Divorce and Stress: Understanding and Eliminating the Root Cause
Stress is defined as any “negative” emotion, feeling or reaction. This would include such things as anxiety, resentment, anger, worry, fear, depression and the like – all the opposite of a sense of peace, calm, contentment and well being.
What causes stress is the mind attaching itself, holding onto or believing a thought that produces the stress responses described above. At first this may seem a circular definition, so let’s take a closer look using some common scenarios that can lead to divorce and separation. One of these is money and how we think about money. When the subject arises it can be accompanied by anxiety and worry. Further, it is clear that the size of one’s pocket book has little to do with stress around money. Millionaires are no more exempt from stress in this area than others.
For example, when the monthly expenses, or in fact any bill or expense arrives in the mail, we can react with anxiety and worry. What is key in this or any stressful situation is to ask “What am I telling myself about the bills” or to put it another way, “What am I believing when confronted with expenses.” Possible stressful thoughts could be “I won’t have enough” or “this is never ending” or my husband/wife is a careless spender” or “I am so burdened.” Any of these beliefs, when we believe them, when we hold them tightly in an unquestioned way, will lead directly to stress, both emotional and physical. In addition to anxiety or, perhaps anger, these stressful belief can lead to stomach problems, high blood pressure and the like. Whatever may be the specific stressful belief, we end up attaching negative meaning to the arrival of the monthly bills and blindly go into a state of stress.
Take another example of stress that can lead to the break-up of a marriage. A spouse tells himself/herself about the other that “We’ll never see eye to eye.” If couples believe this thought without questioning it more closely, their minds will be on the lookout for ways that it is true. “He/she is dense” or He/she should be able to figure that out” or He/she is really screwed up.” When we believe something, the mind looks for proof and validation that what we are believing is true, whether these be other negatives around a stressful belief or positives around beliefs that are at the opposite pole of peace and calm and kindness. So, if you want to know what you believe about your spouse, take a look at the stories you are telling yourself around him/her.
Important to note, that just because one has a stressful belief does not mean there may not be some truth in the belief. However the meaning for the stressed person around the belief is one of judgment, condemnation and some form of looking down on the other. A person can believe their spouse is “selfish”, for example, and have that be only an unfettered observation that is sometimes true and sometimes not; or it can be a stressful condemnation where the hunt for validation of his or her selfishness is always on.
Deconstructing and Dissolving Stressful Beliefs and the Search for Truth and Peace can be a successful process. The success can be achieved by identifying the stressful belief, and by stopping to take a closer look at it and actually questioning whether it is true. Is what we are telling ourselves, what we are believing an absolute reflection of reality? If we are so attached to the belief that an open mind in looking at it is not possible, the questioning will lead nowhere except back to the original agenda, to wit, I am “right” about my belief. However, if we have an open mind and are motivated by a love for truth (and the consequent peace that comes from finding it), such questioning can lead to places of calm and equanimity.
How to Question Stressful Beliefs can be a straight-forward and simple process. Once the stressful concept is ascertained, such as “my husband/wife does not understand me”, then four basic questions are applied to the concept and answered as authentically as possible. The questions as applied to the example are these:
Can you absolutely know your husband/wife does not understand you?
What are all the ways and how do you react and what happens emotionally, physically and in your thinking when you believe the thought that your husband/wife does not understand you?
Who do you imagine you would be without the thought that your husband/wife does not understand you?
Then, turn the thought around to the opposite, to the other and to your self and find examples how these “turn arounds” are as true or truer as the original stressful belief. Thus, the turn arounds would be:
- My husband/wife does understand me (find examples).
- I don’t understand my husband/wife (find examples).
- I don’t understand myself.
Use of this simple questioning process as applied to identified stressful thoughts we believe can lead to the peace of mind one might be seeking but did not know how to find.
This article is based on The Work by Byron Katie. For more information and to experience The Work being done by Byron Katie, visit www.thework.com