Byron Katie Archives - Dr. Mary Pritchard

Processing Hurt Feelings and Negative Emotions

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 4 Comments

It happens to all of us. We’re having a great day and then … we get in a fight with a loved one, someone says something hurtful to us, we run into an ex. Good, bad, or wish-that-never-happened, emotions occur. After all, we are all just energy, and so are our emotions: e-motions = energy in motion. So rather than getting caught up in negative emotions, I encourage you to learn to let them be energy in motion.

Easier said than done sometimes, though huh?

So how do you deal with these hurtful circumstances or negative emotions? I’ve developed a 5-step process that I use. Caveat: when you first start using this process, it does take some time. However, it gets easier and faster the more often you do it.

1) Write down (or tell a trusted friend) what happened – the key here is to focus on the facts. Don’t add your interpretation of events or assume you know what the other person was thinking or feeling. It should be something like, “He said this and I said that.” Don’t add in your emotions yet – that’s coming in the next step. Don’t skip this step either. It’s important to get it down from almost a third-party point of view so you can gain more clarity about what actually happened.

2) Write down how you feel and why – this is where you get to feel those emotions. All that hurt, anger, sadness – get it out. Then dive into the why. Why did what he said to you upset you so much? Dive deep here – yes, our emotions are reactions to what happened in the moment; but on top of that, they are often also reactions to things that have happened in the past. This “double reaction” serves to intensify the emotional experience for us and sometimes may feel like it’s been blown up bigger than it would have been otherwise.

3) Figure out what needs to be done and why (realize the answer may be “nothing”) – from a third party perspective (this is why doing this process with a trusted friend can be helpful), figure out if there is anything that actually needs to be done here. For example, if you received a rude email or text from someone, do you need to respond? Today’s video goes more in depth on this step.

4) What do you want to do and why – this is where you get to say all of the things that you really want to do (even if you think it’s not appropriate to do). If you want to say something nasty to that person, this is where you get to write it down (note: you are not acting yet, you are just writing down what you really want to do). Then dive into your why. Why do want to do that or say that? Is it because you’re feeling vindictive? Is it because you’re hurting and you want them to know how much they hurt you? Are you trying to “right” a perceived “wrong?” Get it all out.


5) Decide what to do – this is where you look back at everything you wrote and decide what action step will be for your highest good (or in alignment with your Soul). We may want to say something nasty to someone that hurt us, but that likely is not in alignment with our highest good/Soul’s purpose. I like to think of Byron Katie’s advice here. She encourages us to ask ourselves 3 questions:  1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind (to us and to the other person – note that kind is not the same as nice – I talk more about this distinction in today’s video), and 3) Is it necessary?

I hope this series of steps helps you gain clarity on how to process your negative emotions. Let me know how it worked for you in the comments!

The Fine Art of Saying No: It’s Time to Reassess, Release and Renew

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 2 Comments

I need to be with myself and center; clarity, peace, serenity… ~ Fergie

It's the holiday season. Requests are coming in – requests for your time, your money, and your energy. Can you make another pie for the bake sale? Can you donate to your favorite charity or help stuff the bus? Can you sit in on this one committee meeting for me? Could you take my kids to school today, as I'm sick? You don't mind sewing a costume tonight for your daughter’s pageant, do you? Honey, I volunteered you to make the Christmas meal for the whole family; you don't mind, do you?  

The holidays are a perfect reason to be grateful for what we have, to give, and to receive. But let me tell you a secret: you don't have to do it all. Yet when there are so many demands on our time, it can be difficult to say no. I think it's the way many of us were raised: to be people pleasers, yes women, get-it-done girls.

But at what expense? Often times we sacrifice our own sanity and self-care in order to be of service to others. Yet, how can we really be of service to others if we can't be of service to ourselves? You cannot serve from a depleted place.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite Byron Katie sayings. She meant it in the context of deciding when to speak and went to say silent, but I think it could still be used here, with some minor modifications. Before speaking, she urges us to consider the following questions: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

Taken in context of deciding when to speak our truth, it makes perfect sense. But I think it could also work when applied to making decisions for ourselves and assessing when to say yes and when to say no: Is it true that no one else could do it? Is it kind to ourselves to say yes to yet another obligation that we may not really want to do in the first place? Is it really necessary for us to be the one to do it? I would add to that: do I really even want to do this?

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it for me?

This semester has been one of the most difficult in my 20 years in academia and I have found myself using this very philosophy recently. I was faced with a tough decision of whether or not to continue with a role I was tasked with at the beginning of the semester. At the time I agreed to take on the role, I was assured that it wouldn’t take more than 1-2 hours a week. The reality was closer to 5-10 hours a week. It was more than I bargained for and I found myself growing increasingly resentful.

I reached out to a friend and shared my dilemma with her. She passed on some words of advice that fell right in alignment with my own inner conflict: I think you need to examine why you feel inclined to stay? Is it fulfilling to you personally, or do you feel like they need you? They will be okay if you leave… Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it for me?

I ultimately decided that it wasn’t a fit for me anymore and put in my resignation. It was a tough decision, but I know it was the best decision for me – and for the organization I was involved with.

This is the perfect time of year to reassess what’s on your plate – figure out what’s for you and what isn’t – so that, moving forward into the New Year, you can do so with clarity and from a place of renewal, not depletion.

Make some time for you in the coming weeks to truly assess all of your current obligations and decide for each: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it for me?