Doing The Work on I statements

Byron Katie recommends not doing The Work on I statements, at least in the beginning.

Why is that? I find a few different reasons for myself.

Allowing thoughts more free reign

Doing inquiry on mother, father, brother, sister etc. is really inquiry on myself, and I may be more free in these inquiries since they at first appears to be about someone else. I allow my thoughts more free and uncensored rein, so I get to see what’s there.

Fears of what others may think, say or do

I also find that my I statements often are really about my fears of what others may think, say or do.

I have the thought that I should have more energy and it may be interesting and helpful to look at that thought.

And yet, if I was alone in the whole world, would I still have that thought? No, it seems I would be perfectly happy not having more energy. The underlying thoughts are about what others may think about me. They may judge me for not having more energy. They may think I am lazy. They may not like me. They may reject me.

That’s more honest for me. If I was alone in the whole world, it would be fine if I didn’t have more energy right now. I may even enjoy it. It’s what I think others may think about me that creates the stress.

Other underlying or related beliefs

Even when the I statements don’t appear to be about what others may think or do, it can be helpful to explore underlying or related beliefs. For instance, I am this body, and that means…. I will die with the body. It’s terrible to die. It’s possible to die. My worth is tied to this body. People won’t like me if they don’t see me as handsome. People won’t like me if my body is not healthy. My body is not healthy. My body is not serving me. My body is not as I would like it to be. 

Here too, it’s possible to find underlying or related thoughts that are not I thoughts, and it can be very helpful to explore these.

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