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Byron Katie's Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet

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(this speech was prepared for Toastmasters)

You all know how scary angry people can be. Theyíre like a whirl wind Ė trying to pull you in and push you away at the same time. When my father was angry, he used to yell: One mistake can ruin your life. He was never explicit about what that mistake might be. But whenever he yelled, I feared I might have made THE one mistake. I imagined that a huge straw coming down from the sky to suck me off the planet into the outer void. And my father didnít want to be anywhere near me when that happened.

I decided that the solution to this problem was for my father never to be angry with me. Then I would be safe. But I could never control him, or the other people in my life who became angry.

Byron Katieís Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet is a tool to help you examine your thoughts. about angry people and scary situations. The name is intentionally provocative.

We all know weíre not supposed to judge our neighbors. But we all do it. And then we judge ourselves because weíve done something weíre not supposed to do. The Worksheet is a way to judge our neighbors and reach a healing outcome.

In case you donít know who their neighbors are, Iíll make it simple. Your neighbors are everybody else on the planet. Thatís everybody, whether youíve met them or not, who might upset, irritate, disappoint or frighten you. Yes, politicians and movie actors are included. Weíre always judging people, whether weíve met them or not.

The Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet uses 4 questions, turn-arounds and an affirmation.

The questions are:

  • Is it true?
  • Can I absolutely know itís true.
  • How do I feel when I think that thought?
  • Who would I be without that thought?


To show you how it works, Iíll use myself as an example.

I make my judgement. Then I ask the questions, and answer them.

I said: My Father should not be angry with me. Then I ask: Is that true?

Of course itís true. He shouldnít be angry with me. Iím a good person. If he saw things from my perspective, heíd be sympathetic. Heís wrong to be angry. He reminds me of the big bad troll in Billy Goats Gruff, always yelling: Whoís that going Trip Trap Trip Trap Over My Bridge?

But heís really the treacherous little billy goat gruff, saying to the giant straw, "Donít eat me! My tasty little girl is coming along after me Ė eat her instead." Thatís wrong!

Now Iíve certainly justified my judgement. But itís not over yet. Then I ask the second question:

My father should not be angry with me. Can I absolutely know thatís true?

I really donít know. Maybe from his point of view I ruined his plans or got in his way. Maybe I disappointed him or disobeyed him. And maybe in his view, these are reasons to be angry. I canít read his mind and I donít know whatís right for him. So, I donít absolutely know that my father should not be angry with me.

Now itís time for the third question. Again, I repeat my judgement and ask the question.

My father should not be angry with me: How do I feel when I think that thought?

Iím scared. That big straw might come down and suck me off the planet.

And the fourth question:

My father should not be angry with me. Who would I be without that thought?

Iíd be calm, confident, unafraid. Iíd be able to look at my father as someone who needs a kind word Ė not someone to run away from.

So, is there any sane reason to keep that thought: My father should not be angry with me?

Weíve examined it Ė and rationally thereís nothing to it. My fatherís anger is in his head. I donít have to have it in mine. He canít really make a giant straw come out of the sky to suck me off of the planet. But it still doesnít feel right that heís angry with me.

Iíve asked four questions, Iíve looked for the truth in my judgement. I learned that I wasnít really afraid of my fatherís anger. I was afraid of my thoughts about his anger. What it might mean about my future, my survival.

The next step of Byron Katieís worksheet deals with thoughts. This is where the real work on the Worksheet happens: the turnarounds and the affirmation.

Usually there are several turn-arounds. A turnaround is where you state the opposite of the original judgement, and ask if it is as true or truer.

What are the opposites of My father should not be angry with me?

One turnaround would be:

I should not be angry with my father. Ė Thatís Interesting. Iím angry with him for being angry with me. And that doesnít feel good. So, this turnaround is as true as the original.

Thereís another turnaround:

I should not be angry with me. Iíve bought into this whole silly story. Iíve become angry with myself because I may have made THE mistake and now a big straw may come down from the sky and suck me off the planet. I could give myself the sympathy I deserve. Thatís a pretty scary story to have made up and then believed.

This turnaround gives me a new perspective on that straw. The straw is the belief that anger or fear accomplish anything. When someone is angry with me, thatís the straw talking. The anger or fear is what pulls a person off planet Ė out of touch with the truth. The angry person is clutching onto the straw, not the other way around. At any time a person can let go of the anger and return to Earth. Itís NOT a permanent mistake.

Are there any other turn arounds? I can find one more:

My father should be angry with me. That sounds crazy. But that IS whatís happening. My fatherís anger is a part of who he is. Itís as natural as the wind. Or a whaleís spout. Thar she blows! I cannot control it. It may not be right, but it is a fact. I might be happier if I accept it as just one of those things that happens.

Is that true? Am I really willing to have him angry with me?

The fact is that my father is angry with me. Thatís the way the universe is, and I have no power to change it. When I try to fight with the universe I always lose. So, this turnaround is truer than the original.

Once youíve found a turnaround that is truer than the original judgement, the next step is to turn it into an affirmation.

The affirmation for My father should not be angry with me is: I am willing for my father to be angry with me. If I tell myself that I am willing for my father to be angry with me, thatís nothing more than acknowledging the truth. It puts me in charge. My fatherís anger is no longer a surprise or an attack. Itís something that Iím allowing. Itís no different from saying I allow the wind to blow. My fatherís anger is based on his interpretation of events Ė on his thoughts. When I accept that, Iím not fighting with the universe, and Iím not fighting with my father.

I may as well add the affirmation: Iím willing to have a huge straw come down out of the sky and suck me off the planet. Thereís nothing I can do about it. And living my life in fear doesnít help matters. For all I know, living in fear is THE one mistake that can ruin my life.

Four questions and turn it around. Thanks to Byron Katieís worksheet, I have judged my father and myself and found us both innocent.

Byron Katieís worksheet can help you deal with any angry people or scary situations. Just ask four questions and turn it around.



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