Last month I had the joy of sitting with six people and facilitating a journey for them of Radical Self-Acceptance. One of the powerful exercises we did was the “turn-around” from author Byron Katie. Whether I am struggling with self-judgment or judgment of another, I find this exercise incredibly valuable!
I invite you to think of a judgment you have of yourself or another, and write it down. Let yourself be honest with the thoughts that are in your head. It might sound something like: “X shouldn’t be so angry.” or “I should have more control over my emotions.”
The turn-around exercise is to rewrite this sentence in as many ways as you can, simply by using the reverse of the words written. “You” can become “me.” “More” can become “less.” It may seem more like a grammatical exercise at first, but as you do it you may notice feelings of relief or revelation with some of the new sentences you come up with. These are cues that there is some useful direction with this new thought.
Using the example above, one of my favorites is: “I shouldn’t have more control over my emotions.” This invites a perspective of radical acceptance, of deep allowing for me to be just as I am. When I remove the sense of shame from how I see myself, much of the struggle can lessen.
You could try doing the exercise above in a journal or with a friend. I would love to hear how it goes for you! You can learn more about Byron Katie at www.thework.com.