Welcome back to Tuff Love with your host, Rob Kandell. Tuff love is always about ways to improve your life, ways to see how things are or are not working. The topic today is very interesting and possibly one of the unique Tuff Love episodes to date. There is no coachee in this show but it’s a great show regardless. It’s about a book that has changed Rob’s life. Everything you read, do or look at changes you in some way, but this has been a big book for Rob.
It’s the children’s book Tiger-Tiger, Is it True? written by Byron Katie and illustrated by Hans Wilhelm.
What happens every night in Rob’s household is they read the same book. The same book, every single night, sometimes once to one kid, sometimes twice to two kids. So this book is a big part of Rob’s life because it’s become a really amazing ritual.
All kids books are awesome and inventive. However, the thing about this book that is different is that it’s by Byron Katie, an incredible teacher. The message in this book is so awesome that Rob was coaching recently and realized he was using the Tiger-Tiger approach and quoting the book inside the coaching session.
The synopsis of the book is this:
- There’s a kid named Tiger-Tiger. He has a rough morning. He gets out of bed and trips over, his parents are arguing, he feels ignored and uncared for.
- He goes to school and gets picked last for games. Then, to top it all off, his best buddy Rhino decides to play with the Zebra, so Tiger, Tiger feels ditched yet again.
- He ends up on a dock by the water. He’s crying and thinking nobody likes him and nobody cares about him.
- All of a sudden a wise turtle shows up. Turtle is a bad ass. Turtle asks Tiger-Tiger, “what’s up?” He says, “nobody cares, nobody likes me, I’m being rejected.” He speaks in absolutes
This is part of Byron Katie’s work and Rob really wants to get this message across. We do this to ourselves all the time. We speak to ourselves in superlatives. We talk to ourselves using words like nothing, no time, everyone, everything, never, always. When things go bad, we think in these absolutes.
Language creates reality. Reality creates language. So when you tell your body, your soul, your self this, there’s a very negative effect because you’re living inside this belief system that no one cares. Your body actually believes it. So the first lesson from the great book, Tiger-Tiger, is to be aware of when you start to speak in absolutes. See if you’re telling yourself something that isn’t true.
The story continues:
- Turtle says, “It sounds pretty bad. Can you absolutely know it’s true that there’s nobody in the whole wide world who cares about you or likes you?” Tiger-Tiger is taken aback and can’t say that. He’s not sure if it’s absolutely true.
- What Turtle did to good old Tiger is he broke the cycle of his belief system and the lock that goes on in our brain so strongly. He messed with it and unlocked it.
- Turtle says, “How does it feel inside when you have that thought? What does it feel like? Tiger-Tiger says he feels sad and lonely and miserable and rotten.
- Turtle flips it around. “What does the thought feel like when you don’t think that thought? What is the world like when you aren’t stuck in the thought that no one cares or likes you?”
- Tiger, Tiger is amazed. It’s not my parents or my friends how bug me, it’s my thinking. That’s really cool.
- Just the flip of the thought from ‘no one cares’ to ‘that’s not true’ enables Tiger-Tiger to see that it’s his thinking, his belief system and the way that he’s stopping himself that is the limiting factor.
Rob was thinking about this and the wisdom of Turtle before doing this episode. We can reframe anything. You have the human ability at any point to reframe anything. We think we’re a prisoner to our thoughts, but we’re not.
We’re actually very powerful when it comes to the ability to flip our thoughts around. We have cortexes, reasonable thinking, and we’re one of the few animals that do. We have the ability to take one thought and say ‘well no, that thought might not be true.’
The story concludes:
- Tiger-Tiger really sees that it’s his thinking that is the problem. Turtle says, ‘You got it! It’s your thinking! Now try something different. Turn the thought around, can you find the opposite?”
- Tiger says, ‘somebody cares and likes me?’
- It’s called a turnaround. Take the negative thought—no one cares, no one likes me—and turn it around—someone cares and someone likes me.
- Turtle says, ‘Can you find evidence? Can you find 3 ways that your parents like you?’ Tiger-Tiger doesn’t have to think very long before he realizes his parents don’t just care about him, they really like him.
- The mighty Turtle has now added evidence into Tiger-Tiger’s brain that there’s ways that this thought isn’t true. They go through the same process with his best friend and school.
- Turtle asks Tiger-Tiger to find another turnaround for nobody cares, nobody likes me. Tiger-Tiger says, ‘I care and I like everybody?’
- So the turnaround flipped from external and back into internal. It goes from looking outside at all this evidence as to why the world is shit and into an internal approach, of how we have this power inside of us to be full, real and rich.
- At the end, Tiger-Tiger sees the error in his ways and how he doesn’t have to believe these thoughts. He never has to believe these thoughts ever again, it’s really on him to continue to live his life where he thinks outside the box and outside these negative thoughts.
We do this as adults all the time. The thing about adults compared to kids is that we have years and years, and boxes and boxes, and suitcases and file cabinets full of evidence of why our thinking is real and permanent and static. We live in this world where we don’t give ourselves the credit or even the chance to turn these thoughts around.
Rob finds himself doing it in his own life, for example around his weight. He’s looking at the angst-ful feeling he feels in his body every time he wakes up and how to turn that thought around. He’s looking for evidence for the contrary.
It’s about your ability to take these thoughts that you feel are limiting you and turn them around to find the evidence against them.
Byron Katie has more adult based work, but the message is simple. There’s a way where if you feel stuck and limited in your beliefs, know that you have the power, the intellect, the ability to take these feelings and thoughts and flip them around so you can have the life exactly the way you want it.
The only limiting thing truly is you.
If you want some daily love, Rob has been doing 9 minutes and 9am on his Facebook wall and go out and stop believing the shit that has you stop living your life.
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