I’ve had folks ask why they’re not getting better even though they’re exercising, sleeping, etc. Well, that’s not The Work. That’s clearing your workspace so you can do The Work. Here’s some of the questions I ask myself to deal with my shit:
It’s writing time. Grab a pen and some paper. I’m serious. Do it. Write the answers to everything below out, long form.
1. The thought freaking you out/pissing you off/scaring you is: (Write it out.)
2. What are other thoughts you might have about that? Sit and think it out. Come up with every fucking thought you possibly can from every possible angle. Now, write ‘em all down. All of them.
3. Could you have known then what you know now?
4. Could you have anticipated everything/anything that happened?
5. How could you have known to do something/anything differently?
6. If you had done things differently, can you know if it would have made things better?
7. Would it have made things worse?
8. Was it possible for you to see the future and know what could have been done to prevent this?
9. If you had known what was going to happen, did you have the control over everything/everyone to make it turn out differently?
10. Ignoring all the bullshit about speculating and wishing and the coulda/shoulda/woulda, is it in any way helpful to invent these imaginary scenarios and keep trying to relive a situation that’s over and gone?
11. Does constantly ruminating over something you can’t change help you in any way at all?
12. Is it factually correct or even fair to blame yourself only for what happened?
13. Could anyone else be in any way responsible?
14. Are you 100% responsible, or like, 70% or maybe 40%?
15. Shitty things happen to people, good and bad, all the time. Could whatever happened to you happen to anyone else?
16. Could whatever happened to you happen to someone else for totally random reasons?
17. Could whatever happened to you happen to other people just because of bad luck, or another person’s behaviour, or accident?
18. Could whatever happened to you have happened to you because of bad luck, or another person’s behaviour, or accident?
19. If you think you fucked up during your traumatic event, like you did something unprofessional or immoral or unethical have you really thought about all of the factors, external and internal, that made you act/react the way you did?
20. Did you think you had any other options at the time?
21. Could you see any other options at the time?
22. To be a shitty person, you have to constantly do shitty things and not care that it’s shitty behaviour. Does that sound like you?
23. Do you regularly do shitty things and not care that it hurts people?
24. Probably not, right? You probably try really hard to be a decent person and it really bothers you when you screw up and cause harm to someone, right? That’s why this memory bothers you so much, right?
25. Now, with all these new, and broader, thoughts about the event, which ones feel most realistic or accurate? Which one looks like the most accurate description of what happened? What feels the most correct?
26. If you really believed that thought you’re looking at, how would your life improve?
27. How would things change?
28. How would your behaviour change?
29. How would your relationships change?
30. How would things change for you if you believed that new thought?
31. What are the thoughts and feelings about whatever happened to you that are keeping you trapped in that memory?
32. Why do you think whatever happened to you happened, now?
33. Now, looking back at what you wrote, what are all of the factors that caused you to react/act the way you did during whatever happened to you? How were your options limited by circumstances?
34. Think about everyone else involved. What are all of the factors that caused them to react/act the way they did during whatever happened to you? How were their options limited by circumstances?
That’s The Work. Practice doing it in your head. Write it out every day. Do Work. Get better.