Doing the Work to Get Rid of Emotional Pain

who is more hurtful

Last summer I went to a retreat to see Byron Katie, one of my all time favorite spiritual teachers, to learn all about The Work, which is her simple method to investigate stressful thoughts and get out of emotional pain. I first heard about Byron Katie years ago on Oprah’s Soul Series TV show.

According to Katie, all stressful thoughts are untrue, and by doing The Work on your own stressful thoughts, you can free yourself from the egoic thinking that she says is the cause of all the suffering you and I experience. This is a gentle way out of emotional pain and suffering and into wellness and peace.

Katie is the author of Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life . This book takes you step by step into the process of The Work. It shows you to use the Work to set yourself free from emotional pain and suffering by questioning your own stressful thoughts. It requires that you write your thoughts down, as this is the only way to stop the Ego. (I have a journal by my bedside and I also do the Work on my computer.)

The Work is comprised of 4 Questions that you put up against any stressful thought you have. The 4 questions are:

1. Is it true?

2.  Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3.  How do you react when you believe that thought?  And

4.  Who would you be without the thought?

Then you take the original thought and find Turnarounds to it, that are at least as true to you as the original thought.

Stay with me here, this is really good stuff. 🙂  Here is an example of How I used the work recently.

I had a stressful incident at work when a patient went bad in the operating room. Everyone, including me worked hard to do their jobs to keep the patient alive. One of my duties is to place patients in the appropriate beds after their surgeries. Although I knew that the patient was in critical condition and needed ICU, I still need an order from the surgeon to put him there.  I don’t have the authority to do this. So I asked the surgeon, a young, handsome guy who doesn’t work much in our hospital, did he want the patient to go to the ICU? He snapped at me condescendingly, “Obviously!”

And that remark just ruined the rest of my day! I couldn’t shake how angry I was at him. I felt embarrassed in front of my peers and it wasn’t until I did the Work on this incident later that I could really feel better.

So here is The Work on my stressful thought:

Dr O. is a jerk.

1.  Is it true?


2.  Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

No. I can’t know that for certain. Everyone was stressed in that situation. We almost lost the patient.

3.  How do you react when you believe the thought Dr. O is a jerk?

I talk about him, I feel anger welling up inside because when I asked about if the patient was going to ICU he was sarcastic. Then he was sitting near me and my coworker and that made me uncomfortable, but that was the only chair available. I kept thinking he was looking at me or maybe hoped he was but he always just looks at his cell phone.

4.  Who would you be without the thought? 

It would be bliss just to sit there and have someone be sarcastic and not have a story about it or hurt ego.

Now onto Turnarounds. These are opposite statements:

Dr O is not a jerk.

Hmmm… Well, I guess that could be just as true..I don’t know him at all. Really except for that moment in time, he doesn’t treat me any particular way. He is not connected to me or enamored or impressed with me. I barely ever see the guy. Maybe he was overwhelmed. I didn’t have to take it personally.

My thinking is a jerk.

Yes! This feels very true right away! It makes me think this man doesn’t like me and doesn’t  think I’m a good nurse or doing my job. It is insane. It is what kicked in that day at work and that triggered the pain body of outrage and anger I felt when he was sarcastic. I couldn’t let go of the anger. I kept badmouthing him after he left. I called him a terrible name.Loving What Is Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

The act of writing the thought down and doing this process is what is so freeing. I was able to catch myself being hurt and actually see how I acted was so much worse than his perceived sarcastic remark at me.

By doing The Work, I free myself from my stressful thoughts and emotional pain and experience kindness, peace, and freedom instead 🙂 It is such a better way to experience reality, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for a way out of their emotional suffering 🙂

Lisa Arcelia

Loving What Is is one of my all time favorite books 🙂  It has helped me immensely in my life and I just know it can do the same for you too! Click here to learn more, and to check out the customer reviews on Amazon 🙂

Thank you for reading!

If you enjoyed this post, get updates from me. It’s FREE 🙂

Get email updates about new posts, & tips and tricks to create your happy, peaceful life in a challenging world. (it’s free!)

Please share with a friend....Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest101Share on LinkedIn0Email this to someone

Author: Lisa Arcelia

I love showing how to find real happiness and inner peace in this busy and challenging world :)

1 thought on “Doing the Work to Get Rid of Emotional Pain”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *