What’s annoying you? And, what are you making that mean?
What’s troubling you? Is there a pet peeve or an annoying problem in your life that weighs you down? Let’s take a moment to think about how you are thinking about your problem. Are you making it harder than it is?
A client once booked a session to talk about dirty dishes in her sink. Yes, it was more costly to book a session than to hire household help. So, the problem wasn’t really the dishes. It was how she thought about what it meant when her teenage sons and husband left dirty dishes in the sink. She thought: They don’t know how hard I work around here. They don’t even think about me. They’re taking me for granted and they don’t respect me. If they don’t respect me, then they don’t love me…. When, in truth, those youngsters and her overworked husband made none of those associations, whatsoever. (This does not mean that only people who care should do the dishes, by the way. It just means – don’t make it personal!)
The next time that your boss makes a critical remark, or your direct reports don’t follow instructions, or your best friend is thoughtless, take a moment, and do this:
Recognize your feelings. Then consider how your feelings come as a direct result of what you are thinking. If I were coaching you, I’d ask you, “What are you making this mean?”
Then, try on different interpretations. What might be true or truer? And, by all means, get the work done that needs to be done. Without the emotional baggage.
Visit Byron Katie’s site to learn more about this technique, called Thought Work.
Change the way you think, and you’ll change your life.