Doing The Work

jeff's picture

In my interview with Byron Katie (which you should read before posting here), she mentioned:

"You (could) have this whole list with "Being gay or lesbian means..." and put that list that they struggle with in their little hearts. We could walk through inquiry on it, and show them how to do every single one of them themselves... it doesn't mean they would do it. It would just show the four questions and the turnaround."

So, I figured I'd invite people to try it here. Let's generate a list of common "stressful thoughts" that we have about what it means to be gay or lesbian, and then we could explore those thoughts more fully.

What do you think?

haNa's picture



- The fear that you're wrong. That you're broken

- The fear that once everyone knows, you'll be a complete different person in their eyes.

- The fear that who are in their eyes effects who are.

- Confusion

- The feeling of isolation, lack of gay friends or role models.

- Once you come out, you'll have to start all over, because you'll lose everything, and everyone.

- The fear you'll never have all of your rights

- The fear that'll you'll need those imaginary rights.

- Paranoia. You never know who to trust.

- You'll be rejected by other queers because you don't fit into any stereotype.

- The craving to break the stereotypes.


jeff's picture

OK, go through them one at a time...

Just change it from "you" to "I" when you do it, because you can only solve this for yourself.

So, again, the questions are:

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?

So, you're wrong. Is that true?


"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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dreamers imagine someday's picture

My most stressful thought

My most stressful thought about being gay is the very knowledge that the moment I am out, my family will reject me, and never talk to me again.
1) Yes
2) I know it is true, all my LGBT family members have been shunned since my grandaunt the mother of 8 LGBT kids, died. No guilt, to stop them, therefore they shun away.
3)I get scared, because I know I will have to come out eventually and the idea of losing such support scares me.
4) I wouldn't have nearly as much guilt as I do today. Because in a way, them turning their backs to me, me turning on them. I fear what my sisters will think. I fear for my MTF aunt, they would blame her, and I know they will get violent. I don't want that guilt, I want it far away from me. I want to be free from the quilt I want to be in love, and not fear. I want to so badly, that I feel even more guilt, because when I hope for something that much, I feel greedy. I don't know maybe it is because I'm Catholic.

V is the bomb, he blows with anarchy!!!

jeff's picture


My interpretation on this would be...

Your stressful thought is they will reject you, but based on what you know, the turnaround is YOU will reject them when you come out. It's hard to face a reality like this, but from what you said, it sounds like you have an entire LGBT side of the family that will embrace you.

So, "my family" will reject me isn't true, because those other people are also your family. So, your fear is having less guilt, finding family you can love, being shunned by violent people, and the ability to be honest with yourself and fall in love.

So, why would you want to keep that thought? And if the only choice is they will shun you, then what's the upside to avoiding reality? More guilt, fear, shame, disconnectedness, and stress?

There's no guarantee things will work out as you want them to, only as they are going to.


"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

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pomegranate's picture

Stuff inside my head that STRESSES ME OUT

So i read the interview. It was very interesting. however, the whole four questions thing seems a litltle too simple, but what do I know? - Not much, so i thought i'd give it a try. Here's a list of stressful thoughts:

1. How do I define myself?
When people ask me if I'm gay what do I say?
So far, bi seems to be the label that fits most, but I'm not sure.
Maybe I'm a lesbian, or a lesbian who'll have the occasional affair with a man?
Maybe I'm a just a really homosexually-inclined straight person who just needs some experimentation?

2. How will I be accepted by the queer community when I still have so many questions about myself?

3. Will the girl I like be freaked out if she knows I like her?

4. I'm scared certain people will judge me/hate me, and I'm scared I won't be strong enough to handle it.

jeff's picture


The stressful thoughts are easy, but apply the questions to them in order, and then the turnaround. There is no benefit to me doing The Work on your questions. I'm more to help you with it. Me doing it doesn't provide as much insight. You need to work through the questions in order to decouple the stress from the thoughts.


"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!

jeff's picture


One good way into The Work is also the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, because it is sometimes easier to see it in action when you write about a friend or someone, because it is easier to make the connections when it isn't attempting to work its way past your own mental blockades.

So, finding out that your girlfriend SHOULD in fact keep taking her "loser" boyfriend back (because she does keep taking him back, and who are you to argue with reality?), is often easier than doing something so close to home. So, you can also try that.

As for the stressful thoughts. It is best to make them about you.

So, pomegranate's questions would be easier to work up as:

"I don't know how to define myself.

I won't be accepted by the gay community.

She won't like me.

I won't be strong enough to deal with people who oppose me because of my sexuality."


"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there." -- Josh Billings.

Add me on MySpace!