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.
|Product dimensions:||5.49(w) x 8.47(h) x 0.61(d)|
About 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.
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.
Table of Contents
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
About the Author 205
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.