I recently took on a thirty day challenge and just completed day three. The assignment was to immerse myself in something I want to learn about or improve on for a prolong and consistent set of time.
I decided to serve on The Institute for The Work's helpline for 10 hours. If you don't know of the helpline, it is an amazing free service for anyone with stressful thoughts... in other words everyone.
Having just completed ten hours on the helpline in the last two days and in all my many hours of doing sessions of The Work with others so far, I've learned that adding the word "sometimes" to our stressful thought can significantly help.
An example of this would be working with the stressful thought "he doesn't listen." When we believe this thought, we are upset. We tend to see everything that confirms this. Images of the past appear where "he didn't listen" and images of the future show a frustrated life of being unheard, misunderstood and dismissed.
We might also see images of where we listened well, all the good we have done for them and think this is the miserable way they treat us in return! Everything we tell ourselves or see confirms they are wrong and bad, we are right and good.
Doing The Work with so many people shows me that we can find greater freedom and relief if we add "sometimes" to our stressful thought.
"He doesn't listen" becomes
"He doesn't listen sometimes"
We can see images in the past where he might listen deeply if he were interested, if it were valuable for him to hear and/or if he felt respected by who was talking to him.
We can also see where
"I don't listen sometimes."
There are times where I am not interested, I don't like how a message is being delivered, I don't understand or I am too focused on my own "stuff" to be able to hear someone else.
In working with a stressful thought, try replacing it with sometimes. See if you feel some relief and freedom around it. Look for examples where sometimes it's like this and sometimes it's not. This stops our confirmation bias and we can then see things that we might have previously been blind to.