From the Publisher
“With clear instructions and an even tone, Welwood shows us how to heal our psychic scars by opening up to the ‘real love’ available to us all at the core of our nature.”—Tricycle
“Welwood challenges us to move from self-hatred to self-love and to do the inner work to embrace the love that sets us free.”—Spirituality & Health
"Drawing equally from spiritual and psychological traditions, Perfect Love reads like a book of philosophy: the ideas seem sound enough, though there's no way to prove them. Welwood is most compelling when he gets practical. . . . His approach is also noteworthy for its emphasis on learning how to receive love as well as give it. . . . Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships offers both grand theories and useful practices for incorporating these lessons into your life."—Body & Soul
"Welwood skillfully identifies the fundamental obstacle in relationships and offers a clear, attainable, and transformative solution. Everyone should read this wonderful book."—Harville Hendrix, coauthor of Receiving Love and Getting the Love You Want
"This book skillfully and eloquently describes how our deepest longing for love is in fact the key to healing our personal wounds and the woundedness of the world at large. John Welwood's message echoes the Buddha's, showing us how we have direct access to the love and happiness we most long for, as our very essence."—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
"This book takes us on a healing and transformative journey to address the real, underlying cause of our relationship problems. John Welwood is one of the most brilliant and important teacher of our time."—Debbie Ford, author of The Best Year of Your Life and Spiritual Divorce
"Full of practical wisdom and divinely inspired insight. A marvelous guide for any seeker choosing to walk on love's path."—bell hooks, author of All About Love: New Visions
"A profound guide to healing our hearts and our world. No larger social transformation is possible unless it is simultaneously accompanied by this kind of personal healing, one individual at a time. Every social change movement should encourage its participants to take time to follow the steps outlined in this extremely valuable and important guide to psychic health."—Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun and author of The Left Hand of God
Too often, our relationships leave us feeling frustrated, anxious, lonely, and sad. A nationally known psychotherapist, Welwood (Journey of the Heart) takes a psychospiritual approach to transforming our relationships by healing the "wound of the heart," i.e., the deep-seated, unconscious belief that we are unloved and unlovable as we are, which makes it impossible for us to give and receive love freely. In turn, this state of "unlove" causes us to numb our hearts and close ourselves off from others, thereby shutting down the pathways through which love can flow. To break free from this vicious cycle, Welwood offers practical exercises and real-life examples from his practice. His lyrical writing style may not appeal to quick-fix seekers, but the book will find an audience among New Agers and the deeply forlorn. For larger self-help collections.-Wendy Lee, Marshall-Lyon Cty. Lib., MN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
All the most intractable problems in human relationships can be traced back to what I call the mood of unlove —a deep insecurity that most people harbor within themselves about being loved or lovable just for who they are. This doubt about our connection to love makes it hard to trust in ourselves, other people, life, or love itself.
The mood of unlove often shows up in the form of instant emotional reactivity to any perception of being slighted or treated badly. It's as though a huge reservoir of distrust and resentment is ready and waiting to be released—which the tiniest incident can trigger. For some couples, these emotional eruptions happen early on, blowing a budding relationship apart in their first few encounters. For others, the mood of unlove might not wreak its havoc until well into a seemingly happy marriage, when one or both partners suddenly wake up one day and realize they don't feel truly loved.
Fortunately, just as the sun is never permanently obscured by clouds, so our native capacity for love, for genuine warmth and openness, cannot be destroyed. To say that our heart is wounded means that we are lost in clouds that temporarily block our access to the sun that is always shining. Healing the love-wound, then, involves something like opening up spaces in the clouds and inviting the sun to do what it naturally wants to do: shine upon us.