A young woman says that she needs her mother to accept that she is attracted to women. With Byron Katie’s help, she questions this thought and realizes that it isn’t true. And if she didn’t believe it, she realizes, she would feel whole and strong. Without the need for approval, Katie says, not only would she be comfortable, but she would be intimate with her mother. “When you don’t need her approval, you can be there for her. You can say, ‘Mom, tell me more. Are you hurt because I prefer women? Do you think this will embarrass you? I want you to know I love you, and I’m going to be there for you. And I understand if you don’t approve of me. It was really scary for me, and I’m still scared.’ Give her the time that you gave yourself.”
Byron Katie: Let’s talk to Emily. Emily, are you there, honey? Emily: Hi. There she is. Hi, Emily. Hi. So, sweetheart, read what you’ve written so it puts us all on the same page. OK? Read what you wrote to me. I wrote, “My mom made a statement which keeps repeating itself in my head. She said, ‘I don’t think you’ll end up with a girl. I know you. You need a man in your life.’” My question is, why aren’t I able to free myself from my mother’s judgmental view of me being bisexual? Yeah. OK, now, what you wrote to me, thank you for that, and what you wrote to me is: “I’m 21 years old and struggling with the fact that my mom does not understand or completely accept that I like girls. I found out last year and have slowly begun to accept it and I am now embracing myself more than ever.” And good for you. Good for you. And you said, “I guess my question really is, how can I take control and stop worrying about my mother’s approval?” So, is that it? Yeah. OK. Good. So. You said you’ve been doing The Work but you still have Work to do. So, it all lies in just taking some time out, sitting down, getting very still, and recollecting the thoughts that you were thinking in a situation where you wanted your mother’s approval about this thing. OK? So, once you’ve done that, you just sit in front of a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, you have it sitting there by you. And then you identify that situation with you and your mom. OK? For example, this is just something that came to my mind. It’s like, if I’m you, for example, my mom’s at the kitchen sink and I’m standing there talking to her. I’m having this conversation. And I want her approval. I’m telling her I like girls. And she is saying the things that you said when I first asked you to read it. All of that’s going on. And so in that situation with your mom, as you sit there with your eyes closed, alone, like after this call. You identify. You know you want her approval in this matter, so I am; let’s see. I mocked on up here. For example, “I’m frustrated because I want my mom’s approval.” OK? That’s the situation. And in my mind’s eye, I can see, like these situations with myself, I can see me with my mother, standing there in the kitchen and I want her approval. And everything I tell her, she is just not listening. She’s not going for it. And I keep defending my position and try to push her into believing that… into approving of me. OK? So, you know, sweetheart, my focus is on these earrings. I think they’re interfering with and I don’t want everyone to have to hear that. OK. We’ll try this. OK, so we’ve identified the situation in statement number 1 on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. And then in statement 2, in that situation, standing at the kitchen sink with my mom. OK. I can feel that frustration in me as I sit alone, meditating on that moment. What did I want? What did I want? And so I don’t have to guess. It will show me. That’s what I love about this Work. It will show me. Because it will show me what I was thinking and believing and what I was thinking and believing is the cause of my suffering. So, this is a very important thing I’m doing as I sit in this silence. So, “I want my mom to accept that I like girls.” “I want Mom to approve of me.” Can you see that in your mind’s eye? In your situation? OK. And then 3 on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, the shoulds and the shouldn’ts. OK? Advice: “My mom should approve of who I am.” “Mom should tell me that she approves of my choice.” “Mom shouldn’t try to invent a false me to approve of.” So, thoughts like these, they were all running through you, weren’t they? Um-hmm. OK. So, it’s universal. That’s how; I’m not really guessing. There are no new stressful thoughts. They’re all recycled. But in your own experience, the words will change, but basically that’s it. And then on statement 4 on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, what do you need to be happy in that moment? “I need Mom to approve of my choices.” “I need Mom to approve of who I am.” And you would put your own, so I’m just going for basics here. OK? So, again, it’s easy to do because there are no new stressful thoughts. When we’re angry, when we’re frustrated, when we’re defending a position, it’s war. And we feel it. And then we think our mom is the cause of the war. But it’s what I’m believing about my mother in that situation that is causing all my frustration and war and leading me to believe that it’s her. So, this is a very powerful position that we take ourselves to when we understand the cause of our frustration and pain and all of it. So, 5 on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, “Mom is stubborn, unfair, disapproving, and hurting me.” And even for those of you out there that understand that your mom can’t hurt you with what you’re believing, if you’re upset, yeah, you still believe it. So, it belongs on a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. So, 6, what is it that you never want to experience about that situation again? “I don’t ever want to feel my mom’s disapproval again.” OK. And so as we look at these, sweetheart, did one of these jump out at you that you recall? I know I came at you pretty fast. So, “you need your mom to accept that you like girls.” Is it true? And those of you out there watching this, remember the answer to questions 1 and 2 (there are only 4 questions); the answers to 1 and 2 is either “yes” or “no.” And anything other than just those two syllables are defense. And defense is not inquiry. So, you… “You need your mom to approve of who you are.” Is it true? Or let’s keep it as simple as I first said. “You need your mom to approve of you.” Is it true? No. So, just feel that. That’s pretty amazing. Yeah. To just sit in that “no” and allow it to. Allow that truth to show itself to you. To continue to show itself to you in that silence. This Work really is meditation. We’re meditating on these questions. So, how do you react? What happens when you believe the thought, “You want your mom to approve of you”? Now, again, you don’t have to guess at the answer. As you’re meditating on how do you react when you believe the thought, you just look at the image in that moment in that situation and it shows you how you react. Those of you out there, you never have to guess about how you react. It’s there. Look at the situation in your mind’s eye. Notice how you react and how you treat your mother and how you treat yourself and what that feels like. How you react when you believe the thought, “You want her approval.” Yeah. I feel small. I feel… like I’m not worth… I feel disconnected to her and to myself. Yeah. And you see that image of you trying to convince her. Look how painful that is. Do you see you, trying to convince her with your silence and your hurt or your anger or your frustration? Now, notice, as you continue to witness that situation, who would you be without the thought, “I need her to approve of me”? Witness your mom and hear her words. Look into her eyes. Really listen to what she’s saying. Who would you be without the thought, “I need her to approve of me”? I would feel whole and strong. What were her words? What was she saying? To me? Yes. The disapproval. She said that I don’t think you’ll end up with a girl. You need a man in your life. I know you. Now, she could be right. She could be right. But maybe not in the terms that you were thinking. Do you have a father? Excuse me? Do you have a father? Yes. Well, it could end up with him as the man in your life. But you have other male friends? Yeah. She could be right. You could end up with a numerous amount of men in your life. And you probably will if you are a well-adjusted person. Exactly. So, the moment you defend and you believe the thought, “I want her to approve of me,” you are deaf. You lose connection with your mother and you can’t hear what she’s saying. You put meaning onto those simple words and you disconnect you. And in that you live in a past and you feel guilt for the way you treated your mother in that moment, even if it were just the slightest, showing her the slightest disapproval in what she’s saying. And it happens every time we’re not really listening. But if we just listen in those moments when we’re angry, we just listen. “She thinks I’ll end up ultimately with a man in my life. I need a man.” Well, yeah. Yeah. So, rather than pain and this huge thing, there’s laughter. And it’s authentic. You’re not faking it. And your mother looks wise and loving and caring because she is. It’s what you were believing about her statement that caused the separation. And your distance. “I want Mom to approve of me.” Turn it around. I want me to approve of her? Yeah. Yeah. In that situation, what she said was you probably need a man in your life someday. You’ll probably end up with a man. You’re the one that put time and marriage and relationship on it. She didn’t do that. So, does that leave anything to disapprove of in that conversation with your mom? What else did she say? Pretty much just that. Yeah. So, who hurt you? Did she hurt you? Or did you hurt you? I hurt me. Yeah. So, I want me to approve of my mother. There’s nothing left to disapprove of. And we’re only considering that one situation. That’s the one we’re focused on on this particular Worksheet. So, “I want Mom to approve of me.” Turn it around again. Can you find another opposite? I don’t want… Yeah. I don’t want Mom to approve of me. Yeah. Can she make you change your mind? No. No. So, can you make her change her mind? No. Any time she disapproves of you, grow from it. Learn from it. Just like we’re doing now. Yeah. And there’s nothing we can’t learn from. I want Mom to approve of me. I don’t want Mom to approve of me. That way, you can ask her, Mom, tell me more. It looks like you’re… Are you hurt because I prefer women? Because I prefer girls? Are you hurt? Is this difficult for you? Do you think this will embarrass you in some way when people find out? And I want you to know I love you and I’m going to be there for you and I love that we’re this close. And I understand if you don’t approve of me. It was really scary for me, too. And I’m still scared. It frightens me. This is not what I expected. And when you look back, it could be it’s very much what you expected for a long time, rather. Yeah. Yeah. But because of your disapproval of that, and your fear of that, you put all those ideas on your mother. So give her the time that you gave you. You needed that time to step into your beautiful self. And so does she. Yeah. Yeah. So, I don’t want my mom to approve of me. You’re asking her to do a thing that was so difficult, you’re barely catching up with it. The last turnaround? Another turnaround. “I want Mom to approve of me.” I want me to approve of me. Yeah. I want me to approve of me. Yeah. So, give me some… Give me some examples of why it would be really good if you approved of you and who and what you are. Your sexuality, your gender. Your preference. Your beautiful you. What would be good about it. Yeah. I need me to approve of me. If you approved of you, what advantages are in that for you? And for other people? What advantages are there if you approved of you and what advantages are there for you and what advantages are there for your parents, for your mom. Your friends. Yeah. If I have trust in myself and don’t doubt myself then I won’t lie, so I will be truthful and I’ll reach back to my mom again. She’ll see that I’ll come back with her. That I’m there. Yeah. So, I’m hearing from you it gives you the opportunity, if you approved of you, which isn’t all so easy to do, as you know, from experience. If you approved of you, you would be a more honest person, a more authentic person, and not just over your sexuality, but this can run through your whole life. Everything. Your education. Your relationship with your mother. Your relationship with other people, men and women. Yeah. If you approved of you, that’s a lot of freedom. So, I want me to approve of me. A lot of advantages. Now, sweetheart, we have only questioned 1 statement on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. Just 1. So, you can imagine the freedom that waits for you if you filled in your own Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet out of that situation with your mom. hold it in your mind’s eye, exactly where you were, where the two of you were, so you have that image and time and location to focus on as you sit in these 4 questions and turnaround in your Worksheet. OK. Thank you, Emily. Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure. It’s a privilege to be with you. I’m so honored to get this opportunity to talk with you. Thank you so much. Be happy. And if you’re not, then you know what to do about it.