Some really juicy nuggets from Byron Katie’s I Need Your Love – Is That True?

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.

A 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. And in the end, the things we’re ashamed of turn out to be the greatest gifts we have to give.

We respect people who honestly let us know what they have survived and how they actually did it. When we meet someone who has come through great difficulties with an open heart, we are drawn to the truth in them, and they help us find our own truth.

Take your time. Don’t think that you know the answer yet, even if you have considered this thought hundreds of times before. The answer you have believed for years may not be the one that is true for you right now, and today’s answer may surprise or even shock you. Find the answer that is true for you – no matter what it is, and even if you believe that people would condemn you for it.

When you question your darkest secret, and turn it around, you discover that everything you thought it meant isn’t necessarily true. This journey allow the mind to give you other truths, truths that reveal your goodness.

It reminds me of Iyanla Vanzant’s memoir, Yesterday, I Cried. My brother bought me that book some time when I was in medical school, over ten years ago now. I’ve since read it at least four times, at different periods of my life. I “get it” at a different level each time I read it. I understand why she renamed herself – or was given a new name by her Yoruba priest – in order to step into the power of her true purpose. I understand her need to dissociate herself from who she used to be, while also integrating, embracing, and loving all parts of who she used to be, because they are part of who she is now. I think there is a quote from that book that reads something like: I am not who I used to be. But all of who I used to be is who I am.

OK, went to my shelf and pulled out the book. It’s been probably a year since I last read it. Just leafing through a few pages reminds me that it’s time to read it again. Funny how things work that way! Here’s an excerpt that shows how Iyanla’s journey is all about what Katie just said in the quote above.

Throughout our many experiences of life, we cry different kinds of tears. What we are probably not aware of is that each type of tear emanates from a specific place in the body….What we are probably less conscious of is that each tear, regardless of its origin, or its effects, contains a seed of healing.

…What I’ve discovered is that most tears come from our inability to tell our story.

…Crying for others and myself has led me to the belief that certain aspects of my story must be told. If I am truly to heal myself and help others in the process, I must tell the parts I am uncomfortable about telling.

…I have found, though, that as I tell my story, there are places and pieces that other people can tap into so that they may somehow find the courage to revisit their own experiences, bring forth the tears, and grow into their greatness. Life is about so much more than moving from incident to incident, issue to issue. When we take this path, we find ourselves crying without hope.

That is what I experienced one Sunday morning. I had forgotten to celebrate my strength and my victories. I thought that would be selfish….I had been told that it would be egotistical. I had never thanked my Self for all that I had gotten me through. And now others would be celebrating my victories, and I did not feel worthy or deserving of such praise.

…And that is all I have been able to do. I’ve done it in workshops; I’ve done it in lectures and in my books. I have been able to share with others a process that allows them to cry, and then celebrate. Unfortunately, I became so busy sharing, I forgot to cry and celebrate for myself. I felt obliged and indebted to everyone but me. One Sunday morning, I decided that the time had come for me to figure out where I had learned how to do that, and why I continued doing it when I no longer wanted to.

Oh, and here’s the actual quote (not the flawed version in my memory):

Who I am is not who I used to be. But who I am is all of who I used to be.