These Byron Katie quotes will have you questioning everything you thought you knew!
Questioning your thoughts and beliefs is a great exercise in self-awareness and personal growth.
Be sure to let us know which quote was your favorite in the comment section below!
Byron Katie is living evidence that life is truly what we make of it.
She is an American author and founder of ‘The Work.’
Some people ask if Byron Katie is real, and the answer is yes indeed!
Some of these Byron Katie quotes even focus on understanding reality.
Time magazine described her as a “spiritual innovator of the 21st century.”
What makes her story so intriguing is how relatable she is to everyone.
Byron Kathleen Mitchell was born in Texas but grew up in California.
Her mom was a homemaker, and her father a train engineer.
She had a normal upbringing and married her first husband at 19.
They had three children, and she began a career in real estate.
While she was married to her second husband she struggled with depression, agoraphobia, overeating, and addiction.
She was unhappy in her life and reached out for help, which resulted in her seeking counseling.
It was there that she realized the power of her thoughts and challenged her long-held beliefs.
Keep reading to learn more from these Byron Katie quotes about how our beliefs and struggles affect our lives.
Don’t forget to also check out these Louisa May Alcott quotes from the iconic author.
Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.
Our inspirational quote category page has even more inspirational and educational quotes.
Best Byron Katie quotes about the realities of life
1. “Life is the constant opportunity to wake up.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: It is easy to overlook the power of waking up to a new day. But we really shouldn’t. Every day is a new chance to become who we want to be. It is a new opportunity to learn from our mistakes and failures and try again.
2. “You can’t have an up without a down. You can’t have a left without a right. This is duality. If you have a problem, you must already have the solution. The question is, do you really want the solution, or do you want to perpetuate the problem?” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Life is full of duality: love/hate, success/failure, and lies/honesty. It is all around us. What matters is what you choose. Do you choose to love when it would be much easier to hate someone? Do you choose to work hard toward a solution or continue on with the problem because it is comfortable?
3. “I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. We can know that reality is good just as it is because when we argue with it, we experience tension and frustration. We don’t feel natural or balanced. When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Reality is simply what is. The reality is that there is bad and good in this world. We can not ignore one in favor of the other. We must see it for what it is, and then take actions that impact the world around us. You can’t fight the fact that bad things exist, you can just make choices based on the good you want to see.
4. “If you want real control, drop the illusion of control; let life have you. It does anyway. You’re just telling yourself the story of how it doesn’t.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Learn to go with the flow. Our choices and actions give us a tiny bit of control, but so many things about this life are beyond our control. This means that we should ‘let life have us’ and seize the opportunities, relish the good times, and do our best with the bad.
5. “Reality doesn’t wait for your opinion, vote, or permission, sweetheart. It just keeps being what it is and doing what it does.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: It would be nice if it did, but unfortunately, it does not. It simply just is what it is. To some extent we can shape our reality, but there will always be things that we would not choose.
6. “Fear has only two causes: the thought of losing what you have or the thought of not getting what you want.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: It is a reality of life that at some point you will lose what you have or not get what you want. How you choose to react to those situations will decide much about your life. Will you focus on what you gained and learned, or will you fill yourself with negative self-talk and anger?
7. “Nothing terrible has ever happened except in our thinking. Reality is always good, even in situations that seem like nightmares. The story we tell is the only nightmare that we have lived.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: This one can be tough to live in practice, because sometimes the nightmares that happen are truly horrific and the thought of seeing them as good is difficult. However, imagine how it would make you feel to find something positive about the worst thing that has happened to you? Would it change the way you viewed life?
Byron Katie quotes about the power of thought
8. “People try so hard to let go of their negative behaviors and thoughts, and it doesn’t work, or it works only for a short time. I didn’t let go of my negative thoughts; I questioned them, and then they let go of me, and so did my addictions and depression.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Negative thoughts are a part of being human—along with feelings like anger and sadness. They have a place in our minds and our lives. You must acknowledge them, and then process why you feel the way you do, and then change your thinking and behaviors.
9. “People who believe their unquestioned thoughts cannot see what is obvious and directly in front of their faces at all times, because they are invested in what they believe to be true. As long as they live out of an unquestioned mind, they must continue to argue with what they believe is happening rather than the reality of what is really happening.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Question everything and learn something new everyday. This puts you on the road toward growth and development. Questioning things opens your mind and keeps you curious. It is also a great way to keep life interesting!
10. “A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Thoughts are powerful because of what happens when we believe them to be true. By themselves they hold no power, however, thoughts quickly turn into beliefs. Beliefs are much harder to question or change. Pay attention to your thoughts because they will become your beliefs, habits, and behaviors.
11. “Until you can love what is – everything, including the apparent violence and craziness – you’re separate from the world, and you’ll see it as dangerous and frightening.” ― Byron Katie
12. “Every 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. Love thy neighbor as thyself? I always have. When I hated me, I hated you. That’s how it works. If I hate someone, I’m mistaking them for me, and solutions remain hidden.” ― Byron Katie
13. “When we question our thoughts, we see that the craziness was never in the world, but in us.“ ― Byron Katie
14. “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment.” ― Byron Katie
15. “I love what I think, and I’m never tempted to believe it. Thoughts are like the wind or the leaves on the trees or the raindrops falling. They’re not personal, they don’t belong to us, they just come and go. When they’re met with understanding, they’re friends.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: What a beautiful way of thinking about our thoughts. Our thoughts guide our actions and behaviors. However, just because you think something does not make it true. We have control over what we think and our thoughts are changeable. So, if you find yourself in a bad mood or engaging in negative thinking, try to reframe your thoughts!
16. “When a thought hurts, that’s the signal that it isn’t true.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Thoughts are not facts, regardless of if they are based on real events. They are simply the way our mind processes things. We should be aware of our thoughts and what is causing us to feel a certain way. Self-awareness helps free us from our preconceived notions and biases.
17. “Pay close attention to the particular thoughts you use to deprive yourself of happiness.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: This is such an interesting concept. What thoughts are depriving you of your happiness? Even our most unkind thoughts can feel comfortable, while change is scary. It can be hard to reframe your thoughts, but it will help make you happier! You can do this by noticing which thoughts make you feel negatively, and pointing them out to yourself. Next, look at the evidence. Ask yourself if your thoughts are true.
18. “The mind’s job is to validate what it thinks.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Your mind will believe what you tell it because that is its job. The power to change your life is truly understanding what that means. Whenever you have a thought a chemical process is happening in your brain. What kind of thoughts are you telling your brain to believe?
19. “You can’t have your daughter as long as you have a concept of her. When you get rid of the concept, you meet your daughter for the first time. That’s the way this works.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Wanting your daughter (or really anyone) to be a certain way robs you of the beauty of experiencing who they actually are. These expectations can lead to feelings of resentment and disappointment. When you accept people for who they are, then you have a meaningful relationship with them, and not the version you have of them in your head.
Byron Katie quotes about self-love and the importance of self-awareness
20. “It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine.” ― Byron Katie
21. “We do not mature through age. We mature in awareness.” ― Byron Katie
22. “The only thing you fear is the unreality that you yourself have invented.” ― Byron Katie
23. “Peace doesn’t require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there.” ― Byron Katie
24. “You’ve never reacted to someone else. You project meaning onto nothing. And you react to the meaning you’ve projected.” ― Byron Katie
25. “If people are living their lives for security and comfort and pleasure, then the mind’s every waking moment will be plotting those things. That’s how it stays identified – as a body, as you.” ― Byron Katie
26. “Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience; taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them.” ― Byron Katie
27. “If your happiness depends on your children being happy, that makes them your hostages. So stay out of their business, stop using them for your happiness, and be your own happiness. And that way you are the teacher for your children: someone who knows how to live a happy life.” ― Byron Katie
28. “The world is what you believe it to be, and it changes as you change.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: There are things in this world that are beyond your control. However, if you believe that the world and life work a certain way, and you live according to that way, then you will notice that your life changes. The mind is a powerful thing that believes what we tell it.
29. “Just keep coming home to yourself, you are the one who you’ve been waiting for.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Loving yourself is the missing piece. Of course, being in love is an amazing experience, and something everyone deserves. However, many people spend most of their lives trying to win the love of someone else. Instead of doing that, be there for yourself, become the person you need you to be, and live your life to the fullest even if you don’t have a significant other. Happiness is not found within a relationship with someone else, you have to choose it for yourself.
30 “. If you think the cause of your problem is ‘out there,’ you’ll try to solve it from the outside. Take the shortcut: solve it from within.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Problems are a real issues, and we all will experience them. However, most of our problems are created by our responses. When you look at the problem you are facing, be honest. Ask yourself how your response to the situation has added to the problem. Solve the problem from within, by modifying your thoughts, words, or behaviors.
31. “The most important relationship is the mind’s relationship with itself. In other words, the ultimate – and, really, the only relationship you have is the relationship with your own thoughts.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: Think about how we act when we are in relationships with others. You might go out of your way to do something nice for them. You speak to them with respect and don’t say hurtful things. Maybe, you anticipate some things they will need and do what you can to make their lives easier. Now imagine if we treated ourselves as if we were in a relationship with ourselves. Would you speak to a partner the way you speak to yourself? Would you ignore their needs?
Byron Katie quotes about things that happen
32. “How do I know it was meant to happen this way? Because it did.” ― Byron Katie
33. “What would it be like to let go of wanting things to be other than they are?” ― Byron Katie
34. “You either believe what you think or you question it. There’s no other choice.” ― Byron Katie
35. “We are never really in control. We just think we are when things happen to be going our way.” ― Byron Katie
36. “It’s not what happens in life that bothers us. It’s what we’re believing about it that bothers us.” ― Byron Katie
37. “Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.” ― Byron Katie
38. “Spare yourself from seeking love, approval, or appreciation-from anyone. And watch what happens in reality, just for fun.” ― Byron Katie
Everyday Application: You do not need anyone else to love or approve of you. Your own validation and love are the most important things you can do to change your life. What would happen in reality if you treated yourself with love, did things the way you wanted them done, and didn’t need others to appreciate you? You would be immensely happier for starters!
Byron Katie quotes about relationships, stress and struggle
39. “When you become a lover of what is, the war is over.” ― Byron Katie
40. “Nothing belongs to me. Everything comes and goes. Serenity is an open door.” ― Byron Katie
41. “The way to truly help someone is for me to not get immersed in their suffering.” ― Byron Katie
42. “It’s good that it hurts. Pain is the signal that you’re confused, that you’re in a lie.” ― Byron Katie
43. “Stress is an alarm clock that lets you know you’re attached to something not true for you.” ― Byron Katie
44. “Our job is unconditional love. The job of everyone else in our life is to push our buttons.” ― Byron Katie
45. “When you realize that every stressful moment you experience is a gift that points you to your own freedom, life becomes very kind.” ― Byron Katie
46. “As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.” ― Byron Katie
47. “If your beliefs are stressful and you question them, you come to see that they aren’t true – whereas prior to questioning, you absolutely believe them. How can you live in joy when you’re believing thoughts that bring on sadness, frustration, anger, alienation, and loneliness?” ― Byron Katie
48. “An uncomfortable feeling is not an enemy. It’s a gift that says, “Get honest; inquire.” We reach out for alcohol, or television, or credit cards, so we can focus out there and not have to look at the feeling. And that’s as it should be because in our innocence we haven’t known how. So now what we can do is reach out for a paper and a pencil, write thought down and investigate.” ― Byron Katie
49. “Hurt feelings or discomfort of any kind cannot be caused by another person. No one outside me can hurt me. That’s not a possibility. 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.” ― Byron Katie
50. “I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s. Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our business. When I think, “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business, the effect is separation.” ― Byron Katie
What did you learn from these Byron Katie quotes?
Her time in counseling led to her developing the foundation for ‘The Work.’
Her newfound epiphany based on self-inquiry helped her change her world.
She began holding meetings and teaching others to improve their lives and her own.
Now, she is a successful author who is happily married to fellow author Stephen Mitchell.
She describes her 1986 epiphany by stating, “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being.
Freedom is as simple as that.
I found that suffering is optional.
I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment.”
There are four questions that the work teaches people to ask themselves:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
Try asking yourself these next time you are feeling stressed about something and let us know how it works out for you.
What’s your biggest takeaway from these Byron Katie quotes and sayings?
Do you have any other favorite quotes to add?
Let us know in the comment section below.