The book Loving What Is by Byron Katie has transformed my marriage. Next time you are annoyed with your spouse, ask yourself Katie’s four questions.
The theme for the month of September will be all about my personal marriage wins. Each month I send my email subscribers a “win” I’ve had for the month, so the posts this month are taken directly from those emails I’ve sent out. My email list is where I get pretty personal, so if you want in on this (and duh, you definitely want in on this), just sign up right at the bottom of this post. 🙂
From August 28, 2016:
Have any of you read the book Loving What Is by Byron Kate?
I have been reading it the past two weeks and I can already tell it is going to be up there among the most impactful books I’ve read. I think ever.
Its a really simple concept, but very powerful (both for myself and for my marriage). The idea is basically that most of the things that are making us miserable don’t actually need to be making us miserable at all. Its not really our circumstances, but our negative thoughts that we cling to surrounding our circumstances that stress us out and make us sad. The problem is, even when I am in a situation where I recognize this is true, I can’t seem to get myself to stop caring about whatever it is I’m upset about.
I think this book offers the most helpful solution of any I’ve come across.
The author offers four questions to pose to any idea that is making you miserable. They are:
1. Is it true?
2. Can you be absolutely sure it is true?
3. How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?
Once you’ve answered those, you come up with 2-3 turnarounds or opposites of the thought and come up with three reasons why that could be true.
The thought, “my husband should be more helpful.”
1. Is it true? Sure.
2. Can I be absolutely sure it’s true? No.
3. How do I react, what happens when I believe that thought? I treat my husband poorly, offer the silent treatment. I’m distant, annoyed. I find it hard to connect physically or emotionally with him.
4. Who would you be without that thought? More loving, patient, more willing to help HIM with his things.
I should be more helpful.
- I should help him with the things he asks me to do.
- I can do household chores happily.
- I should help make his life easier.
He should be less helpful
- He works all day and needs a break.
- He’s happier when he isn’t stressed or full of to-do lists.
- He would feel more loved if I didn’t nag him to help.
The point of the exercise isn’t to say, “I’m always wrong, everything is my fault.” The purpose of the exercise isn’t even to drop the thought or to try to force yourself to think something you don’t agree with. Rather its to give your mind some practice in noticing how it doesn’t always see reality all that well. With practice, your mind will get better and better at freeing yourself from the shackles of the thoughts that make you miserable.
I really recommend the book. I feel lighter, more peaceful and free to love my own reality right now as it stands, and I feel like I have a really useful tool to combat miserable situations in the future.
The question I’m still left with though is: does accepting things exactly how they are somehow negate progress? I don’t think it does in my marriage because I’m a firm believer we shouldn’t make changing our spouses our goal. But for myself, this is the question I’m still left with. If I’m perfectly content with my reality that I can’t get as much done in a day as I would like to, will that negatively impact my productivity?
What are your thoughts? I’d love it if you responded and told me 🙂
That was what I said in my email newsletter just last month, this is me talking now. In last week’s post called “Forgive Before You Fix” I promised I had a tried and true method for forgiving your spouse BEFORE you bring up something that bothers you or something difficult, which is such a great idea but before I read the book Loving What Is, I had a hard time implementing it.
I feel like reading Loving What Is provided me with that missing piece of the puzzle- HOW to forgive my spouse when I’m bothered. I just put my frustration through those four questions and turn it around. And then I start to feel peaceful. The TV station of my brain suddenly turns from the annoyance or frustration channel to the acceptance and peace channel surprisingly fast when I write it out. Writing it is key.
So, that’s my plan now if I need to bring up something big that’s bothering me during our companionship inventories. Write down the frustration, put it through the four questions and turnarounds and pray for peace.
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