Noticing a disturbance in the force when it comes to a relationship in your life?
Sometimes you forget all about those difficult memories of that troubling relationship, and it’s of no concern, but other times it’s constantly reappearing in your consciousness….
….But one thing is for sure: when you think deeply of that person, you feel pain, angst, sadness, conflict, fear, anger, upset, trouble.
You might even see goodness in that relationship or person. You’ve analyzed them and been aware of the experiences they’ve had that might make them be that way. You’re trying to go easy on them. You want to understand!
But it just never gets settled, or resolved.
Relationships. You can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em.
Our partner drives us nuts, our mother makes us wince, our siblings break our hearts, our children push our buttons.
And then love relationships….couples seem happier. Singleness appears lonely. Or perhaps we strategize that multiple relationships would be the best way to get our needs met and be comfortable.
We have many stressful beliefs about relationships, partnering, friendship, and family.
We all know that self-inquiry leads to self-awareness, and self-awareness allows us to soften and alter our behavior with ourselves and with others.
Where do we begin, though, when a relationship is really driving us mad?
Here’s an exercise you can do that I’ve loved. I call it the Top Five Exercise. It’s a pre-work piece of work, to help you land on one moment in time and write a worksheet on something that really bugs you.
1) Get out a pen and paper or your device, and think about one person you’d really love a better relationship with. Write the person’s name at the top of the page. Then write down five situations you found troubling when in contact with that person. It could be something that person said, something they did, a face they made, something you heard about them from someone else, a way they treated you.
These five situations will be snapshots in time. A ten second memory of a moment you felt was difficult, hurtful, upsetting, disappointing.
An example from my own work: Man I Was Dating.
a) I’m sitting at the airport in his town, having waited for two hours in the pick-up zone for him to come. He arrives and doesn’t seem very excited to see me.
b) We’re walking on the beach and two teens walk by in bikinis. He turns his head to watch them fade into the distance while saying “wait a moment, I’m distracted…..OK now proceed with what you were saying”. Then turns back to me.
c) We’re in a coffee shop. He looks up from his cup and says “I’m really not attracted to you. You’re not my type.”
d) He pushes the gas pedal because we’re late. I look at the speedometer and see it says 85 mph in a 30 mph zone.
e) We sit at a concierge desk at a hotel speaking to a woman with numerous pamphlets for tours and activities in front of her. He asks about each and every activity. For 1.5 hours.
2) Now consider the five situations or moments in time you’ve identified. Which one has the most emotional charge right now? Which one do you find most distressing? Pick only one of them. This will be the situation you’re investigating for now. You can always come back to the rest later.
3) Get a Judge Your Neighbor
worksheet and hold the situation you picked, only that one, in your head. While you look at that difficult memory, answer the JYN questions without editing, suppressing, or making your thoughts about it sound nice. Be petty, childish, judgmental, hateful, mean, non-politically-correct.
4) Ask someone to facilitate you, or begin to move through your worksheet in writing on your own (use the One Belief At A Time
worksheet if you do it on your own). Answer the four questions and find the turnarounds on the concepts you’ve written on your Judge Your Neighbor worksheet.
Now here’s one interesting thing that happens sometimes when you do the Top Five exercise: you may realize there are more than only five.
Like, a lot more.
That’s OK. Keep going then. If you start to have memories flood in of ALL THE TIMES that person irritated you, then capture these on paper the same way as the rest of the list. Write a short sentence on what was happening in the moment. Go ahead and be thorough.
Sometimes, people begin to remember things from waaaaay back, like age 6 or age 10, then also events or moments from age 15, 20, 25. If you’ve known someone your whole life who saddens or upsets you, which is not uncommon, then go ahead and make a long list.
You then have your evidence for all the reasons why you feel troubled by this person. Your proof!
And you can begin a thorough investigation.
All it takes is beginning with ONE situation. One at a time.
If you have thoughts like “this will take forever” or “this can never be resolved, there are so many hurtful moments” or “it’s not possible to find freedom from this” or any overarching global thoughts like these about that person….you can question these.
This will take forever. She’s just too difficult. This relationship will never change.
Is it true?
Who would you be without that story?
I noticed the way I would be, was I’d be taking on ONE situation at a time. Trusting the process. Contemplating and looking at only one place I’ve felt oppositional to what is.
That’s all this mind can do at once.
“People don’t have to get along with me. Do I get along with them?–that’s the important question. People don’t have to understand me. Do I understand myself? Do I understand them? And if I understand myself, I understand everyone. As long as I remain a mystery to myself, people remain a mystery. If I don’t like me, I don’t like you.” ~ Byron Katie in A Mind At Home With Itself
I would love to have you at the Breitenbush HotSprings Winter Retreat. It’s worth the drive into the wilderness of the Oregon Cascades. It’s the same as your drive into the wilderness of your mental angst about those people who bother you.
Make the trek. Reserve your cabin. Come cozy up to your thinking. Find the freedom of self-inquiry on an important topic in your psyche, in your life. Soak in the hotsprings, and soak in The Work.
Three days. A beautiful mental cleanse, physical cleanse, pre-holiday cleanse.
To read more about this very inexpensive way to dive deeply into The Work, visit this link HERE
. Early bird special lasts until Halloween (10/31) or first come, first served. Limited to 20 people total.