Shamyla tells Byron Katie that The Work has led to a deep forgiveness of others but not of herself. As Katie takes her back to an incident that has caused the pain, Shamyla finds that the evidence of her misdeed is shaky at best. “To hold its identity,” Katie says, “the ego has to hold on to the illusions that keep us hooked until our deathbed. Inquiry shows us a whole different world that we have no access to when we are believing our stressful thoughts.”
Byron Katie: So, Shumaila. Hi, Shumaila. Thank you for your email. Shumaila: I’m so happy to see you. Would you read it. Yes. Hi Katie. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your wisdom from Loving What Is with me, a 40-year-old mom who finally removed the painful thoughts haunting me my whole life, going as far back as 30 years. My question is, how do I forgive myself? Using your method, inquiry, four questions, and turnaround, I have detached myself from so many negative thoughts and forgiven people for any wrongdoing. But when I judge myself with a truth like, I want to forgive myself for my mistakes, I want to not be so hard on myself, or I wish I could love everyone in my life effortlessly, or, I wish I had more self-confidence. And the list goes on and on. How do I find this peace in myself? I just don’t know. Please, please share your heart about this. I am stuck. So, you say, “I want to forgive myself for my mistakes.” So, let’s look at that one. So, when I hear that, if I have the thought, I want to forgive myself for my mistakes. So, I go back to a situation where I made this horrible mistake. Maybe I hurt someone. Yes. And maybe they cut me out of their life. Right. And there’s nothing I can do to make it right. Maybe they’re not speaking to me. Right. And so I go back to that moment in time where I made the mistake, where I did what I did and said what I said, and then I begin to fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. I find one situation where I was hard on myself or recall a situation where I was not effortlessly loving someone. Because you say, I wish I could love everyone in my life effortlessly. So, I find a moment in time where I wasn’t loving someone. Or I was trying to and so much effort and I couldn’t. And you say, I wish I had more self-confidence. I’d go to a situation in time where I was just; I had no confidence. I was so uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t. It was horrible. So, I go to that situation. But whatever situation I find, then that’s my Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. I locate one mistake. I find one situation. Let’s say, where I was hard on myself. Or I recall a situation where I was not effortlessly loving, etcetera. And I begin to fill in the Worksheet. So, what comes to your mind? Because I was watching you and you just; you’re so beautifully transparent in just witnessing your lovely face, but I have no idea what was going on. What situation came to your mind? Well, some people that I’ve hurt are no longer alive. Yeah. Yeah. So, that wouldn’t stop me and it didn’t stop me. So, I go back to that situation and as I recall it, there they are, alive in my head. For example, if I hurt my grandmother, I go back into that situation and I identify what I was thinking and believing in that situation and that’s my Worksheet. OK. Yes. It’s making more sense. But as I try to do that, I really was getting more and more pain and, like, a block. Just a complete block from trying to get to those thoughts. Yes. So, I don’t… The reason I don’t have difficulty is, let’s say with my grandmother, I can’t think of one with her. Oh, I know. It’s like, with my aunt, years ago, and she’s dead. I was just a little girl. And it was her wedding day. And my mother, her sister, and all of us were in the room as she was getting ready. And I thought she just looked beautiful. And I heard one of the ladies say that her breasts were too small. Oh! And I was just a little girl. And everyone was saying how beautiful she looked; how beautiful. And my aunt was in the mirror just so beautiful, to my mind. And she said: What do you think, Katie? And I said: Well, I think your breasts are too small. I thought I was helping. I had no… She was stunned. And that’s what this little girl gave her for her wedding day. I see. I understand. Horrendous. Yes. I can relate. So that’s my Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. I am devastated. Because I hurt my aunt. Right. And then on statement 2: “I want my aunt to forgive me.” “I want to take back those words.” Do you know, I was thinking of my aunt as you mentioned your aunt. It was my aunt who I hurt. You know, I love how that works, because I’ve never shared that with anyone because it’s never come to me until the two of us are sitting together. Wow. Thank you. It’s always in the right time and the right place. Yeah. Because she died of breast cancer and I was young just like you described, maybe 10 or 11, and the words that came from my mouth made her so sad that I never forgot that look on her face. And in all these years it has just been painful. Painful every time. Because I hurt her. Because I did not tell her that I love her and that I was so sorry. I just didn’t know how to undo that. “You did not tell her you loved her.” Is it true? No. No. It’s; not at that moment, but, no, it’s not true. So take that in. I know she felt love from me. I just; yeah. I think I couldn’t forgive myself for that. So, rather than go into self-discussion, just notice and then just move to the next question. There are only four. Notice how you react. What happened in that situation when you said what you said. Right. Notice how you react when you believe the thought, “I never told her I loved her.” It’s very… It makes me feel so guilty when I believe that thought. And I think it undermines everything else that we shared that was good. Yes. The ego loves that. It’s how it stays identified and how it holds that grip. Yeah. It’s fighting for its survival. Now, notice in that situation, that same situation, who would you be without the thought, “I never told her I love her.” I would be free. I would be happy. I would be content. And I would feel at peace. Yeah. You know, I’m in that room, as that little girl, looking at my aunt, in that lovely round, large mirror, sitting in front of it. And I see her just horrified and hurt. Yeah. And who would I be without the thought? I’m looking in the mirror and I’m not so sure; I’m looking at her in the mirror and I’m not so sure she’s so horrified and hurt. OK. Because I believed at the time that’s what I saw. But that 4th question, who would I be without the thought, it gives me time to really get real. I was so horrified I was blinded. Right. Right. And it could be the same. I don’t want to change it. I just want to see what was really there. I was so shocked at the response from, I think it was someone from behind me, as I’m sitting in that 4th question, as opposed to her. So this is getting really interesting. I am meditating on that moment in time. I’ve got to know. Right. And it couldn’t be any worse than what I’m believing all these years. It’s very clear what you are saying makes much more sense than any of those thoughts that came in my mind when everything was negative. And it was guilt. We see what we believe. When we no longer believe it, we see. We see. Right. Wow. That’s a release. It really is a huge burden. And we’re just partially working one concept. So, a whole Worksheet will change the way you see everyone and everything, including the way you see yourself. It will change everything all the days of your life. Just one Worksheet. Please explain how I can turn around this statement. “I never told her that I loved her.” What is the opposite? I did. I told her that I love her. So, give me an example of where you clearly, through word or action, clearly let her know you loved her. I surprised her with flowers one time when she was in the hospital getting her chemotherapy. I bought her a sweater she really wanted but couldn’t buy on her own. Wow. I didn’t think of those things. No. The ego won’t allow it. To hold its identity, it has to hold onto those illusions that are absolutely real to us; that would keep us hooked to our deathbed and guilty. The only way out I know is to question and listen to those answers from within as they show us a whole different world that we have no access to when we’re believing this one narrow little thought. Yeah. And so your job is to continue to experience that turnaround and all the ways you did tell her you loved her, with a smile, with a phone call. I mean; to be aware and open to that. I almost didn’t think I had those memories anymore of the good things. Yeah, the ego loves that, too. It’s got every trick in the book to keep that identity of I’m the unloving niece. I will forgive myself. Well, you know, in the case with my aunt, I’m looking at it and it’s almost as though there’s nothing to forgive. But I’ve got to; can you just sit there and see if this little 4-year-old girl really was that devastating; my remark. You were just a child. I was just a child. Right. That’s the reality of it. I could have been younger than 4 but it was… Yeah. Yeah. That’s how strongly it stays. And I have to really look: Did she… You know, I’m just really looking at it. I’ve got to make sure that there wasn’t just a lot of laughter in the room and celebration of… I’ve got to be there now and get this straight, and those questions deliver me. They give me everything. And the ego would say: Don’t go there! It’s gonna be worse. Very strongly. But that’s OK. I’m gonna go there because it couldn’t be worse. I feel defeated when it happens that way, when my ego feels that it is in control of me. I’m intimidated. So, “I never told my aunt I love her.” Turn it around to yourself. I never… I never told myself that I… …love me. No, I didn’t. That’s true. That’s very true. That’s very true. It’s truer. So, let that be your job. Tell you you love you. You know, buy some flowers and give them to you. Bring them home. Just like you did your aunt. Yeah, Katie, that’s so true. I never did that. All the ways you want to love your aunt, put that on you. Give that to you. Thank you. You’re welcome. And I suggest that you do an entire Worksheet with one of these amazing certified facilitators on TheWork.com and get this beautiful Work done, honey, inside of you and set yourself free. Thank you. Thank you for our time together. Yes. Bye-bye. Bye-bye.