists was needed: Tycho Brahe, Galileo Galilei, Giordano Bruno and Isaac Newton.

For such a well established belief to fall, there had to be loads of solid evidence. Especially when this theory implied that the Church, the authority of the day, was wrong.

Do You Have Any Well Established Beliefs Like This?

Have you ever noticed that some stuff is written on your mind like it is written on rock? You do The Work on these beliefs but it keeps bouncing back.

What’s going on? Why do some thoughts resist questioning so much?

It’s not because they aren’t painful. Some very painful beliefs persist in the face of inquiry. And it’s not because these beliefs are rock solid theories of life. There are some pretty shoddy ideas that still resist questioning.

So why do our core beliefs resist questioning?

Our Core Beliefs Persist For Two Main Reasons

1. Because we’re not really open to questioning them

2. Because we don’t do enough research to prove them wrong

This is exactly what happened to the Copernican model of the universe. The Church was not open to opposing theories. And it took centuries to gather enough evidence to prove that the Church was wrong.

And the same thing can happen to us when we’re doing The Work.

We May Think We’re Open When We’re Not

Have you ever sat down to do The Work and found that you just can’t sink into it? You might answer the questions with a wave of the hand. Or you might simply be unable to find genuine examples of the turnaounds.

In these cases it may seem that The Work doesn’t work for us. We were just as stuck after doing The Work as before.

It could be that we were not really open to answering the questions. We may have answered them somewhat, but our mind was not willing to look for real evidence. This lack of openness keeps us from finding the truth.

And it keeps us from another thing.

It Keeps Us From Doing Enough Research To Prove The Point

For the Copernican theory to be accepted, it took 200 years of research to come up with enough solid evidence to support it in the face of the Church’s opposition.

When we do The Work, it’s easy to give up too soon in the face of our own internal opposition. This is especially true when looking for examples of the turnarounds. And when we give up too soon, we go back to the old paradigm. Until the new theory is proven, the old one still stands.

That’s why we keep on believing the same thing, even after doing The Work.

But if You’re Serious About The Work, You’ll Keep Looking For Examples

Let’s say you’re working on a core belief that “I have to be successful.” The turnaround is “I don’t have to be successful.” This may sound nice at first, kind of like a dream. “I don’t have to be successful. How nice.” And you may find some examples of how you would be OK even if you weren’t successful. But you don’t really believe it.

And when you’re done with The Work, you can feel how you still believe the thought. “I have to be successful.” It’s still sitting there. So what to do? The Work didn’t seem to work the first time. Should you do it again? And how long should you keep on working a stressful belief that is so firmly embedded in your mind?

The Answer Is: It Depends

It depends on how interested in finding out the truth you really are. Maybe you’re just not that open right now. Who knows, you may be more open at some other time.

But if you are open to continuing the inquiry, then here are three suggestions that can help when you’re dealing with a core belief that seems like it’s etched in stone.

1. Focus on Specifics

2. Come at it from different angles

3. Test it in real life

Let’s look at each of these one by one.

1. Keep Inquiry Focused On Specifics

Galileo didn’t try to prove the Copernican model in general. He focused on the phases of Venus. And from looking there, he soon found solid evidence to support the theory in general.

When you start to do The Work on the concept, “I have to be successful,” your mind may have trouble getting a handle on the concept. It’s too general. What does successful look like? Successful at what? The lack of specifics is a handicap.

But if you think of a specific time when this thought came up for you. Or if you wait for the next time that this thought pops up. Then you have a specific situation to deal with. And specifics are always easier for the mind to handle.

For example, maybe the thought, “I have to be successful,” came to you the last time you visited the house of a friend who is successful. The specifics of that situation will give you a plethora of concrete examples as you do The Work.

Do The Work on “I have to be successful” from that situation and you will be much more likely to find something convincing as you do The Work.

This brings us to the second thing that can help as you question a core belief.

2. Come At Your Core Belief From Different Angles

If you’re getting nowhere doing The Work on your belief, “I have to be successful,” then keep an eye out for as many real life examples as you can.

Maybe last week, the thought came up, “I have to be successful,” when you were playing cards with a friend. Another time, you had the thought when you were choosing a major in college. And just today, the thought popped up when someone criticized your work.

These are all real life examples of how this belief, “I have to be successful,” is operating. By doing The Work on “I have to be successful” in each of these real life situations, more and more of the pieces of the puzzle will come together.

For deep beliefs, you may end up doing The Work on them dozens of times using dozens of different situations as reference points. Over time, the belief will weaken as the evidence continues to pour in from all sides.

And this brings us to the third thing that can help with stressful core beliefs.

3. Test Your Turnarounds In Real Life

Do what the scientists have always done. Test it. It’s one thing to see intellectually that “I don’t have to be successful.” This is a turnaround. But it does not become a living turnaround until you try it out in real life.

You might test it one day like this. You’re playing cards with your friends, and instead of trying to win, you back off a bit and see how it goes. This is a living turnaround. You’re testing the idea that “I don’t have to be successful.”

This is practicing what you preach. It’s asking the question, “Does the real world uphold the turnaround or not?” If you test it, you’ll find out. And as you keep testing, more evidence will keep pouring in. Evidence that eventually will turn the tide.

So Let’s Summarize

Some core beliefs persist even after doing a session of The Work on them because we’re not really open to questioning those beliefs, and we don’t persist in finding evidence to prove them wrong. These beliefs are deeper, and more dear to us. And they need special treatment.

If you are open to doing The Work on your most precious beliefs, here are three things to help:

1. Focus on Specifics

2. Come at it from different angles

3. Test it in real life

This is what the scientists did to prove that the Earth revolves around the Sun. They focused on specifics. They came at it from different angles. And they tested it. The result of their efforts has changed the way we view the world.

The same thing happens when you do The Work. If you put these three points to practice, you will eventually uncover the truth. Not just intellectually, but in the core of your being.


Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie, and can help you go deeper in your work. Find out how you can schedule a longer session with Todd.

About This Article

If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your autoresponder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it.

As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article. No textual amendments permitted. Only exception is Twitter.

©2010-2011 Todd Smith, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Why The Air Traffic Effect Is Making You A Slave To Your PDA

“Good afternoon Caldwell Tower, This is Seven-Six-Four-Charlie-Delta, with you at 3000 feet.”

“Seven-Six-Four-Charlie-Delta, please climb to 3500.”

“Climbing to 3500, Charlie-Delta.”

At any given time there may be over 200 airplanes in the airspace around New York City. And Caldwell Tower in nearby New Jersey has to direct a lot of them.

In fact, Caldwell Tower can’t take even a second of down time if it’s going to keep all those airplanes safe.

Has Your PDA Become The Control Tower For An Endless Stream Of Traffic?

If it has, you may need some regulation. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States has been regulating air traffic controller fatigue for decades. But when it comes to you and your PDA, there’s no one regulating your behavior but you.

Do you feel like you can’t take even a second of downtime from your work? Do you find yourself texting during dinner, or late at night? Does your spouse complain because you never spend much time together?

These are all signs that your PDA has wirelessly attached itself to your cerebral cortex. And you may want to reexamine how this setup is working for you.

Let’s Remember What A PDA Was Designed For

PDA stands for “Personal Digital Assistant.” Notice the word, “assistant” in the name of the device itself. The name is not, “Personal Digital Slave Master.”

Yet, this is the way we tend to treat our PDA’s. Like they are more important than any bit of personal life that we may have. When the phone rings, if it’s from work, no matter who we’re talking with in person, we interrupt to take the call.

When we’re at home, or out to dinner, do we ignore our text messages? Of course not. We wouldn’t want to miss a single thing. And yet we miss the very thing that we keep working for: our time off.

But Let’s Get Practical. How Does This Affect Your Work?

Have you noticed that your enthusiasm for work starts to wane when you are always tethered to your job? You get up to face another day, but your heart is not completely into it. The only down time that you may have had was sleep, and not enough of that.

When you’re at work trying to type up a big report, do you switch off your phone? Oh no. You let the endless stream of air traffic continue to use you as its central control tower.

You answer emails and text messages in between writing paragraphs, heck even in mid sentence, when you’re writing a big proposal. And you take almost all the calls, no matter how unimportant they may be.

In Essence You Tell The World, “I Am Your Most Obedient Servant”

And you back it up, by letting the demands of your PDA override your own plans time and time again.

This can drive you crazy. This can ruin your family life. And this can make you much less effective at your job.

So How Can You Find Balance?

Well, you can try tricks for managing your time. You can even bury your phone in the back yard in an attempt to get free.

But the problem is actually not your PDA, it’s what you’re believing about your PDA that’s holding you captive. And more importantly, what you’re believing about all those people who send you messages.

Until you question your stressful beliefs about these things, you will eventually cave in and break your “no usage” rules. Despite your best intentions, you will dig up the phone from your back yard and go back to the same old ways.

But When You Question What You Believe You Can Get Free

Take a look at your beliefs. For example, you may be assuming that your boss will get angry with you if you shut off your phone for two hours while you work on your big report. But is that really true? It’s possible that she would be upset, especially if you don’t tell her your plans ahead of time.

But in reality, your boss may be very happy that you’ve blocked off the time for such an important project.

And Don’t Stop There. Question Everything

Maybe you’re thinking that you’ll never be able to keep up with your email if you don’t check it all the time. Perhaps you think that you’ll lose a customer if you don’t pick up on the first ring. Maybe you believe that people won’t like you if you’re inattentive to their texts.

When you question all these things, you may find that customers are not as demanding as you think. You may find that your colleagues’ problems can sometimes wait.. And you may find that people like you for lots of other reasons besides your email etiquette.

This Questioning Can Open Up A Whole New World

When you question your stressful thoughts, you may find that you have options. You may find that you can set the rules. And you may find that people will respect you when you do.

So How Do You Question Your Beliefs?

The method that I use is called The Work of Byron Katie. It is a simple set of four questions and something called “turnarounds” that you can apply of any stressful thought. It’s easy to learn how to do The Work in detail on my website.

When you use The Work to question your stressful thoughts about your PDA, you may discover that the shackles of your slavery exist only in your mind.

But Will Questioning My Stressful Thoughts Make Me Become Complacent?

You may be thinking that by questioning your thoughts about your PDA, you will end up throwing it away, or ignoring it completely. And you may fear you’ll lose your job.

The Work does not promote complacency. The Work is simply a way for you to look more objectively at your situation. By questioning your stressful thoughts, you remove the blinders that have held you hostage.

And when you see things more clearly, you probably won’t throw your PDA away. Instead, you’ll start to use the PDA for what it was designed: to be your handy assistant.

When you question your stressful thoughts, you may find that that your PDA is a powerful tool in your hands, but it’s not your master.

I Had A Problem Like This Once

It wasn’t with a PDA. I didn’t own one at the time. Rather, I had a problem with email. I checked my email almost every minute. I couldn’t get through a project without getting distracted. And I felt like I was a slave to my inbox.

The solution to this problem came unexpectedly. One day I got frustrated at someone because she did not reply to my email promptly. I did The Work on the concept, “She should reply within 24 hours.”

And I Woke Up To What I Was Believing

As I went through the process of questioning this stressful thought, I started to see how I apply that very dogma to myself: “I have to reply within 24 hours.”

Except that I twisted it a bit so it came out something like this, “I have to reply within 24 minutes!” That thought is what made my email life so stressful.

Having questioned that thought, I now check email only two or three times a day. And I have a lot more time for uninterrupted work. That is the value of questioning stressful thoughts.


Your PDA is your digital assistant. It is there to serve your needs, not the other way around. And that’s all fine to say and hear. But you can’t force yourself to to live by the truth of it unless you question what you’re believing about it.

If you want to overcome your mental slavery, you have to question the assumptions that keep you tied to your PDA. Question anything that prevents you from leading a more balanced life.

The Work of Byron Katie is a way to systematically question these stressful thoughts.

Next Step

Here is an exercise. Download a One-Belief-At-A-Time Worksheet. For twenty minutes, switch off your PDA. On the worksheet, write down one reason why you have to be a slave to your PDA. Then, follow the instructions on the worksheet to question this concept.

After twenty minutes, when you are done, switch on your PDA again. You may find that this device seems a little less threatening than it did before you questioned your beliefs.

And You may notice that you don’t feel so obligated to be on call every hour of the day, as if you were an air traffic controller at Caldwell Tower.


Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. He has been doing The Work and facilitating it for others for over four years. To learn more about The Work and how to do it, visit his website,

About This Article

If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your autoresponder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it.

As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article. No textual amendments permitted. Only exception is Twitter.

©2010-2011 Todd Smith, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Three Ways To Make Peace With Your Ex-Husband

Try this the next time you pick up the kids.

Tell your ex-husband that you hate him. Tell him that you’re going to do everything in your power to make sure he sees nothing of the kids. Start screaming and kicking, and come down hard with your fist on his car.

Not only will this make him mad, it will get you upset as well. This approach will keep you feeling angry for hours, if not days. Your creative energy gets zapped. And where did all the enthusiasm for spending time with your kids go?

This Is What Happens When You Don’t Make Peace

Your life becomes a living hell. You can’t sleep at night. You can’t work at work. All you think about is the injustice of the situation. And it gets you down.

So how can you make peace with your ex? A powerful tool to help is called The Work of Byron Katie. It’s a process of writing down your stressful thoughts and then questioning them.

When you do The Work on you ex-husband, you stop feeling like a victim, and start seeing how much influence you actually have on the situation, and on your own happiness.

But It’s Him That’s The Problem, Not Me!

The Work is not about condoning bad behavior. Your ex may well be the perpetrator.

The Work is about your happiness. So ask yourself: how is your battle-readiness affecting you? How is your defensiveness affecting your happiness? It’s your life we’re talking about. How do you want to live?

When you use The Work to question stressful thoughts about your ex-husband, you will find how you make you unhappy. The Work is about learning how you can free yourself from the stress. And when you do, it will be much easier to deal with him.

Three Ways To Make Peace With Your Ex

The Work is a series of questions (learn how to do The Work here) that you can apply to any stressful thoughts or beliefs.

Here are three ways to use The Work to find peace within yourself about your ex. If you do The Work on these, you may find your freedom creeping back inside.

Here are three main areas worth questioning.

1. My ex-husband needs to change.
2. My ex-husband hurt me.
3. My ex-husband is a bad influence on the kids.

Let’s look at each one of these area one by one.

1. My Ex-Husband Needs To Change

This is a powerful belief. And it doesn’t have to be tackled all at once. The most effective way to bring this concept to The Work is to make a list of all ways you think he should change. Then take each item on the list to The Work to question it.

Here’s a sample list. You should create your own, though you’re welcome to use anything you see here that resonates with you. Remember, the more specific your complaints the better.

He shouldn’t call me so much.
He should have the kids ready when I pick them up.
He should respect my time.
He shouldn’t argue with me.
He should send child support on time.

When you have your list, and it can go on for a while, take each item one by one and do The Work on it. A facilitator can help you quite a lot. As you look at each item and question it, you’ll start to see things differently. And you may notice a growing freedom as you start to see things differently.

As these concepts start to loosen, you may want to look at the second area worth questioning with The Work.

2. My Ex-Husband Hurt Me

The second way to use The Work to make peace with your ex is to question all the ways that you believe he hurt you.

Again, make a list. Fill in the blank like this. "My ex-husband hurt me by…" Your list might look like this.

He left me for another woman.
He thought his work was more important.
He treated me with contempt (specifically how and when)
He destroyed our marriage (specifically how)
He won’t talk to me without being cold.

This list can go on. You may gain momentum as you write. Just get it out on paper. And then take each concept to The Work. As you work this list you will find your part in things, but more importantly you will find how you can free yourself from your pain.

But don’t stop there. If you want to get freer still, it’s time to question one more concept.

3. My Ex-Husband Is A Bad Influence On The Kids

This concept has many branches, just like the other two. And when you question each part of it, you’ll come to peace with the role your ex-husband plays for your children.

This time, list all the ways you think he is a bad influence (especially the ones that make you mad).

He doesn’t make them do their homework.
He curses in front of them.
He talks bad about me in front of them.
He lets them watch too much TV.
He has never aimed very high in life.

Again, your list may be much longer, though one concept is enough to start. When you’ve got your list, take each item to inquiry, by doing The Work on it. You’ll find growing compassion for your ex, and more peace within yourself.

But Don’t Try To Do It All In One Day

This is a project.  It may take some time work through all the concepts you have written.  Keep the list, but don’t get overwhelmed by it.  Just work one concept at a time and use The Work as a way to find the truth.


If you want peace within yourself, a powerful way to get it is to use The Work to question all the stressful thoughts about your ex-husband. Three big concepts worth bringing to The Work are "My ex-husband needs to change," "My ex-husband hurt me," and "My ex-husband is a bad influence on the kids."

If you are caught in these beliefs, they will keep you angry. And they will keep you gathering the evidence, which makes you even angrier. When you list all the supporting evidence for these beliefs and question them with The Work, your anger has no choice but to subside.

And when the anger subsides, you don’t have to try the kicking and the screaming, or the fist upon the car. No, you can pick up the kids you love and move along. You’ve got a life again.


Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. To learn more about The Work go to

About This Article

If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your autoresponder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it.

As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article. No textual amendments permitted. Only exception is Twitter.

©2010-2011 Todd Smith, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Are Arguments Ruining Your Relationship?

Underwater, in the shadow of a fallen and submerged tree lurks a four pound largemouth bass. This fish is hungry, and is stalking its territory for something good to eat.

Suddenly a fishing lure wobbles past this hungry fish. In a flash, the fish responds and grabs the bait. But what a surprise! Instead of tasty nourishment, the fish is now fighting for its life.

Like A Fish, We Take The Bait Every Time We Argue

Our partner makes a critical remark, and bang, like a fish, we swallow the lure, hook and all. And we feel the sharp pain immediately.

And Then What Happens?

We withdraw, don’t we? We pull back, and put some distance in between ourselves and the one we love. The cold treatment crops up immediately, and it can last for days, or weeks, or months, or even years.

Do you ever wonder how some relationships drift apart? It can start with a simple hurt, and the distance grows from there.

But It Gets Worse Than That

The cold treatment, though viciously intended and uncomfortable to bear, is only part of it. When you think you’ve been hurt in an argument, you start looking for ways to attack. Your lover is no longer your lover, he or she becomes your enemy.

You watch everything your partner does, hoping to see when he or she trips up. And then you jump in like a tiger for the kill. Compassion is not even a second thought. You want to catch your spouse red-handed. You want vengeance.

This is the kind of vengeance that used to set up family feuds for generations. One family would kill someone, and then the other would avenge the killing. Back and forth the killing would continue for centuries. Hate building on hate.

So How Do We Stop The Hate?

To stop the hate, we have to slow things down. We can’t depend on instincts. When instincts rule, we grab the bait every time, just like the fish. A fish has no choice when instincts rule.

But we are not fish. We are not bound by instinct alone. We are way more intelligent than that. If we were a fish under water, with our full human intelligence intact, we might swim on over to the lure and check it out.

“Is it really food?” we might think. “I remember when Bob got picked up by a lure once. Could this be one of those? Let’s take a look. Is there a hook inside this juicy morsel? Or is this just plastic? It looks a lot like other lures I have seen.”

When You Slow Things Down, You See The Truth

And when you see the truth, you avoid the pain. When you slow things down, you see that you have a choice in how you want to interpret what your spouse is saying.

Is he being critical? Or is he actually trying to be helpful? Maybe he’s being critical just because he’s feeling stressed about something else. Or maybe he’s trying to tell you something, and knows no other way to do it.

These more generous thoughts don’t arise when you’re working from the level of instinct. You just grab onto what he says and start thrashing, fighting for your life.

But How Do You Slow Things Down?

This seems like an impossible task. There’s no time in an argument to slow it down. In the blink of an eye, you are engaged in full scale warfare. How can you possibly slow it down and avoid the pain?

The answer is, you can’t always slow things down in the moment. But you can take what happened and examine it closely afterwards. And when it happens next time, you’ll be much more aware of what is happening. You will see choices (other than swallowing the bait) even in the split second before the argument begins.

So How Do You Examine Things After An Argument?

My favorite way to do it, is a process called The Work of Byron Katie. The process starts out by filling in a Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet. After the argument, you sit down by yourself and write down all the judgments, all the injustices, that you were feeling when you were in the thick of the argument.

Then you take that written snapshot of your stressed-out mind and bring it to a facilitation session. Your facilitator of The Work will help you question the validity of everything you put on paper. The things you took for granted in that situation can be questioned. And you may find that your partner wasn’t as vicious as you thought.

The Work is not about changing your partner or your spouse. The Work is about taking responsibility for your own happiness. In this simple, introspective process you may discover that your peace is not your partner’s responsibility, it’s yours. And you can remain peaceful even when your partner is apparently attacking you.

But Isn’t Arguing Healthy?

Some people say that arguing makes a healthy relationship. It’s true, speaking your mind is healthy. And disagreeing is healthy too. It represents integrity. And all strong relationships are built on integrity.

But if a certain threshold is crossed, and the argument hurts our pride, then the disagreement becomes a wedge to drive us apart. It’s not the verbal disagreement that’s at fault. It’s the way we are interpreting the disagreement that hurts.

By doing The Work on all the beliefs we have running that color our interpretation, we can remove the painful side, and be left with just clean disagreement. Growth and learning stem from disagreement. The Work allows you to welcome disagreement without getting hurt by it.

I Used To Get Hurt By My Partner’s Direct Speech

He’s very direct in what he says. He tells me when he thinks I’m being obsessive. He calls me on the rug when he thinks I’m working too hard. He’s always in my business, it seems. And that sometimes gets me infuriated.

This infuriation was much worse before I started doing The Work on my partner. I wrote, and I still write, Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheets on him whenever I notice that he’s made me mad again.

And I take these worksheets and examine them with a facilitator. The result has been remarkable for me. The trapped feeling I used to have, the anger that I harbored, have diminished by about 80-90%. And I’m still working it.

Recently, I’ve noticed that critical statements from my partner don’t get my back up at all. I can see myself almost grabbing the bait. The luring “fighting words” float past my face, and I almost snatch them up. But because I’ve worked similar situations, I see clearly how I hurt myself every time I do. And I let those words float by instead. The freedom in this is indescribable.

So Why Let Things Escalate?

If you find that arguments with your spouse are stressful, take some time to see what they are teaching you. Download a Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet here. And find a facilitator of The Work to help you question your assumptions from heat of your argument.

Instead of swallowing the bait like a largemouth bass, you can just watch as the lure floats by. And as you do this, you may find yourself drawn closer to your partner. You may start to see that he or she is on your side after all. And if it turns out that he or she is not on your side, you may find understanding for why they’d be that way.

Watch For Your Next Argument

Don’t let it slip by unexamined. You stand to gain a lot from it. Just after the argument, fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet,” and find a facilitator to work it with you as soon as you can. With a little work, you’ll find that it’s not necessary to swallow the barbed hook every time you argue.


Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. To get started with The Work, a facilitator can help you get the most out of this simple process. You can schedule an appointment with Todd here.

About This Article

If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your autoresponder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it.

As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article. No textual amendments permitted. Only exception is Twitter.

©2010-2011 Todd Smith, LLC. All rights reserved.

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How To Avoid Feeling Self-Conscious In Yoga Class

Great Scott! That hurts. The alarm sounded throughout my body as my attention went directly to my inner thighs. I thought my tendons were going to snap as I tried to lower my chest towards my right knee.

If I’d had a sense of humor in that moment I’d have tried to pluck the tendon like a guitar string. I’m sure my yoga teacher would have loved to hear the sweet sound of my pain.

But My Physical Pain Was Only Half Of It

I knew I was a yogi. I’d been doing yoga asanas since I was just a child. Never mind that I had let my practice slip during the past year. I knew I was good. Heck, I even used to demonstrate publicly how different positions were supposed to look.

So imagine my embarrassment when unexpectedly my wide leg spread reached only just a few feet wide.

I Could Barely Even Lean Towards My Knee

I knew beginners that could do it better. In fact, I looked around the room and saw that I had the tightest legs of anyone. And I just wanted to become invisible and slip out quietly before the class was done.

I wanted to practice on my own and come back next year to show them all. I couldn’t have them thinking I was just like them.

I knew it would kill me if I had to bear the encouragement they’d likely all be giving me. You know, the way they clap for people who come in last. Heck no, I had a reputation to uphold.

But I wasn’t going to walk out with my tail between my legs. No, that would be worse. So I had to stick it out. And worse yet, I’d paid for a month of yoga. I couldn’t back out now.

My Pride Had Put Me In A Bind

That’s what made me bring this concept to The Work. I’d hit the wall, and couldn’t see a way out.

But no way out is “good” for me. These days, when I’m faced with stressful situations, I actually get kind of get excited. What will I learn from this one when I take it to The Work?

It Was Easy To Identify The Stressful Thoughts To Question With The Work

“My thighs are unacceptably tight for yoga. I need my inner thighs to cooperate with me.” These were the stressful thoughts that came to mind.

I took each one and had a closer look, and I found that they were just not true. “Unacceptably tight for yoga,” are you kidding? Why would I need yoga if I naturally had super flexibility?

How cool is it, that I just found out what I need to work on in my practice? This tightness may even draw the teacher’s attention to help me. And my “humanness” will make it possible to have rapport with my classmates. Little did I know, they weren’t even paying attention to my plight.

“My Thighs Should Cooperate With Me?”

Let’s turn that one around. “I should cooperate with my inner thighs.” Yes, that makes more sense. When I think my thighs should be more flexible than they are, I push them too hard and could easily injure myself.

In fact, I feel much more relaxed inside when I cooperate with where they are. And ironically, they’re much more responsive to my efforts.

Gradually I Accepted My Reality

My thighs are what they are. They should be tight because I haven’t done much yoga recently, and I’ve never really stretched this area that much. The Work helped me become a beginner once again, a student, not an example. And as a student I was open to the learning I could get.

I learned humility and gained flexibility that month. And I continue to practice this posture every day. It’s been five months, and I can now almost touch my chest to my knee. But that didn’t come from forcing it. It came from cooperating and accepting.

But Couldn’t You Have Gotten Through This Without The Work?

Of course. Life is set up perfectly. Eventually, I would have figured out to avoid the emotional and physical pain and be gentle with myself.

But The Work is a way to speed it up. I get to see things quickly when I work a stressful concept. I see how it hurts me when I believe it. And I see how freeing it would be without it. Then I see if the opposite might actually be more true for me.

This is a short cut out of pain. Within an hour’s time of doing The Work of Byron Katie, I’d overcome my embarrassment and had gained patience and understanding of my tight thighs. When I came back to class the next day, it was with a lighter spirit.

And this is what kept me coming back with enthusiasm day after day, month after month.

Stress Can Come From Anywhere

A tight thigh from yoga is sometimes all it takes to set off the stress reaction inside of me. Taking the time to question my stressful thoughts helps me see around the stress and get back to my life.

The Work makes it simple for me to find the stress and question it.

Looking back, I’m grateful now that the tendons of my inner thighs called my attention. And I’m grateful that I didn’t try to force them. Now I’ve learned to cooperate with them and let them show me what they need.

Next Step

Find something that’s not earth-shatteringly important, but which is stressful for you. Find something that’s more a part of mundane life, and do the work on it today. You’ll be surprised how little things can hold you up, and how easily they can be turned around.


Todd Smith is a facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie. To get started with The Work, a facilitator can help you get the most out of this simple process. You can schedule an appointment with Todd here.


Julie Burguiere

Julie Burguiere

Tuscon, Arizona

I Hadn’t Done The Work Much, So It Was Tough To Commit To It

One day I was questioning the work and asking for advice. Someone had told me “I’ve had victories with The Work so I can trust it.” I realized I was attracted to the work but that I hadn’t had victories. The next thing I did was to reach out to Todd. Having Todd to support me through a lovely, ongoing, slow unfolding allowed me to find those victories.

Schedule an appointment with Todd here.

About This Article

If you like this article, feel free to share it with your own list, post it on your site, on your blog, or add it to your autoresponder. Twitter it, Facebook it, translate it.

As long as you leave it intact and do not alter it in anyway. All links must remain in the article. No textual amendments permitted. Only exception is Twitter.

©2010-2011 Todd Smith, LLC. All rights reserved.

Subscribe by RSS | Subscribe by Email