Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships: Healing the Wound of the Heart

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Overview

While most of us have moments of loving freely and openly, it is often hard to sustain this where it matters most—in our intimate relationships. Why, if love is so great and powerful, are human relationships so challenging and difficult? If love is the source of happiness and joy, why is it so hard to open to it fully and let it govern our lives? In this book, John Welwood addresses these questions and shows us how to overcome the most fundamental obstacle that keeps us from ...
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Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships: Healing the Wound of the Heart

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Overview

While most of us have moments of loving freely and openly, it is often hard to sustain this where it matters most—in our intimate relationships. Why, if love is so great and powerful, are human relationships so challenging and difficult? If love is the source of happiness and joy, why is it so hard to open to it fully and let it govern our lives? In this book, John Welwood addresses these questions and shows us how to overcome the most fundamental obstacle that keeps us from experiencing love's full flowering in our lives.

Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships begins by showing how all our relational problems arise out of a universal, core wounding around love that affects not only our personal relationships but the quality of life in our world as a whole. This wounding shows up as a pervasive mood of unlove—a deep sense that we are not intrinsically lovable just as we are. And this shuts down our capacity to trust, so that even though we may hunger for love, we have difficulty opening to it and letting it circulate freely through us.

This book takes the reader on a powerful journey of healing and transformation that involves learning to embrace our humanness and appreciate the imperfections of our relationships as trail-markers along the path to great love. It sets forth a process for releasing deep-seated grievances we hold against others for not loving us better and against ourselves for not being better loved. And it shows how our longing to be loved can magnetize the great love that will free us from looking to others to find ourselves.

Written with penetrating realism and a fresh, lyrical style that honors the subtlety and richness of our relationship to love itself, this revolutionary book offers profound and practical guidance for healing our lives as well as our embattled world.

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Editorial Reviews

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

Library Journal
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590303863
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/27/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 282,868
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

As a psychotherapist, teacher, and author, John Welwood has been a pioneer in integrating psychological and spiritual work. Welwood has published six books, including the best-selling Journey of the Heart (HarperCollins, 1990), as well as Challenge of the Heart (Shambhala, 1985), and Love and Awakening (HarperCollins, 1996). He is an associate editor of the Journal for Transpersonal Psychology. He leads workshops and trainings in psychospiritual work and conscious relationship throughout the world.
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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.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     1
Prologue: To Feel Held in Love     23
Pefect Love, Imperfect Relationship     32
The Mood of Grievance     57
Letting Grievance Go     75
From Self-Hatred to Self-Love     96
Holy Longing     120
The Love That Sets You Free     139
Epilogue: Who's Holding You?     161
Exercises     169
Acknowledgments     189
Notes     191
About the Author     205
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2013

    Heal your Heart

    This little book shows us how to use our relationships as a tool to heal and open our hearts toward a greater capacity for love and acceptance in our lives. Many times I have been grateful for its teachings and it's been close at hand since it crossed my path.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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