The “That’s Better!” Process
Dealing with something upsetting that keeps coming up in our minds.
1) “If ____ sticks in my mind there is something valuable in it for me.”
If it were NOT something worthwhile, it would drift by and not be considered.
A reminder of this is good at the beginning. It sets the stage for the rest of the process.
2) “_____ is now in my life, so it is part of my life story.”
Whether I like it or not, this image/event/idea has now been included in the story of my life. I cannot pretend it away or erase it. It is now part of the script in my life’s drama. If I don’t accept this fact I will not be able to be in the truth.
3) Ask, “What does this image/event/idea have to offer me?”
List multiple possibilities of what this could offer – both helpful and unhelpful, no limits. Just let ideas come to mind without evaluating them.
Examples. It is an opportunity to…
- Be enraged with justification.
- Feel righteous.
- Use the questions of The Work (see below).
- Feel trapped, victimized — “I can’t get it out of my mind.”
- Use it as an excuse to stay stuck.
- Discover my power by being triumphant over a difficulty.
- Learn something I never thought of before.
- Experience a happy ending to this scenario which started out as something upsetting.
4) See all the options I can think of laid out like a buffet, like a huge array of foods at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Be aware that I can choose which ones to put on my plate.
Remembering that I am in my life’s story, making a choice about the script, “How do I want this plot to unfold? Where would I like to see it go?”
Try scripting a few of these options of where it could go next. Let the inspirations flow. Seeing the choices involved is already empowering. Add new options as they come to mind. Be creative, put in some humor wherever you can — laughter is a short cut to well being.
Once we get on that track (possibilities, options, empowering choices, humor) good ideas appear. “Now that’s better!”
Dealing with Judgments
This process comes from The Work by Byron Katie.
1) Write down the statement in a clear and simple way.
“People/he/she shouldn’t do ______.” “People/he/she ought to ______.” “People/he/she are _______ and that is not good.”
Write it as it would be spoken by a child or a very judgmental part of you, what you might think in an uncontrolled moment when you are not being careful to be nice or when your emotions are running high.
Note that at this stage in the process the judgments are not about ourselves, but rather, what is outside of us — other people, the world…
2) Ask, “Is that true?”
3) Ask, “Is that really true? Can I be absolutely sure that it is true?”
4) Ask, “How do I react, what happens, when I think that thought, believe that thought?”
5) Ask, “Who would I be without that thought?”
If I had never even had that thought, if that thought had never even occurred to me, what would my life be like, how would I feel?
6) “Turnarounds” — turn the thought around.
This is to write the original statement in some way that is the opposite, or 180 degrees from where it started. An important part of this is to now see how that gets played out within ourselves, how it is reflected within ourselves.
“He should not ignore me.”
Could become: “I should not ignore him.” “I should not ignore me.” “He should ignore me.”
“People are selfish.”
Could become: “People are generous.” “I am selfish.”
7) Take the Turnaround and come up with examples of how that could be true. The suggestion is to come up with 3 examples for each turn around.
8) Do numbers 6 and 7 with another Turnaround.
Doing this process loosens the invincibility of the thoughts that are ruling our perceptions of the world and ourselves.
The Work of Byron Katie is at: http://www.thework.com/index.php
Here is a good video of Byron Katie doing this process with a woman on the topic of racism.
*Many thanks to Cheryl Gaglione for introducing me to The Work of Byron Katie.*