Katieism: “When someone criticizes me…”

When someone criticizes me, here’s a phrase that is my mantra: “Could he be right?”

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  1. Dear Katie,
    My son is 4 years old and is going through a hard time. He thinks new kids at school don’t like him and want to hurt him. I have tried to do the work with him but he just believes all his thoughts are true. Is he too young? Is there something else I can do? Thanks, Lisa

  2. Hi Lisa,

    One thing you could do is share your experience of what happens inside of you when you feel afraid. So you might work on your fears, if you have any, about what’s happening at your son’s school, how he’s suffering, or whatever your thoughts are. He’ll learn from you about how thought gives rise to an uncomfortable feeling and how you handle it.

    I’d love to hear what you discover.


  3. The only thing I can do when someone else isn’t how I want them to be is to be with the discomfort or pain that arises or descends in my mind and know that we both suffer in the moment and mine is the only one I can do something about. I attended a new years cleanse in Malibu, California in 2002-2003. I basically sat and wept the whole 5(?) days at the beauty and the truth of all that was revealed. I was in dilemma about what to do with my life, should I stay where I was and help my girlfriend raise her 2 beautiful girls which I did and did not want to do, or should I go adventuring on my sailboat which I definitely wanted to do, but felt guilty for. I chose to say my ‘see you laters’ and wandered down the coast to Acapulco, from Washington State, and then onto Hawaii and eventually back to the Pacific Northwest after 9 months of solo sailing. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done, except for whatever is next, and I almost stepped off the boat coming back to the Northwest from Hawaii I was so depressed with the grey and rain and cold and clouds of the North Pacific. I was able to do things I never thought possible I believe largely because I learned from The Work that it is all not as personal as it seems and either you ‘make it’ or you don’t and it’s ok either way. I am looking forward to the changes which come from putting the work more to paper as my life is lived. It’s not perfect but it has the acceptance and hope that were seldom evident before. Thank You Byron Katie and all the wonderful people who help you do what you do. Love, Robert

  4. As a teacher I would recommend that you take what he says seriously and ask him to tell you more. Kids do sometimes attempt to and often succeed in bullying other kids.
    Sometimes parents can intervene. Sometimes they can’t.
    Sometimes they can teach coping skills.
    Sometimes they can’t.
    Sometimes they can think clearly about what to do.
    Sometimes they can’t.
    The Work can’t prevent “bad” things from happening to him, just because he believes that they won’t happen.
    The Work can give him a clear mind so that he can ask for help if he needs it, and so that he won’t retaliate and won’t believe other people’s projections or allow their ideas about him to hurt him.

  5. Dear Lisa,
    Were you able to hear your son’s “proof” that the new kids didn’t like him and want to hurt him? The proof might give you some clues about how the turn arounds might be as true or truer and finding ways to help him see that the stressful thoughts might not be true.
    I’m not expereinced with doing The Work with preschoolers, but I’m did train early childhood educators in conflict resolution skills. Do talk to the teacher and ask him/her if they have a conflict resolution method that they teach the children. If they do, learn it and use it at home. If they do not you could suggest “a bug and a wish.”
    “It bugs me when you ________, I wish you would ________.” If the whole class uses “a bug and a wish” most of the conflicts disappear. If issues arise around sharing, “can I use it when you are done?” goes a long way.
    How lucky your child is to have a mom doing The Work! Peace,Sue

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