To work with a fourchotomy, you have to begin by being honest with yourself. This means being willing to hear your honest, unfiltered answer in the moment; if you pause to think it over, you will be answering from the wrong place entirely. It takes practice to hear your honest answer and not fall prey to your mental chatter.
|Assertive||is the opposite of||Passive|
|is the positive of||is the negative of|
|Aggressive||is the opposite of||Gracious|
Be aware that our tendency is to spin things, especially definitions. As a result, we conflate different terms in a fourchotomy. For instance, in the fourchotomy above, you may very well conflate the definition of “aggressive” with the word “assertive”, and the definition of “passive” with the word “gracious”. You may see someone who is actually assertive as aggressive, and someone who is gracious as merely passive.
Once you are clear on your definitions so that you are no longer conflating the terms of the fourchotomy, you are ready to work with it. Taking the example of Assertive, you should start by asking yourself, “Am I assertive?” In that moment, without hesitation, you will have an internal yes-or-no answer—but you must be willing to hear it without spinning it, and without judging it. It may feel like a vibration arising from within you. If you allow yourself to feel the vibration, the answer will take shape from the vibration and you will “hear” it. Then you ask, “Am I okay with that?” Again, simply hear your honest answer as it arises from within. Continue to ask those questions for each component of the fourchotomy.
You’ll find that your answers change from moment to moment; this shifting around is part of the process. Gradually you will start to free yourself from being attached to any of those qualities. You will know that when more yeses turn up consistently in your answers. This may take some time, depending on how attached you are. Eventually, you should reach a point when your honest answer to all eight questions of a fourchotomy is “Yes,” ten out of ten times, on a regular basis. This means that you are no longer trapped by your attachment to any of those qualities. At least for now. This process of reaching eight yeses ten out of ten times has to be reiterated over an extended period of time. We need to check back and see if we are remaining “off the grid” of that fourchotomy.
In order to be able to use this tool fully, you will have to be able to create your own fourchotomy. A good starting point would be to think of a person you struggle to get along with. That person will display qualities that bother you. Remember that if you see a quality in others, you have it in you. If you deny it, then you unwittingly manifest it without realizing it. So to begin, choose one quality in that person that really annoys you; then you can start filling out the fourchotomy. For instance, if you find that person controlling, you can form a grid and put the word “controlling” in the top left.
Then, since “controlling” is clearly negative for you, find the positive opposite. It might be “relaxed”.
Now you must find the positive of “controlling” and the negative of “relaxed”. The former might be “disciplined”, the latter “careless”.
Now you start asking the questions and listening to the answers that arise from within, in the moment.
As you keep working with fourchotomies, you will find that it is just as important to free yourself from attachment to qualities you consider positive as it is to work through your attachment to negative ones. The goal is to continue working to be off the grid, so that in every situation you encounter and every relationship you have, you will see clearly and act spontaneously, freely, and appropriately.
Share this Post