Thought Thursday

On Love, Sex and Relationships

“Until you are loyal to yourself, you can’t be loyal to another person” – Byron Katie

What are your thoughts?

Winning and Losing in Relationships

The email below was submitted for a Conversation with Byron Katie webcast from A. in Sweden.


Dear Katie,

Sometimes I think that I am stuck in relationships that are no good, for instance when I argue heavily with someone. If things get heated, thoughts like “This is not the type of relationship I want to be in, I am looking for something and someone who can do, better!”

or “This type of argument is reason enough for me to leave!” and usually I storm out, determined never to look back.

When cooled down, I do look back and think that my negative thoughts are probably not true, and that it only takes one person for a happy relationship. I will then do The Work and take responsibility for my part, but it tastes a little bit bitter still, as if I am compromising myself in order to be able to stay and not have to leave the relationship.

Can you please talk a little bit about doing the work with a motive? I find it a bit difficult to make the distinction between “This is another way I deny myself and my integrity,” and “It’s just my thinking there’s something wrong with him.”



Dearest L.,

Are you into winning and losing as a game within yourself? When I win one of those arguments, do I lose an opportunity to Work through my thoughts, or am I teaching myself that freedom comes from winning an argument with myself? “If he really loved me he would….! I would ….!”, or maybe, “If he were really valuable he would ……, wouldn’t …….” “I would ……, wouldn’t ……”

Just because we love someone and have a really good relationship with him doesn’t mean we have to be in a partner kind of mental relationship with him. Don’t you stay in relationship because you want something or because you fear losing something? What is it for you? What you discover in your answers are the motives that are driving you. Your answers, the ones that reveal your motives, may give you a really interesting Worksheet.

Love without choice,

Thought Thursday

On Love, Sex and Relationships


“When you don’t love the other person, it hurts, because love is your very self. And you can’t make yourself do it! You can’t make yourself love someone. But when you come to love yourself, you automatically love the other person. You can’t not. Just as you can’t make yourself love us, you can’t make yourself not love us. It’s all your projection.” -Byron Katie

What are your thoughts? Please share!


Find all these quotes on 

Video: Why Isn’t He Vulnerable?


At a recent New Year’s Mental Cleanse, a young woman’s inquiry about her partner’s lack of vulnerability strikes a chord in the audience. Both men and women stand and give their own experiences of why men are afraid to be vulnerable. The young woman herself comes to realize that the dissatisfaction she feels may be her own unwillingness to offer what she wants to receive. “To test your vulnerability,” Katie says, “is an act of courage. You have to be open to losing everything.”


Video: “The worst that can happen to me”

Your heart is racing: the worst that can possibly happen has happened. Watch as a man finds the surprising turnarounds and release from the many stories that we can’t imagine are anything but true. A mind opening video not to be missed.

For more information visit:

Video: “He Lied To Me”–Is It True?


A man is convinced that his friend lied to him; he feels hurt and angry. But when he questions that belief, with the help of Byron Katie, everything shifts. “This is the most empowering thing that you’ll ever learn,” Katie tells him. “It’s the truth that sets you free. Your truth, not ours.”

In this brief video, the four questions and turnarounds of The Work are clearly outlined for the concept “He lied to me.” This is a wonderful reference tool for anyone who wants to understand The Work better, or for those just beginning to use The Work.

1.  Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
2.  Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
3.  How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4.  Who would you be without the thought?


Video: “He doesn’t listen to me…”


Byron Katie demonstrates answering question four from the four questions and turnarounds of The Work: “Who would I be without that thought?” Her sample thought is “Paul doesn’t listen to me.”  She closes her eyes and revisits the time and place of a stressful situation thirty years ago. In this moment, she begins to see Paul clearly, finding nothing but love.

For more information visit:

Letter: “I don’t like the way he touches me”

Dear Katie,

For years, I’ve been struggling with the relationship between me and my son’s father. I left him when my son was three months old (he’s almost ten years old now), because I had a post partum depression and I experienced the way he dealt with that as very unpleasant. I left when my inner voice told me I could either leave on foot right then or be taken away “to the funny farm” a little bit later.

I think I can say I’m able to accept—and even love and appreciate—him the way he is, now (The Work has been most helpful to me to accomplish that!), but I still have some problems with his behavior towards me. For almost ten years, he has been touching me in ways and places I don’t like (i.e., that don’t feel right to me), whenever he sees me, and when I tell him I don’t like what he’s doing he just laughs and goes on.

Because I believe my son deserves to grow up in harmony, I’ve never wanted to start a fight about this—but, in all these years, I haven’t been able to find a peaceful way to make him stop this behavior towards me.

On the one hand, I think I should just learn to accept that this is the way he behaves towards me, because it’s reality; on the other hand, I feel such a strong revulsion deep down inside me, when he behaves towards me in that way, that I find it hard—if not impossible—to really accept it.

I would be most grateful if you could shine your light on this for me…

Much love,

Dearest Ann,

You say that when you tell your son’s father that you don’t like the way he touches you, “he just laughs and goes on.” How would he know that you really don’t want that behavior when your “no” doesn’t really mean no? He may understand this about you. And isn’t your “no” teaching your son, if he is a witness to you and his father and these exchanges, that it’s okay to touch women against their will, in spite of their “no”? It’s not harmony that you’re teaching in this situation. “This is okay with me. I will do whatever it takes to avoid conflict.” Our children learn many of their behaviors from our example, and in this case from his father as well. “When a woman says ‘no,’ don’t believe her. Don’t respect what she is saying.” I don’t see this as cause for guilt or shame; it’s just that you’ve innocently been believing your motive-driven thoughts and are trying to convince yourself that you don’t have a right to be frank and authentic about what you want and don’t want from your ex. “You should learn to accept how he behaves toward you”—is that true? Notice, how you react when you believe that thought. Revolted, passive, phony, dishonest, feeling that the spiritual thing (as you perceive it to be) is what you describe above? Who would you be without the thought? I see a clearer, kinder example for both your son and his father.

If you haven’t done a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on your son’s father, now would be a good time (as now is always the only time to do it). And if you have done a Worksheet on him, did you nail down the moment of revulsion that you actually felt? I suggest that you imagine him again in that situation, touching you in inappropriate ways, and as you identify the thoughts you were thinking at that time, write them down on the Worksheet. It might serve you and be helpful to work with one of the Institute (for The Work of Byron Katie) facilitators on this one, as they can help you stay focused on inquiry. Or, you are welcome to call the Helpline if you think we could assist your focus until you can hold it firmly for yourself. Your e-mail really has touched my heart, angel. If I could survive this agony (and that’s what it was for me), it tells me that you can too.

Love, just as you are,

Letter From the Archives: “My Betrayal Hurts!”

Dear Katie, I understand how you can live from day to day, moment to moment, when you know “It is what it is.”

Thank you, and as you may have noticed, everyone lives from moment to moment (or so it seems). Our unquestioned thoughts are what make life appear to be in time or as you say, “moment to moment.” It can appear to be difficult if you believe your thoughts, but that doesn’t make life difficult; it can’t be, because it’s not. In your life, without your story, you have always done quite well from moment to moment, and I love that you recognize that for yourself in “time.”

But sometimes, at least in my case, a betrayal of the heart, infidelity in the marriage, and loss of trust and feelings, does consume most of the daily thoughts after its discovery.

Betrayed? Do you mean that someone else determined to live her own life in her own way, following her own path, without your permission or direction? Isn’t that what betrayal is really about? Has your mind ever changed when you thought it wouldn’t? Have you ever lied? How often have you betrayed yourself? Is it her betrayal or your own that you are suffering from? Contemplate this in the stillness: is your mind not allowing your true nature, unconditional love, to live itself out of you? It is always present, you know. The unquestioned mind is sometimes louder, and it overrides the true nature of your own heart, but it can never obliterate what is real, what you truly are. Isn’t it truer that your unquestioned thoughts are not allowing you to be more aware that you really love the apparent “betrayer”—that in reality you love yourself and you love her just as much.

According to almost all the psychologists, once betrayal and infidelity are discovered, “it is the worst pain anyone can endure, and it consumes all of one’s thoughts and energy into all of the details of WHY?”

Why did it happen? Because it did. How else can ultimate goodness give all its beautiful self to you? If I lose anyone or anything, I’ve been spared, since this is a friendly universe, and I have tested this thoroughly. And not only spared but blessed, and so have they, and we are all better off because of it. That is obvious if we are awake enough to see the real in everything and without exception. That’s how life works. Our minds don’t have to understand this, but the kind of stress that comes from suffering and confusion happens until you do understand it. Until you do, you tend to see what is really grace as the oppressor, rather than to look to your manufactured unself, your thoughts. I invite you to find a minimum of three specific, authentic reasons why your life is better without her. It doesn’t mean you don’t love her; it is just that her leaving is for you; it is not happening in order to hurt you. And know that for every reason you find, time in its kindness will show you even more. If you question your thoughts and allow the open mind to live, the mind that you’re so capable of growing, you’ll see why nature, “the way of it,” is so perfect, wise, so benevolent. It is impossible for anyone or anything to take from us what is good. Life, takes from us what is no longer needed, in order to give us not only what is good but what is better, what is ultimate. This is always going on, and it’s all that is going on, through nature, in time. If your mind will not open to those possibilities that I speak of, it must remain in the non-generous, limited polarity of mind, the polarity I call suffering, the old paradigm. Notice in the polarity of hell how deeply in its black cave you are living or have lived. I invite you to dig yourself out of that grave. You have all of the help you need. For example, if you become still, listen, contemplate this wonderful thing that has happened, you will find three genuine reasons why your life is better without her. And if you can find three, you can find more. Move toward the light, sweetheart. It’s a beginning, and you have you and reality to show you what is already obvious.

This pain sometimes lasts years and years, because of the disbelief that one could give 100% of oneself to another person, trust no other, love so deeply, and then find out all of the “reality of it.”

The problem is that you put conditions on your love, as you think you were giving 100%. “You trusted her”—is that true? I trust Stephen 100%. I trust him to do what he does. And he always does. You trusted her to do what you wanted her to do and expected her to do. That is a very different matter. You cannot dictate another person’s life with your desires, assumptions, and bribes and secret motives running. Dictate your own life, your own unconditional love, and see if you haven’t let yourself down as well. That will keep you very busy, and out of the business of dictating her life in your head, only to be let down, to turn bitter, and be left to experience your own sometimes-closed heart. I love loving deeply and finding out the reality of it. I am free. I have given my love 100% to the other, and this supports him to live out his life, with or without me, and because I love him, I love that. It feels right that I would allow him the same happiness that allowing him gives me. It’s not as though I am noble or kind: I just no longer have a choice, since one way is to suffer and the other isn’t, and I’m about the end of suffering. And I love that this no-choice and my mind flow like a river as one.

How do you counter something that has deeper and worse pain and hurt then the death of a parent? How can one’s reality be separated from that which was thought to be “one”?


You just named it, angel. It wasn’t thought to be one, it was one. That reality. Your mind, believing its thoughts, separated it out. It was never separate. You were simply believing your thoughts about what is, rather than noticing what is, and then you didn’t see why it is happening for you, not to you.

“She betrayed you.” “She was unfaithful.” “This is the worst pain anyone can endure.” “The pain will last years and years.” “These thoughts consume all of your energy.” “You gave 100% of yourself to her.” “You trusted no other.” I would question these thoughts, sweetheart. I would do it now. Now is always the right time. After you question them thoroughly, experiencing the answers from the heart, as meditation, I would gently allow the mind to flow to the turnarounds, finding the ones that make sense to you. And as you begin to seek authentic examples for each turnaround to enlighten any limited thinking you may be stuck in, allow yourself to take the examples you are being shown to live in your heart, as this allows them to shift you. Find genuine examples of how these turnarounds are as true as or truer than the original concept. Nothing less, in my experience is the cure for real hunger, and if peace isn’t what you hunger for, if you’d rather be right than free, then you will find little rest here.
I wish you peace, precious one. Thank you for giving yourself to your own sweet and gentle care.

The Death of Hector

I receive a lot of email about my relationship and marriage with Stephen. Here is a typical moment. We are very quiet together most of the time, and I appreciate the ease and yes, the bliss that meets with that silence.

Stephen: “Here’s the salad. Let me know if it needs more vinegar.”

A few minutes pass.

Katie: “How was your morning?”

Stephen: “Excellent. Hector was just killed.”

Some of you know Stephen as a poet, scholar, and translator of great works (all of which would be on my reading list, if I had one). He had just finished his verse translation of Homer’s Iliad, to be published in October.

Katie: “Imagine if they had just done The Work, instead of fighting for all those years.”

Stephen: “Of course that would have been better for them, but we wouldn’t have the Iliad. Personally, I’m opposed to violence, except when it happens in great poetry.” (Pause) “And how was your morning?”

Katie: “This is the best salad I’ve ever had in my entire life!”

The Salad

And that’s about it. Life with Stephen? Soooo exciting!!!!

“I shouldn’t have married this man”

Here is a letter from a woman in Europe kind enough to write to Katie even though her first language isn’t English.

For twenty years i’ve been married with my husband and you know, I had for twenty years resentment in this and I couldn’t get through it. I did The Work on it last August, I sent a letter, and still my resentment didn’t resolve till now. I couldn’t find what i wasfighting…..was it my illusion to fight…….I don’t love him or was it my heart telling me it wasn’t the right man. I did the work on it and I couldn’t come to a point and then…………

I spoke about it with my coach and went home, still not knowing what to do, bit of crying in the car…….. a friend of mine came by and I told her where it stops for me, where I couldn’t get through the problem so she said…………….. “YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE MARRIED THIS that true????????…………………….”.

as soon i heard this question, I burst into a big laugh…..the reality was and is I AM MARRIED WITH THIS MAN and then she asked……..”who are you do when you don’t think this thought…………” Then the curtain went up and I started for the first time to see what this marriage has brought me ……..4 beautiful kids, home, a handsome man who stayed next to me durint all those bad times……..I started to see the good things.. for the first time in a long, long, long time

And I was so used to seeing all the negative things. I distracted me from him, so I lost myself, and my husband lost me, and we were both looking where i was .My mind wanted to see all the proofes of not having a good marriage………..oh what a bad time i had with this way of looking. really shocking.

My mind was my prison.

Questions 1 and 2 made me really laugh and question 3 ….I started to see how i created my own misery, and finding all the proofs and i could only see the bad times as proof.
Now I can see the opposite and am wondering how this changed my way of looking in only one shift. and not only in my marriage , but also in other ways.
the negative thoughts about myself are disappearing and I can feel myself coming out of my shelter.

But the big question now is ……………….I did the School in 2006….and after that, I still did……..but why didn’t i come to this simple point earlier this year?….. it is so really easy, why did I miss it all the time?………..

So now I have to get used to a life with nice points of views in my marriage and this feels rather funny.

Thank you for writing, dearest, and I don’t call it The Work for nothing! Daily maintenance can give a life of joy and understanding to all situations, in my experience and freedom to love is your birthright. I invite you to check into possibilities of enrolling in the Institute for The Work of Byron Katie. I developed this ongoing life school for those people who have been to the School for The Work and choose to do The Work as a daily practice. I like to say, “Do the work for breakfast and have a great life.” I am so very happy that you know how to find the way to your heart, husband, family, world, and peace. Thank you, angel. In love and gratitude for your humor, love, and light.


Audio: “I Can’t Stand My Best Friend”

Listen to this audio clip:

It’s a familiar story for many of us. Notice how suffering is always caused when we are believing our own stressful thoughts. And if you are feeling any stress, even the most minute amount of stress, I invite you to identify what you are believing and then to question those thoughts that are always the cause of that stress.

Letter: “The Work Changed My Life”

Dear Katie,

I do not know if you will get this, but I must thank you for your book Loving What Is. I was left by my girlfriend and baby and alone in Mexico with only hate mail and lawyer papers emailed to me, and no clue as to where my now past family was. As I travelled back to Canada I was terribly sad and could hardly hold back the desperation and sadness as I flew from Cancun to Minneapolis. I knew instinctively at the time that I had to be okay with them being gone, and me being alone and not able to see my child as a restraining order had been placed on me and there were so many unknowns. I went to a book store and picked up a few books and then I saw the title of yours Loving What Is; this caught my attention immediately, so I purchased the book. When I was sitting in the airport in the same eating area near a pizza place that my girlfriend and baby had eaten at not 9 months earlier, I was overwhelmed with remorse. So I left the area and found a chair and opened your book and started reading. It wasn’t 30 minutes and I was suddenly sitting taller and feeling free from the pain. I continued to read and even as my hunger grew I went back to the pizza place and ordered the same mini pizza I had eaten when with my family. I sat there reading and eating that amazing pizza, which it turns out was “humble pie” pizza which I thought fitting later on as I found the receipt in my wallet and had a good laugh.

As I was reading, I started posing the 4 questions to my thoughts “she should not have left me”, “I should be able to see my baby”, “she should not be able to take my baby”, “she should be more understanding and forgiving”, the answers came quickly and so did the turnarounds. It was like seeing for the first time, I had absolutely thought myself into depression, suicide, abuse and bankruptcy and then being left alone. I do not know how to describe the feelings that welled up inside me, but it was an awakening or epiphany, or whatever other way one could describe it. As I sat there I started to smile and enjoy my pizza, and it tasted so good, I was talking to the person next to me an simply felt good in that moment.

By the time I was flying to Winnipeg, I was so happy in the moment, for I realized everything I believed true about my life had been a lie and a deception from stories I had created for myself without knowing it. I realized so quickly that I was simply a kind, loving man sitting on a plane flying to Winnipeg, and as I reminisced with a fellow passenger, I knew from that moment on in my life I had finally come to understand what it was that was crushing me into oblivion. When I got to Winnipeg my sister was there waiting for me at the airport, and as I approached they were uncertain to as my state of depression or sadness and were unsure of how to act, I was smiling like the day my baby girl was born and I gave my sister a big hug and was laughing and joking and having a great time all the way home. They were none the less surprised, when asked why I was this way, I had said I had found this book, not sure what the title is though. For a few days my sister continued to ask me if the book was by Byron Katie, and I was like, I don’t have a clue. As I am more about substance than the title or author, sort of like the way I am with a good movie, no idea what it’s called, but it was good. She asked me if there was a blond lady on the front of the book, and I still had no idea, and as I talked about it she went and found the book in my carry on bag and showed me the book. And there it was, Byron Katie and a beautiful blond on the cover! We had a good laugh, and she started to tell me how she had been reading your stuff for a couple of years.

I thank you for your strategies in understanding our thoughts, it has changed my life. I have not seen my daughter or girlfriend in 3 months, and I am happy every day now, this would not have been possible 3 months ago. I would have cratered and fallen deeper into sadness and depression. Now I feel so free, my thoughts no longer lead the way, I lead them and decide on what to believe and how. It takes work, but I am so thankful I met your amazing Work through your book. I hope to come to a workshop someday when I have the money and I am on my feet, and look forward to meeting the woman who forever changed my life.

God bless you!