Letting Go of Suffering- Week 5: Why Do I Suffer? (continued)

Most likely, the reason you suffer as an adult is because suffering was an acceptable method of expressing your feelings, or more accurately, a method of “stuffing” your real feelings, in your family of origin. This week you will explore some of the childhood origins of your suffery behavior. Again, Levin’s Think Structure (Cycles of Power) will be used as the tool to help you organize your thinking.

(The Think Structure process is taught in the previous lesson.)

Example 1

Situation: As an adult, I have trouble saying “NO”. I will think about what happened when I said “NO” as a two-year-old and nine-year-old child.

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Example 2

Situation: As an adult, I have trouble asking for what I want. I will think about what happened when I asked for what I wanted as an infant and a 14 year-old child.

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When you explore how your adult behaviors relate to your childhood, it would be helpful for you to look at one behavior over a variety of ages. In each of the examples below I ask you to look at an issue for two different ages. Fill in the blanks to come up with your own think structures.

Practice Exercise 1

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Practice Exercise 2

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During the rest of the week, complete Think Structures for some of the adult behaviors you worked on in Practice Exercise 3 in the previous lesson. Explore two childhood ages for each Think Structure. (Ages that tend to be particularly good to reflect on are infant, 2, 5, 9, 14 and 17.)

You may need to change the way you described the adult behavior in Practice Exercise 3 in the previous lesson, so that it becomes a childhood behavior. For example, if your adult behavior was “leave work early”, the child behavior might be “do what I want to do.”

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See you next Monday for the sixth lesson.

To find the lessons in this series that have already been published click here.

 

Letting Go of Suffering- Week 4: Why Do I Suffer?

The task for this week and the next will be to explore WHY you suffer, e.g. why you are suffering now as an adult and why you learned to suffer as a child. The primary tool you will use is Pam Levin’s “Think Structure” (Cycles of Power). This structure will help you 1) organize your thinking and 2) determine what motivates or drives the behaviors that lead you to suffering.

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Example 1

Situation: I agreed to help a friend move to a new apartment and even though I didn’t want to do it. I feel mad that I am not spending my day doing what I want to do. This would not have happened if I had said “No” in the first place, but I was afraid to do that.

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Example 2

Situation: I want to go to the movie but I am afraid that if I ask my friend to go, she will say “NO” to me, so I stay home alone.

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Your turn! Think of recent times when you had trouble 1) saying “NO” and 2) asking for what you want. Fill in the practice exercises below. If you can’t think of recent incidents, use experiences from the past.

Practice Exercise 1

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Practice Exercise 2

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During the rest of the week, be aware of times you are suffering. Use the Think Structure to help you sort out what is going on for you.  If you have no incidents of suffering during the week, complete the structures from incidents in the past. If you have trouble identifying when you are suffering, use some of the behaviors you identified in Exercise 1 of Lesson 2. Complete at least three more Think Structures this week.

Practice Exercise 3

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Feel free to share or ask for feedback on Think Structures that you come up with!

See you next Monday for the fifth lesson.

To find the lessons in this series that have already been published click here.