The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz teaches how to embrace love. And that starts with accepting and loving yourself.
- You have to love yourself before you can truly experience love
- Love is about accepting your partner for who they are
- Obligations are based on fear. Love doesn’t know expectations and obligations
Love is a huge part of our lives and ranges from love for a partner to love for family and friends.
Truth Lies Within Our Beliefs
A staple in the self help genre, Ruiz says we are what we believe we are.
Too often however we dwell on negative thoughts and allow the world around us to poison our mind -the “wounded mind” as Ruiz calls it-.
How does it apply to relationships?
The same way you can make your life wonderful, so you can make your relationship wonderful. But it starts with you -and with your thoughts and beliefs-.
You Need to Love Yourself First
To love, you really need to love yourself first. You need to take responsibility for yourself and cannot base your happiness on someone else. When you fail to do so and come to fully depend on your partner for your happiness, that’s when love and relationships come undone.
Ruiz talks about our tendency of self criticism. We are often our worst enemies. And he preaches on the importance of accepting ourselves first. Our bodies, our flaws…
Fear and Obligation
Love doesn’t have obligations. Obligations only exist when there’s fear. And when you do things out of fear, love suffers. And your life suffers.
Instead, you should let people do what they feel like doing, without expectations and obligations.
There’s No Perfect Relationship
Similar to his 4 Agreements Ruiz takes quite some aim at perfection in The Mastery of Love.
He says that many of us hunt for “the perfect relationship”, but the perfect relationship doesn’t exist. Take responsibility for your own well being instead and accept your partner for who she is.
Being Open to Sex
Ruiz says sex is on our DNA. We are all sexual beings (well, almost all, 1% of the population is asexual). But sadly society and indoctrination put a lot of hang ups about sex in our mind.
He says it’s about finding a middle ground between the mind and the body.
Let Go of Game… And Control
Ruiz says we often talk about matters of heart and relationships as if it were a game (indeed, The Game). That happens because of our need to control, and that’s a terrible way of approaching relationship (a “parasite”, in Ruiz vocabulary).
When we focus on winning, we lose ourselves and what really matters.
Toltec tradition is kinda of woo-woo and certainly not science based. It’s not to say that it’s “inferior” to anything based on science. Studies get it wrong all the times and only cover small portions of reality. But anything completely devoid of any science also doesn’t make me super comfortable.
Simplistic “love yourself”
This is a very common refrain but sometimes it’s bandied around simplistically. Studies says that people need an emotional connection, which invariably leads to a certain dependence. However, that dependence will paradoxically make you more secure (read the dependency paradox in Attached).
I wouldn’t want that people refuse partners based on this “I need to love myself first” mantra.
Bad Advise on Anger
I don’t think that letting go of anger is the best solution to improve relationships. Sometimes people aren’t ready yet to let go. That’s when they should validate anger and work through it before letting go.
Or take action on anger and getting even, why not.
Or, also very valid, keeping anger in a drawer and using it for motivation. Read how to use anger as fuel.
Love Yourself First
I put that the message of “loving yourself first” is simplistic. And it is because it’s not true that it will fix all hurt in a relationship. But it’s also true that it’s key for a good and solid relationship.
Also read how low self esteem dooms your relationships.
I loved the stories Ruiz used as examples
The Mastery of Love is a bit on the new age side for me, but it’s still a good book and I enjoyed it.