I have mentioned in recent posts (poems and essays) my efforts to discover the joys and learn from the pitfalls of on-line dating. Most of us learn from an early age how to get our needs and desires met through some form of manipulation or deception, and guilt and shame are abundantly used to mold us into obedience by often well-meaning parents who were taught the same way by their own parents or teachers.
In addition to this, we also learn to feel like we need the love, approval, and appreciation of others in order to feel worthy and lovable ourselves. All of these educational techniques in fact take us away from the reality of ourselves and our lives and because of this, prevent us from being completely free and happy.
I made a great discovery at my local public library in Byron Katie’s relationship guidebook “I Need Your Love – Is That True? How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead”. I feel compelled to share this book because it is the best relationship book I have ever read. Clearly written and compellingly convincing, the book teaches how to love yourself unconditionally and learn to communicate honestly. The author also teaches us to ask ourselves very simple questions when we are dissatisfied with the reality in which we find ourselves. This dissatisfaction can cause in us painful feelings such as anger, fear, and resentment, and we often project these feelings of suffering as blame onto those we love most, whether it be a spouse, child, boyfriend, girlfriend, co-worker, friend. The teachings in this book seek to liberate each of us to live our own lives while letting go of neediness. We learn to find ways to appreciate the situations in which we find ourselves at any given moment in our lives…as being the best place for us to be at that moment.
Very eloquently, Ms. Katie explains how the entirety of existence supports us all constantly whether or not we notice it, without asking for anything in return, whether or not we even notice that we are being supported. This means that there is nothing that we need, and nothing that we need to do more than we feel like doing in the moment in order to be fully free and fulfilled. The only thing that we allow to torment us is our own thoughts and beliefs about our own life, about others and what they should be giving us or doing for us, and about the world in general. Once we correct our thoughts by submitting them to the inquiry process that the author has formulated (see photo above), we can figure out what our real situation is and how to detach ourselves from the fiction of painful thoughts, ie other people being responsible for our personal happiness. Love is only possible when we take full responsibility for our own happiness and fulfillment.
This book is full of illustrated examples that are relevant to common human experiences in relationships of all types, not just intimate-couple relationships. More than a mere relationship manual, this book offers great philosophical and spiritual guidance. While easy to read, the content reaches for the depths of our souls and encourages us to search for and find our integrity. Ms. Katie also claims that only one “clear” person is required for a healthy relationship to evolve, but that if both parties are aware and self-responsible, the process is quicker and more profound.
I hope you find this book as enriching and as exciting as I do. I know I will re-read this book many times.