Step 5

This is a fairly step to take and is based upon the competing commitments that you identified in step 4. Basically you are going to create statements that correspond to “Big Assumptions” that are governing your behaviour in some way. You start by working with a competing commitment and creating a sentence stem, as explained below.

If your competing commitment has a negative in it, for example “I am committed to not being out of control”, then remove the negative to make a sentence stem like this
“I assume that if I were out of control then …”

If the competing commitment does not have a negative, then insert one. So if the competing commitment were “I am committed to avoiding conflict at all costs” you convert it to a sentence stem
“I assume that if I did not avoid all conflict then …”

Once you have created the sentence stem that the next job is to complete the sentence by noticing how you would feel and what you fantasise would happen. This is a personal step, in the sense that people who have the same sentence stems may have very different feelings and fantasies involved. Most people do not find it hard to identify the consequences of not fulfilling their competing commitments, but they are sometimes surprised at the depth of feeling involved.

In my own case my competing commitment was I am committed to maintaining a competent image. So my sentence stem was
I assume that if I did not maintain a competent image then..
and in my fantasy no one would like or respect me, in particular Eva would lose her respect for me. I was surprised at how devastating this all felt.

Work with each of your competing commitments (if you have more than one) and discover the ‘big assumption’ behind each one. Write them down.

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