Inquiry: I shouldn’t be compulsive

Statement: I shouldn’t be compulsive.

  1. Is it true?
    Yes. Certainly feels true. I am acting as if it is true.
  2. Can I know for sure it is true?
    No, not at all. It is only a “should” after all.
  3. What happens when I have that belief?
    • I watch for signs of being compulsive. If I notice some, I try to act differently or at least hide it from myself and others. I reinterpret it to be something else. I find ways to justify it.
    • I also look for signs of it in others, and am OK with it in many cases, but if it gets a little close to home, I get annoyed or frustrated with it. Sometimes, I even feel compulsive about it when I see it in others.
    • When did I first have that belief? Probably in my early or mid teens, consciously. Before then, probably as a child, being around someone compulsive about something, and being uncomfortable with something about it.
    • How do I treat others? If I get annoyed by something they are doing, then I try to make them notice it for themselves, which could interrupt it. Sometimes it works, short term, and sometimes not. Sometimes, I may even say it directly to them, which is either received or brings up reactiveness.
    • How do I treat myself? As someone who is not, really, compulsive, even as it happens. When I see compulsiveness, I name it something else, find ways to justify it, or indulge in it while telling myself it is only for a short while. (And feel some shame since I am going into an area of life not OK for me and my identity.)
    • What is the worst that could happen if I didn’t have that thought? I would be happily and mindlessly compulsive, not even noticing it or trying to change it. Is that likely to happen? No. I would probably act in compulsive ways, yes. But I would sometimes be aware of it, and still invite shifts.
  4. Who am I without that thought?
    • There is a sense of peace with compulsiveness, which opens for receptivity, appreciation, curiosity, and a sense of possibilities.
    • I am free to be honest with myself about it. If I see that it has undesirable consequences, I can do something to invite a shift.
    • I am free and interested in actively actively exploring what it is about. There is a sense of honesty, possibilities and curiosity here. What beliefs are behind the compulsiveness? What process unfolds behind it? What does it want from me? What gifts does it offer? How do I relate to it? What happens if I change how I relate to it?
  5. Turnarounds
    • I should be compulsive. True, when I am. It is what it is. And really, it is just something happening that thoughts label “compulsive” and has different ideas about. Also, it is part of the human experience. It helps me experience more of what a human life is about. And, compulsiveness is a tease, and invitation to help me discover something. It is an invitation to see if there is a belief behind it, and inquire into it. It is an invitation to allow the process behind it to unfold. It is an invitation to explore the voices and subpersonalities involved.
    • My thinking shouldn’t be compulsive. True. Whenever there is what looks like compulsive behaviors and mental activity, it is all from my thinking. It is my thinking saying something is really important, inviting my attention and often behavior to follow. And there isn’t much receptivity there for anything else.
    • My thinking should be compulsive. Yes. It is a way to explore a certain experience in depth, becoming intimately familiar with it over time. Also, it is an invitation for bringing something into awareness and discover the genuine gifts hidden behind the surface symptoms.

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