Nothing Supports Me

Posted on October 15, 2010

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Several months ago, a client of mine was making several huge, sweeping life changes. She was ending a romantic relationship, finishing an advanced degree (and looking for a new job that would allow her to put her degree to good use) and trying to raise several children by herself.

Bills were piling up and collectors were calling. One of her children had gotten to trouble in school and required several parent-teacher conferences. There was a ton of paperwork that she needed to complete to finalize her graduation requirements and the night before our session she had let her ex-boyfriend spend the night at her house although she had previously sworn off all contact with him.

“My life sucks right now,” said this client. “Nothing supports me.”

“Really?” I said. “Nothing supports you? Is that true?

“Yes! The collectors are calling and I don’t have the money to pay them and I’m ruining my credit every month by NOT paying them. I’ve just been told by my academic advisor that I still have several more applications to fill out before they can finalize my degree. Ryan came over last night, got what he wanted and then left while I was in the shower. Nothing supports me in my life right now. Oh! And then my mom called this morning and started in on me. Not even SHE supports me.”

Can you be absolutely sure that this is true, that NOTHING supports you?” I asked.

“Um. Well it sure doesn’t feel like anything is supporting me,” she replied.

How do you feel when you believe this thought that nothing supports you?”

The client got teary-eyed. “Just like I am right now! I feel awful! I feel alone. I feel tired of trying and working so hard and still not getting anywhere. I feel…I feel sad. Because nothing supports me.”

“Pretend, just for a moment that you cannot think the thought that nothing supports you. The thought has been removed from you brain. You can’t think it,” I challenged. “Who would you be without that thought?

The client thought about this for a moment, took in a  big breath, let it out and sat back in her chair. “Hmmm. Well, I would just be sitting here. Feeling free, definitely freer. I would feel…peaceful. Happy. Not worried about anything. I would feel supported.”

“So Turn it Around,” I said. “What’s the opposite of ‘Nothing Supports Me?'”

The client paused for a second and then said, “Everything supports me?” and then, “But that’s not true! I mean, what’s supporting me right now?”

“Your chair.” I said and she started laughing. Then I said, “The air you’re breathing. The lungs that are working to breathe in the air are supporting you and so is your heart, right now sitting here, it’s supporting you.”

“Yeah, that’s true. And  my graduate advisor is supporting me, that’s for sure. She just wrote me a great letter of recommendation. You’re supporting me, through this whole thing with Ryan you’ve supported me. My kids certainly support me, especially in stressful times like this.” The client smiled. “Actually now that you mention it, my best friend supports me. Really supports me. My step dad supports me. Even when my mom is going on and on, he says ‘Let me know if you need anything.’ You know, Professor Davis supports me. She gave me a contact for a possible job interview next week.”

“Sounds like you’ve got a lot of support,” I replied.

“Yes,” she said. “I really do.”

This is how the power of inquiry works; this is how it dissolves the lies your lizard tells you. The lizard will encourage you to see only its very limited perception of reality;  in this example, it had convinced my client that nothing supported her. When one challenges the lizard lies with Byron Katie’s 4 questions and turns around the original thought to its opposite, one’s brain opens up to new possibilities.

This is what lizards do: They lie. They are afraid. They argue with reality.

Challenge their assumptions and an entirely new and very peaceful world will open to you. Look at how much support this client had, just as she was claiming that nothing supported her! Look at how much support you have in the moments when you believe the same lie she did.

*For more information on The Work of Byron Katie, please check out thework.com.

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Posted in: The Lizard