I Need Your Love: Is that true?:
The Search For Love, Approval, And Happiness
By Byron Katie
Published by Harmony Books
What Is, bestselling author Byron Katie introduced thousands of people to
her simple and profound method of finding happiness through questioning the
mind. Now, I Need Your Love—Is That True? examines a universal,
age-old source of anxiety: our relationships with others. In this groundbreaking
book, Katie helps you question everything you have been taught to do to gain
love and approval. In doing this, you discover how to find genuine love and
The usual advice offered in self-help books and reinforced by our culture
advocates a stressful, all-consuming quest for love and approval. We are advised
to learn self-marketing and manipulative skills—how to attract, impress,
seduce, and often pretend to be something we aren’t. This approach doesn’t
work. It leaves millions of walking wounded—those who, having failed to find
love or appreciation, blame themselves and conclude that they are unworthy of
I Need Your Love—Is That True? helps you illuminate every area
in your life where you seem to lack what you long for most—the love of your
spouse, the respect of your child, a lover’s tenderness, or the esteem of your
boss. Through its penetrating inquiry, you will quickly discover the falseness
of the accepted ways of seeking love and approval, and also of the mythology
that equates love with need. Using the method in this book, you will inquire
into painful beliefs that you’ve based your whole life on—and be delighted
to see them evaporate. Katie shows you how unraveling the knots in the search
for love, approval, and appreciation brings real love and puts you in charge of
your own happiness.
“Everyone agrees that love is wonderful, except when it’s terrible. People
spend their whole lives tantalized by love—seeking it, trying to hold on to
it, or trying to get over it. Not far behind love, as major preoccupations, come
approval and appreciation. From childhood on, most people spend much of their
energy in a relentless pursuit of these things, trying out different methods to
be noticed, to please, to impress, and to win other people’s love, thinking
that’s just the way life is. This effort can become so constant and
unquestioned that we barely notice it anymore.
This book takes a close look at what works and what doesn’t in the quest for
love and approval. It will help you find a way to be happier in love and more
effective in all your relationships. What you learn here will bring fulfillment
to all kinds of relationships, including romantic love, dating, marriage, work,
and friendship.” —Byron Katie
[The following is what I
highlighted during my read of this excellent book -- I recommend it on my
Top-ten List of Peace resources. My purpose in providing them is to
interest you, the reader, and hope that you will obtain and read the complete
work. To properly understand the highlights, you need to read the book to
put them in the proper context. B.S.]
really simple discovery…she had been believing her thoughts and terrifying
herself half to death with them. Then she stopped believing her thoughts,
and the world stopped at the same time. The inner conflict and fear dropped
saw clearly, irrevocably, that everything was backward, upside down from
what I believed. My thinking had opposed everything as it truly was and
reacted with stories of how I thought it should be. “My husband should be
more honest.” “Mt children should respect me more.” Now I saw that
instead of seeing what was happening, I was placing conditions on what was
happening—as if I had the ability to dictate reality.
It was clear to me now that the truth was the extreme opposite. My husband
should not be more honest—because he wasn’t. My children shouldn’t
respect me more—because they didn’t. Instantly I became a lover of
reality: I noticed that this felt more natural, more peaceful.
that true?”…didn’t tell anyone what to do or what to believe. They
answered her questions for themselves. In turn, people’s lives
changed—some quickly, some slowly.
out the thoughts that give them pain. Then she asks her questions.
discovery is that when you do question your thoughts, you find out that the
world is a much kinder place than you had imagined, and there’s no need to
go to sleep in fear or wake up anxious. When you really start to look, the
world is full of love, and there’s plenty to go around.
you learn here will bring fulfillment to all kinds of relationships,
including romantic love, dating, marriage, raising children, work, and
comes from an enjoyable conversation that you have with yourself.
1.Do you believe what you think?
is what we are.
unspoken belief is that unless people approve of you, you’re worthless.
thought “Nothing supports me without my efforts” is just one of the
unquestioned and often unnoticed beliefs that set in motion the search for
love and approval.
supports you whether or not you even notice it.
thought that kicks you out of heaven could be “I’d be a little more
comfortable if I had…”…without that thought you’re in heaven…with
that shift of attention, you
give up the peace you have. Seeking comfort, you give yourself
how do you get back to heaven? To begin with, just notice the thoughts that
take you away from it. You don’t have to believe everything your thoughts
tell you. Just become familiar with the particular thoughts you
use to deprive yourself of happiness. It may seem strange at first to get to
know yourself in this way, but becoming familiar with your stressful
thoughts will show you the way home to everything you need.
you begin to notice your thoughts, one of the first things you’ll see is
that you’re never alone… your thoughts will be there…
you’re afraid to be alone, it means you’re afraid of your thoughts. If
you loved your thoughts, you would love to be alone anywhere with them; you
wouldn’t have to turn on the radio when you get in the car, or the TV when
you get home. The way you relate to your thoughts—that’s what you bring
to every relationship you have, including the one with yourself.
create your world and your identity in every moment.
most intimate relationship is the one you have with your thoughts.
about your wants and needs can be very bossy. If you believe them, you feel
you have to do what they say—you have to get people’s love and approval.
There is another way to respond to a thought, and that is to question it.
How can you question your wants and needs? How can you meet your thoughts
without believing them.
2.Questioning your thoughts about love
thoughts like these pretend to guide you toward love when in fact they are
obstacles to it.
within pain or depression, there are thoughts you’ve had for so long and
held so close that you don’t even know they are there. And you’ve never
stopped to see if you believe them.
you do inquiry for a while, you find that it becomes automatic—your
natural way of relating to thoughts. Believing your thoughts comes to seem
more and more unnatural, a method
of fooling yourself, and it becomes clearer and clearer that inquiry returns
you to reality.
do you bring a thought to inquiry?
you’ve found the thought that’s upsetting you, the first step is to ask
if it’s true.
do you live with and without that thought?
feeling of discomfort or stress is an alarm that lets you know you’re
believing an untrue thought.
is the opposite as true?
is the final step of inquiring into the thought.
open more space. They allow you to see how things can work out in a peaceful
way, beyond what you had considered when you were defending a position.
How to do your own inquiry:
now that you’ve read the overview, here are the instructions.
you feel disturbed, upset, or simply unhappy about some situation in the
present or the past, notice the thoughts that are running through your
mind, and write down the one that is upsetting you the most right now. If
you’re convinced that it’s a feeling, not a thought, give the feeling
a voice. Write down what the feeling would say, as a short, simple
statement. For example, “He just walked out the door, and that means he
doesn’t care about me.” Just writing down the thought that’s been
tormenting you is a powerful act. Now you can question it.
you if it’s true. “He doesn’t care about me”—is it true?
Don’t ask if the thought matches what you’ve been told or have
learned. Don’t consider the way life is supposed to look.
Don’t consult the part of you that knows what the answer should
be. The question is, does the thought match what you know inside? Does
that thought resonate with your deepest sense of reality? Can you absolutely know that it’s true that he doesn’t care about
you? (“I don’t know” is as good an answer here as “yes” or
how you live when you believe this thought. Overall, does this thought
bring peace or stress to your life? Does it bring you closer to the people
you love, or does it separate you from them? How do you react when you
believe the thought “He doesn’t care about me”? What does it feel
like to believe it? How do you treat yourself and others? How do you treat
him? Take your time with this process. Picture yourself believing the
thought. Do you react with sadness? Depression? Anger? Do you withdraw
from him? Do you try to win him over? Do you judge yourself and feel like
a failure? Do you light up a cigarette or head for the refrigerator? Be as
precise and detailed as you can be.
what life would be like without the thought. Use your imagination to give
yourself a glimpse of who or what you would be without this thought.
Don’t look for a better thought to substitute the painful one. Just live
for a while in the space that opens up when you view your situation
without the old thought. Pretend that you don’t have the ability to
think the thought. What would that be like? Look at him in your mind’s
eye without the thought “He doesn’t care about
” Maybe you will simply see a man who is deeply absorbed in reading his
newspaper, who loves his wife but doesn’t want to shift his attention to
her right now. Maybe without the thought “He doesn’t care about me”
you’ll find it easy to take pleasure in his pleasure.
the thought around. Consider reversed or opposite versions of the thought.
If a certain turnaround doesn’t make sense to you, don’t bother with
it. Turn the original statement around any way you want to until you find
the turnarounds that penetrate the deepest.
Turning around “He doesn’t care about me”:
I don’t care about him. (When
I feel hurt, I withdraw or I get angry, and I don’t care what he feels.)
I don’t care about me. (I
don’t care about myself when I go to war against someone I love. I take
away my own peace of mind. I put myself in a hostile situation, I create
an enemy for myself, I give myself a lot of stress and sadness. This is
when addictive behavior such as bingeing, smoking, or overeating begins to
He does care about me. (He may
love me and still speak harshly to
He may love me and still want to leave me.)
yourself if any of your turned-around versions seem as true or even truer
than your original thought, and if they do, find three genuine ways in which
each of them is true. Turnarounds can dramatically set you free from a
thought, especially if you’ve loosened your belief in it by following the
Ask Four Questions and Turn it Around: The pocket-sized
reminder of the work
you have a stressful thought, these four questions and the turnaround will
guide you through your inquiry:
I absolutely know that it’s true?
do I react when I think this thought?
or what would I be without the thought?
the thought around, and find three genuine examples of how each turnaround
is as true as or truer than the original statement.
pocket-sized version will get you started. If you come across any thoughts
that persist in disturbing you, you’ll find a complete troubleshooting
manual on page 247
you can track down the thought that caused one of these painful or awkward
events, you can begin your journey home. These are the thoughts that,
unquestioned, lead to separation and misery. When you find one of them, you
can ask if the belief is really true. You can notice how you suffer from it.
And you can find the peace and the love that are already present inside you
when you don’t believe the thought.
all have experienced these things, because there are no new stressful
thoughts; everyone has them.
Making yourself more agreeable:
people over by pretending to be interested in them is part of a bigger
project: trying to become a more likeable person.
do you react when you believe the thought that you can find love and
approval by making yourself more likeable?
built –in part of developing a personality that’s designed to please is
constantly watching for signs that you’re succeeding. This can be a
stressful way to live. Anxiously focusing on the other person, checking for
approval or disapproval, leaves nobody at home in yourself, nobody noticing
your thoughts or taking responsibility for your feelings. This cuts you off
from the source of real contentment. The outward focus also leaves unnoticed
and unquestioned the inevitably painful thought that if you have to
transform yourself to find love and approval, there must be something wrong
with the way you are.
often happens without anyone intending to do it or even noticing.
you feel real gratitude, it shows without effort.
become very open in the presence of gratitude.
receiving is the giving.
bother with all this complicated pretending? There is no reason. You do it
because neither of you has questioned the belief that your relationship
depends on playacting and couldn’t stand up to honesty.
impression—what “you”—are you trying to hide or strengthen?
is the story of “you” that you perpetuate or want to perpetuate? What
“you” would you be without this story?
would happen if you moved and responded with less concern about what others
will think? What if you let your actions speak for themselves? What would it
be like to live your truth without excusing, defending, explaining, or
justifying your thoughts or actions to others?
you say or do anything to please, get, keep, influence, or control anyone or
anything, fear is the cause and pain is the result.
you act from fear, there’s no way you can receive love, because you’re
trapped in a thought about what you have to do for love. Every stressful
thought separates you from people.
once you question your thoughts, you discover that you don’t have to do
anything for love.
fact is that when I have my own approval, I’m happy, and I don’t need
anyone else’s. Their approval is just icing on the cake. Its extra, and
it’s not necessary for me to be happy.
all do emotional gymnastics to be seen as wonderful or funny—just to get
what we already have. And because we’re doing gymnastics, we don’t see
that we already have it.
someone who just lives your life and lets people form whatever impressions
they want to form—of you and of everyone else. That’s what they’re all
4.Falling in love
in love is usually understood completely backward, like so many other
important things. There’s no mystery to falling in love.
shifts her focus outward and cuts herself off from love. But love doesn’t
go anywhere; she just loses her awareness of it. Later in life, people call
experiences like this “falling out of love” and think that they’re
about the other person.
little girl is innocently misdirected.
though the awareness of love is always available, years might pass before
she has it again, years she devotes to searching for love and approval
the love isn’t coming from the other person, whom does that leave?
There’s only one person left: you. You
gave yourself the experience…It was you who felt the wonder and the
excitement. Someone held up a mirror and showed you your heart.
love is like the crush—it lasts only until the painful thoughts cover it
way or another, that happiness will have to vanish as long as you believe
the thought that love—the joy you stumble into—depends on the other
of all, remind yourself what love means to you. What is the experience of
love for you?
in love feels wonderful. It feels so good that you want to keep it forever
by becoming a couple. You’re still taking a break from approval seeking
and all the painful thoughts that go with it. You’re also having a lot of
sex—one of the few ways most people give themselves some relief from their
thoughts. And then love seems to wear off. Why do we have that impression?
spoils the love fest is that, as time passes, the effort of maintaining
their facades takes its toll, and those hidden doubts appear more often. One
day she gets honest…He feels confused and let down…The recriminations
inside themselves, each of the lovers knows that the other is right, but
they think they would lose ground if they admitted it instead of attacking
back. They would love to stop the pretending, but they stick to the beliefs
that seemed to have worked so far. So, staying in the roles they’ve
created (by now, they no longer realize that these are roles), they
experience disappointment and anger.
lovers may now think they don’t even like each other, and they may break
up without every truly meeting the person they’ve been living with. They
have gone directly from their original facades to operating angry “me”
puppets, each of them feeling betrayed by the other. To get to this kind of
impasse, couples always pass up chances to reverse directions.
taken the risk of telling the truth. If he joins her and takes the risk too,
revealing his own doubts and fears, they’ve changed direction and are
moving toward asking and finding what’s really true for them. They might
have something genuine and wonderful going: the beginning of honest
relationships with themselves, and—who knows? Maybe even with each other.
a relationship is anything less than good, you need to question your
thoughts. It’s your responsibility to find your own way back to a
relationship with yourself that makes sense. When you have that sweet
relationship with yourself, your partner is an added pleasure. It’s
over-the-top grace. Romantic love is the story of how you need another
person to complete you. It’s an absolutely insane story. My experience is
that I need no one to
5.Personalities don’t love—they want something
things they often want are comfort and security.
rationalize settling for them as a realistic and inevitable thing.
tells herself that she’s sacrificing her happiness, her life, to please
him, make him happy, and have his love…Her resentment boils up, and
there’s a huge self-righteous explosion…Those angry “me” puppets
come onto the stage again, and the original resentments appear.
want my husband to want what he wants. And I also notice that I don’t have
a choice. That’s self-love. He does what he does, and I love that.
That’s what I want, because when I’m at war with reality, it hurts.
“civilized” people have learned how to use reciprocation to torture each
other. All it takes is the belief that if I do something for you, you owe me
something in return.
happens if you don’t reciprocate? I take back my love and approval, and I
give you resentment instead. The rules of each relationship dictate all the
things you have to do or not do to avoid resentment. These rules aren’t
written down or even spoken. You find out what they are by breaking them.
of course, you find out about your
rules for my behavior using the
same method. How do you know when I broke a rule? When you get angry at me.
any case, if you do your best to figure out all the rules and obey them, do
you get my love? No. you get to tiptoe around me, so that you can minimize
my anger and continue the relationship. Love seems to have disappeared.
Where did it go? You can find out by questioning the thought “if you love
me, you’ll do what I want.”
never questioned the thought that obedience is an expression of love, so why
thoughts about needs and wants launched the quest for love and approval to
begin with. It’s no surprise that after we win someone over, those same
thoughts arise again. We haven’t known how to question what we want from
love. We haven’t known how to question what we believe. We don’t know
that we can simply love, and that we can simply ask for what we want, with
no strings attached.
Is it True?
two major universal whoppers about love.
need to win people over to make them like me.”(also known as “I can
manipulate your love and approval”)
you love me, you’ll do what I want.” It seems reasonable—so reasonable that we’ve built an entire
civilization on it. How can it be wrong? Let’s stop and question it.
would be like not having you in my life except as someone I love and care
you love me, you won’t do what I
I love me, I’ll do what I want.”
I love you, I’ll do what you want.”…when that feels honest and right
to you is giving happiness to myself.
can happily unhook love from want and begin to live the experience of
the difference between loving someone and wanting him to do what you want
doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for what you want. You can, knowing that
his answer has nothing to do with his love for you. You’ll discover that
asking is much easier when it’s free of hidden agendas. And when he
realizes that whatever he answers is fine with you, an amazing intimacy can
open for you both.
possible to love without condition, even when your answer is no.
you’re not a clear communicator, you may live your life unloved and
misunderstood, not ever realizing that if you just said what you wanted,
your whole world would change. Remember that the first step in clear
communication is communicating with yourself.
that once you have separated love from want, simply asking becomes much
easier. But you have to ask. People can’t second-guess our desires; they
aren’t psychic on cue.
voice within is what I’m married to. All marriage is a metaphor for that
marriage. My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes or no comes
from. That’s my true partner. It’s always there. And to tell you yes
when my integrity says no is to divorce that partner.
6.The relationship workshop
easy to see how you can have a happy relationship if you stay true to
how do you stay true to yourself? The first step is to remember that your
most intimate relationship is the one you have with your thoughts.
open heart is not a possibility without an open mind.
your thoughts with inquiry allows you to meet your partner with
understanding. What determines the quality of your relationship with her is
not what you think about her but whether you believe what you think about her. Crazy, trouble-making
thoughts…float into your mind uninvited: you don’t even think them, they
think you. Suppressing or trying to control them has never worked. But if
you question those thoughts and come to understand them, they no longer have
the power to disturb you or cause you to act with anything less than
intelligence and kindness.
something hurts in your relationship and it’s not obvious why, you can do
the same thing. Sit down and put your thoughts on paper. Concentrate on your
complaints about your partner. Don’t be kind. If anything, exaggerate the
faults you find. Using the worksheet on page 251 as your guide, write down
how you’ve been wronged, what they should and shouldn’t do, what you
want and need from them, what you refuse to put up with any longer. And when
you have it down on paper, question what you believe. Ask the four questions
and turn it around.
we being to question our thoughts, our partners…are always our greatest
there are things about him that you consider flaws, good, because these
flaws are your own, you’re projecting them, and you can write them down,
inquire, and set yourself free.
partner will give you everything you need for your own freedom
where true happiness is found, on the inside, and after that, you need
you tell her yes when you mean no, you’ve lost your integrity, you’ve
lost yourself, and you’re the one you live with.
feelings or discomfort of any kind cannot be caused by another person. No
one outside me can hurt me…It’s only when I believe a stressful thought
that I get hurt. And I’m the one who’s hurting me by believing what I
think. This is very good news, because it means that I don’t have to get
someone else to stop hurting me. I’m the one who can stop hurting me.
It’s within my power.
we are doing with inquiry is meeting our thoughts with some simple
understanding, finally. Pain, anger, and frustration will let us know when
it’s time to inquire. We either believe what we think or we question it:
there’s no other choice. Questioning our thoughts is the kinder way.
Inquiry always leaves us as more loving human beings.
hopeless to argue with what is.
the violence that you inflict on yourself.
can’t ever be something outside you, a situation or a person, that is
causing your unhappiness. It can only be your unquestioned thinking about
that situation or person. There’s no exception to that.
get to discover yourself. You get to focus not on her but on you and your own thinking,
which is the cause of all your suffering.
is nothing more than agreement. If I agree with you, you love me. And the
minute I don’t agree with you, the minute I question one of your sacred
beliefs, I become your enemy; you divorce me in your mind.
love doesn’t need to dictate the form.
experience your own nature, which is to love yourself, and therefore her,
with no separation.
we want something from you and you give it to us, then we approve, and if
you don’t give it to us. It’s simple. We’re just like you.
things happen with or without me, people approve of me or they don’t. It
has nothing to do with me. This is really good news, since it
leaves me responsible for my own happiness. It leaves me to do
nothing but live my life as kindly and intelligently as I can…It’s only
me I’m dealing with, and that is enough for a lifetime.
I question my thoughts, I like the mind I live with. It not only leaves me
alone, it leaves you alone too.
answer with a simple yes or a simple no. Nothing else satisfies the mind. It
has to know what’s real or it lives its life trying to prove what it
thinks, and it can never rest.
what this is about: just taking a look to see what was your part in it.
That’s where the pain is created, discovered, and uncreated.
is your job. You’re the one who
should understand you.
do we love ourselves? One way is by not seeking approval outside
ourselves—that’s my experience. By not seeking approval outside myself,
I come to see that I already have it. I don’t want approval; I want people
to think the way they think.
only thing that can cost you your husband is if you believe a thought.
That’s how you move away from him. That’s how the marriage ends. You are
one with your husband until you believe the thought that he should look a
certain way, he should give you something, he should be something other than
what he is. That’s how you divorce him. Right then and there you have lost
always been just me, but I was the last to know that it was all right.
spare me from the desire for love, approval, and appreciation…”
7.What if my partner is flawed?
do these things happen? It may not be clear at first. But if you take a
minute, you’ll discover that they’re wonderful ways of bringing us
closer together. Not if you’re passive, though. This is about your own
empowerment, your ability to see things as they really are, through the eyes
of love. When you do The Work on your partner, you realize that all your
problems are coming from you, because it’s your thoughts that are telling
you who he is. If you see him as flawed in any way, you can be sure that
you’ve found a place where you’re arguing with reality in that moment
and are blind to yourself…Go back to the source; go to yourself.
wonder you’re sick and tired of living with someone who doesn’t care
enough to change. That person is you. And there’s no release or escape
from yourself until you leave him alone and focus on your own turnarounds.
Changing him will no longer be your life’s work. You can be your life’s
work. You’re the one who believes in change.
may or may not be willing to put up with your partner’s apparent flaws.
Whether you stay in or leave a relationship, there are always two ways to do
it. One way is in peace, with love; the other is at war, with anger and
blame. If you want to be in peace, judge your partner, write it down, ask
four questions, and turn it around. Cleary see that his flaws are flaws in
your own vision. Then let the decision make itself. It always happens right
on time, and not a second before.
not your job to understand me—it’s mine.
you’re at peace with your reason, your mind isn’t a war zone.
you want to understand yourself, judge your partner, write it down, ask four
questions and turn it around.
important is not that they understand, it’s that we understand. Because
this is where we are the happiest.
questioned your thoughts now. You know what is true for you…
have everything you need in order to be an honest human being. No one ever
has to be afraid of the truth. It’s the defenses that we build around the
truth that strike fear in our hearts.
single human being is trying his best. We’re all doing the best we can.
But when we believe what we think, we have to live out those thoughts. When
there’s chaos in our heads, there’s chaos in our lives. When there’s
hurt in our thinking, there’s hurt in our lives.
you question what you think, you may see that love was always there but you
were blind to it. If I think, “What’s the matter with him?” there is
something the matter with me in
I find what is true for me, there are no obstacles anymore. There are no
barriers between me…and anyone in the world.
8.Five keys to freedom in love
1.You can make it without your
move here is a powerful, all-purpose lifesaver: Whenever you think you
couldn’t bear something, find three proofs that you could in reality bear
doesn’t mean fear.
2.This moment should
reality not to follow your plan.
the thought that arises when you hit a bump in your life can radically
change the quality of your whole existence.
and counting the beautiful reasons unexpected things happen for us ends the
mystery. If you miss the real reasons, the benevolent reasons that coincide
with kind nature, then count on depression to let you know that you missed
them. Anger, frustration, and aggressive reasons can be imagined—and what
for? People who aren’t interested in seeing why everything is good get to
be right. But that apparent rightness comes with disgruntlement, and often
depression and separation. Depression can feel serious. So “counting the
genuine ways that this unexpected event happened for me, rather than to
me” isn’t a game. It’s an exercise in observing the nature of life.
It’s a way of putting yourself back into reality, into the kindness of the
nature of things.
3.”This is just what I
needed”: the direct route to getting your needs met.
now your needs are familiar. And you know what the effect is on your life
when you believe you’re entitled to have them met and it doesn’t seem to
be happening. The result is a hopeless quest filled with separation,
frustration, and resentment. You’ve seen how to use four questions to ask
yourself what you really need in this moment.
direct route is to let reality be the guide to your needs: “What I need is
what I have.” This is not something to believe; it’s the way things are
right now, whether you believe it or not.
am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person but because it
hurts when I argue with reality. No thinking in the world can change it.
What is is. Everything I need is already here now. How do I know I don’t
need what I think I need? I don’t have it. So everything I need is always
4.Whose business am I in now?
confusing and painful when you try to mind someone else’s business.
time you try to second-guess what someone else is thinking or feeling, every
time you believe that you know what’s good or bad for them, you have moved
out of your own business and into someone else’s.
of the most loving acts you can do for yourself, and for everyone else, is
to ask, “Right now, in this moment, whose business am I in?”
is no more loving way to be with someone than to stay out of his or her
when you and your partner are physically close, you’re still living in
different worlds, and there is great beauty of the unknown yet familiar
person you’re with.
you no longer intrude and have stopped trying to manipulate or control her,
you meet someone who is more amazing than anything you could have imagined.
9.The transformation of a marriage
effects on a relationship when both people do inquiry can be nothing short
of miraculous. The communication keeps everything open and without secrets.
It’s not necessary for both partners to do this; if even one does The Work
on his or her partner, it will radically change the marriage. But it’s
more than twice as powerful if both partners do it.
partners have written a Worksheet on the other, and each in turn reads the
a listener…take her words in, and see if he can find where she is right,
without defending or interrupting or justifying.
apparent flaws or shortcomings that each sees and dislikes in the other are,
after all, the pain that each one feels.
found inquiry. Those painful fights…never happened again.
began to seriously question my thoughts—to ask “is it true?”
my inquiry, my first surprise was that I couldn’t be sure that my thoughts
found out that these painful, painful thoughts were my way of torturing myself…
course it wasn’t done all at once.
there, I wrote down my thoughts and inquired into them. When I returned to
my own business—which meant looking into my thoughts, not his—I felt better immediately.
thoughts unraveled as I asked myself the questions. Some beliefs disappeared
and I didn’t even realize it.
we have a problem with each other, we go to different rooms and write down
our thoughts. Then we help each other to inquire.
inquiry we find out that these stories are just telling us where we wandered
from the path of love and understanding.
know now that I’m not a victim. “I need my husband’s love”—is it
true? How could it be? I’m the only one responsible for my life, my
health, my feelings, and my happiness. When my neediness died away, what was
left was love. Inquiry has been more than a tool for me; it’s been a path
to joy and understanding.
is discovering that what you thought happened didn’t—that there was
never anything to forgive. What seemed terrible changes once you’ve
questioned it. There is nothing terrible except your unquestioned thoughts
about what you see. So whenever you suffer, inquire, look at the thoughts
you’re thinking, and set yourself free. Be a child. Know nothing. Take
your ignorance all the way to your freedom.
10.What’s not to love? Could it be you?
to earn your own love is just as painful as seeking the love of others, and
the results are just as unsatisfying. And undoing the search works the same
way. When you sincerely question your unexamined thoughts about yourself,
love just happens.
In every inquiry about a painful relationship—with your spouse, your
mother, or someone at work—you always discover that the stress is caused
by your own thinking. It’s not the person outside who is your problem.
That’s not possible. And when you do the turnarounds, you see how the
opposite of a painful thought can be as true or truer. At some point you
arrive at statements that sound like “I should be faithful to me” “I
should understand me” and ultimately “I should love me.”
This might not be news to you. Most people have been told by friends or
family or advice columnists that they should love themselves. But how do you
do it? The fact that you can’t seem to live the turnarounds can even
become another kind of self torture…You can’t force this process; you
can only inquire and find out what’s true.
chapter is…about un-fooling yourself. The only obstacle to loving other
people is believing what you think, and you’ll come to see that that’s
also the only obstacle to loving yourself. To discover the beliefs that may
not, after all, be true for you, you’ll need to ask yourself some very
private questions. What are you ashamed of? Whom do you still resent (though
you believe you shouldn’t)? What haven’t you forgiven yourself for?
This inquiry isn’t manipulation. It’s going inside yourself for the love
of truth and finding your own answers. If you have any trouble with loving
yourself, your work isn’t done.
one who thinks “I should love myself” knows what love is. Love is what
we are already.
is not a doing. There is nothing you have to do. And when you question your
mind, you can see that the only thing that keeps you from being love is a
Obstacles to loving yourself:
the thing you are most ashamed of
good place to start is with whatever it is you’re most ashamed of. This
may take some time to uncover. We’re so secretive about what makes us feel
ashamed that we even try to keep it from ourselves, clinging to our pretense
of self-respect while our thoughts run on about how terrible we are and how
unforgivable the things we’ve done. Secrets cry out for inquiry. You
can’t be free if you’re hiding.
safe to see exactly what it is that you survived and to end your own
denial—if only to discover the incredible gift that you have to pass on to
have gone to the depths of my own painful beliefs. I have questioned them
and seen them vanish like dreams.
Exercise: “Most Ashamed”
one: write down a short, simple sentence that begins “What I’m most
ashamed of is ________.”
two: Inquire into each of the “meanings” on your list, one by one.
ask yourself for your own truth. Please treat each question as a deep
meditation. Ask the question, then gently wait for the heart’s answer to
if the turnarounds seem difficult, find three genuine ways, however modest,
in which the opposite is as true as or truer than your original statement.
you question your darkest secret, and turn it around, you discover that
everything you thought it meant isn’t necessarily true. This journey
allows the mind to give you other truths, truths that reveal your goodness.
There’s nothing you need to hide from yourself. It’s the truth that sets
shame exercise: “What I don’t want you to know about me”
are no mistakes in this perfect world, which is a tapestry of pure delight
and beauty when seen through the eyes of someone who isn’t arguing with
are two ways of being me: one is to hate it and one is to love it. Which
will it be (since I don’t have a choice but to be me)? Okay, I’ll be me,
and question my thoughts about me until I see me as perfect in every way,
even sweeter than perfect.
Exercise: Letter of Apology
you’re ready…act on it as soon as possible.
your life that you’re cleaning up. You can’t be in too big a hurry to do
move past the places where the turnaround doesn’t work, and see where it
think that other people think there’s something wrong with you because you
think it…When you question what you think, the truth will make you laugh.
Making friends with criticism
you really want to be free, criticism from others can be a gift. Feeling
hurt by any criticism, feeling the slightest urge to defend yourself, means
that there’s something you don’t accept and love about yourself. This is
the very part of you that you want to hide. You want to be loved and
understood, but not there. And as we’ve seen, hiding creates separation,
from yourself as well as from others.
matter what anyone says to or about you, if you experience stress, then you
are the one who’s suffering in the moment. Stress is the signal that
it’s time to question your own thinking.
you no longer put your energy into seeking approval, you can open your arms
to criticism and see it as a gift, instead of as something to disprove or
you’re genuinely humble, there’s no way that criticism can hurt you; it
becomes obvious, through your own experience, that it can only help you.
This is how clarity takes on life as effective action, so that you are kind
to others and kind to yourself.
is the first act of war.
Through you, I will come to know myself.
It’s called integrity. I am all things.
If you say one single thing that I have the urge to defend, that thing is
the very pearl waiting inside me to be discovered.
11.Living in love
easy to forgive yourself for your own humanity.
up from the dream of what they thought was happening in their lives and
seeing what was really happening.
you don’t believe your stressful thoughts, all that’s left are love and
The Work just becomes something very simple, a way of maintaining a happy
spare me from the desire for love, approval, or appreciation.”
is what you are already. Love doesn’t seek anything. It’s already
complete. It doesn’t want, doesn’t need, has no shoulds. It already has everything it wants, it already is
everything it wants, just the way it wants it. So when I hear people say
that they love someone and want to be loved in return, I know they’re not
talking about love. They’re talking about something else.
love is how you lose the awareness of love. But you can only lose awareness
of it, not the state. That’s not an option, because love is what we all
already have everything. We all do. That’s how I can sit here so
Further tools for inquiry