Updated: Feb 7, 2021
After reading four agreements and really loving that, I decided to read another book by Don Miguel Ruiz, hoping to gain more of his wisdom. And I choose this one, the mastery of love. Not only I wasn't disappointed, but I ended up loving this one too and it has become one of my most favorite books.
The key point of the book is that we as humans try to look to others to provide us with love when we don't seem to realize that all the love we could possibly want is already within us. In this book, Don teaches us how to build a loving relationship with ourselves and other people. He tells us that we go out searching for love because we think we don't have it. We search for love from people who also don't love themselves and are also searching for love. Then we are surprised and upset when we don't get what we want from them and they feel the same.
The first thing you learn when you read the book is that this life is a dream and you are the dreamer. You are the artist in your dream and you make all the stories there. Don calls this the personal dream. Then you understand that everyone around you is also dreaming and each of our dreams is very different. The result of everyone living in their personal dream and interacting with each other creates the collective dream of the planet. This shapes society and includes all the rules. What is right, what is wrong. It affects how we see the world, but it is very distorted. From the moment you are born, people around you are programming you with their idea of what is good, what is bad, what is beautiful, what is ugly. As a child, we are completely susceptible to these opinions and we accept them without any questioning. Then we grow up and that's how we see the world, ourselves, and others. Based on these opinions, we judge ourselves not to be good enough. We were born in the society. We grew up in this society. And we learn to be like everyone else, playing nonsense all the time because we want to fit in. Then the fear of rejection comes up because we think if others knew who I really am, they will definitely reject me. We seek to love and acceptance from others, and we fear we might not get it or we might get rejected. How can anybody accept you when you are already rejecting yourself? We are often our own worst enemies. And to love, we need to accept ourselves first, our bodies are flaws,…
So you live in a dream, but this dream is only real for you. Stop confusing the dream with reality. Often you hear people say, I am a terrible person or I don't deserve this, or I am not good enough. Remember, there are no right or wrong, no winners or losers. These are just in your head, in your dream, or whatever you want to call it.
Now, how do we overcome this self-judgment? To stop judging yourself, you need to accept yourself exactly the way you are. This is called love. An unconditional acceptance, the best definition of love I've ever heard. To have a good relationship, you need to first focus on the most wonderful relationship you can have. And it's the relationship with yourself. This is not about being selfish, It's about self-love. You have to love yourself before you can love someone else. A great teacher, Wayne Dyer once told me, you can't give away what you don't have. You can't give love to other people If you don't have love to give away. You need to take responsibility for yourself and can’t base your happiness on someone else. It's easy to think “if this person really knew and loved me, they would know how to make me happy.” We need to become aware that we are looking for love in the wrong places. To make this clear, Imagine you have a magical kitchen that gives you an unlimited amount of any food you want. You are never hungry and joyfully share your food with others. One day a person arrives at your door with a pizza and says, “I have a pizza and I'll give you some as long as you do what I want.” It sounds ridiculous to you and you never accept such an offer. Your food not only tastes better, but it also is available without any conditions attached.
Now consider this scenario with love. Within you is all the love you need and you share it with others. Then someone comes along and offers to be in a relationship and says, “I have some love, I will share it with you as long as you do what I want.” Their offer is the mindset of people who are looking for love through relationships with others. But like the pizza, this offer is ridiculous to you. If we accept and love ourselves, we are no longer looking for another person to make us happy because we know it just doesn't work that way. And if we enter a relationship, it is without any expectation that another person should do this or that to make us happy. We stop trying to change them into the person we want them to be. For example, our relationship with our dog is perfect because we get exactly what we want from our dog. We never wish that our dog would be better at being a dog, and we love it just as it is. But in our relationship with others, we don't usually accept them as they are. We expect them to be different. You can't change someone and it is up to them to change. So why should we be upset for being with a person who acts like a cat when we want a dog, it is much easier to get a dog than to expect a cat to act like a dog.
So to sum it up, all relationship starts with you and how you feel about yourself. Self-love is the key to thriving in a relationship with another person. And it doesn't matter how much you love someone else, you are never going to be what that person wants you to be.
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