Negative Thoughts That Create Drama & Pain
Updated: Apr 27
What's covered: Four mind-freeing questions to reverse negative & stressful thoughts that create relationship drama & personal suffering
Last week my partner got into a very *heated discussion* with a female colleague.
It wasn't about impending deadlines, staffing issues or even the over-use of the communal tea bags.
No, it was something much more serious and potentially offensive: leaving the toilet seat UP.
Already, you could be thinking, "I hate it when guys do that!"
Or, if you're in the camp of Seat Up, "So? What's the big deal?"
It can seem like such a petty, ridiculous thing to argue about, and yet, it's one of the most common grievances in a mixed-sex home. (That, and leaving dirty clothes on the floor and not in the wash basket!)
And, seemingly, not just in the home, but in the workplace too.
So, what's the relevance of this toilet tale to spirituality, mindfulness and self-awareness?
First, let's make one thing clear: neither person is wrong or right here. (If me saying that is making your eye twitch, then please read on.)
It has much less to do with the details (i.e. toilet seat up or down) and has much more to do with the significance or the meaning we attach to what someone does OR doesn't do.
As my partner started relaying the seat story to me, I was reminded of a brilliant podcast by Motivational Speaker Marie Forleo and Spiritual Author Byron Katie.
In the podcast, Byron Katie (who prefers to be called Katie) tackles this universally recognized lavatory dilemma by putting it under the truth microscope, applying her four mind-freeing questions, also known as The Work, to the situation.
Couldn't give a toilet roll about the position of loo seats?
Don't tune out, because Katie's self-enquiry process doesn't only apply to putting the toilet seat down or leaving it up, it applies to all areas of life, such as:
She shouldn't have cheated on me. (And because she did, it must mean I'm not good enough.)
He shouldn't have died like that. (And because he did, it means I must live with this guilt and remorse every day.)
My parents should respect me and my life choices. (And because they don't, it means I can't feel free to be me.)
My body shouldn't be experiencing this pain. (And because it is, it means I can't be happy.)
Or our toilet-trigger goodie...
He shouldn't leave the toilet seat up! (And because he did, it means he's disrespectful and inconsiderate towards others.)
She shouldn't care if the toilet seat is up! (And because she does, it means I'm being controlled and treated like a child.)
And yet, the toilet seat - up or down - is just that, a toilet seat.
Similarly, any life event that is causing ongoing stress or pain IS NOT the actual problem, no matter how it may seem or how convincing your thoughts are about the situation.
As Byron Katie says, "It's not the problem that causes our suffering; it's our thinking about the problem."
If you're still reading this blog, then there's a strong awareness in you that's more than ready to challenge those mind-made stories and vanquish those tormenting thoughts.
Click on the link below to start listening to Katie and Marie's mind-revealing podcast:
4 Simple Questions That Will Reverse Any Negative Thought
A Live Interview & Demonstration of Byron Katie's 4 Questions (marieforleo.com)
If you're really tight on time, fast forward to 15.45 on the podcast for Katie's unique perspective on the toilet seat conundrum.
Before you hit the fast forward button, consider this: If dark, painful or stressful thoughts are robbing you of joy and fulfilment, then carve out some time in your day to listen to the whole podcast.
Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Keep listening to your body and trusting your wise self,
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