Friday, May 7, 2010

Is it true? Four questions.

I read about this in the "O" magazine. Believe it or not, that's a good magazine. I'm not a big fan of the Oprah show - and I'm not home when it's on anyway - but I like the magazine. There's some good writing in there. When it comes each month, I look forward to sitting in my library and reading it from beginning to end. It's like a treat for myself.

So, anyway, this article was about a therapist of a kind, actually a "spiritual mentor," who helps people by having them ask 4 questions about whatever is bothering them. Here they are:
  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know it's true?
  3. How do you react when you believe this thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?
And at the end you are supposed to come up with a turnaround thought, that is as true or truer.

I tried it the other night with a thought that had been bugging me for a couple weeks. I wrote down the thing bothering me, then I wrote each question and my answer. In this case I felt I could not absolutely know it was true, but the most helpful thing was answering the 3rd and 4th questions. When I really thought about how I reacted, I could see right there that it made me feel rotten. And answering the 4th question I imagined how good it'd feel if I didn't feel that way.

I decided I'd be so much better off without this thinking that was bothering me that I should push it away. Of course I'd already told myself that before. Then I asked myself how much it really mattered even if it were true. The negative thought was a feeling that someone didn't like me (I have a tiny problem with wanting everyone to like me, always). I wrote about a bunch of people who do like me, and love me. After making a pretty long list, I wrote, "All these people think you are precious and loveable. You are damn precious!" That made me laugh.

It's not like "problem solved," but it definitely helped. When the thought starts creeping in again, I say, "You are damn precious," and it makes me smile every time.

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