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Loving What Is

Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

By Byron Katie
  • Read in 9 minutes
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  • Contains 5 key ideas
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Loving What Is by Byron Katie

Loving What Is (2002) explains how you can conquer depression through a groundbreaking practice called “The Work” that helps you address, analyze and ultimately overcome problems to reach happiness and inner peace.

Key idea 1 of 5

Overcome stress by understanding and mastering your own thoughts.

You’re in a long-term relationship and have been happy for years. Yet recently you’ve started to suspect that your partner doesn't love you anymore.

In this hypothetical situation, your stress grows as you try to find ways to make your partner love you again. But that’s impossible! So you have to live with your stress and sadness. Right?

Wrong. Stress isn't caused by events or people in your life, but by your interpretation of events or the actions of friends and lovers.

So it's not your partner’s assumed lack of love that’s hurting you – it's your interpretation of your partner’s feelings. You’ve essentially read your partner’s behavior to mean that she doesn’t love you anymore. If she forgets to kiss you goodbye, you automatically think: She doesn’t care for me.

How can you overcome this situation? Well, stress originates from your thoughts, so you need to change your thoughts. This is where “The Work” comes in.

Start by writing down the thoughts that are troubling you. In our hypothetical case, you’d write, “My relationship is falling apart because my partner doesn't love me anymore.”

Next, analyze your written thoughts by asking yourself four simple questions.

Is this thought true? Reexamine your partner’s actions to make sure you aren't being too rash.

Can I be absolutely sure of its truth? Consider if there are any other interpretations for your partner's behavior.

How does this thought make you react? Sometimes when we're anxious, we just make ourselves more stressed. You might be fishing for evidence that your partner doesn't love you because deep down, you're paranoid.

Without this thought, who would you be? In this case, you'd be happier and enjoying your relationship more.

The answers to these four questions will give you a deeper understanding of your negative thoughts, so you can move on to making yourself feel better.

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