I have mentioned The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship before, back then just referencing almost an entire chapter called The Magical Kitchen and recommending people to read the entire book. But recently I re-read it and realized how much it had actually impacted my view on all types of relationships; friends, family, lovers etc. It dawned on me that this might be one of the most influential book I have ever read, even though, if you have asked me before I re-read it this time, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it.
But it sure deserves a good shout-out once again. It CAN change the way you view and handle all relationships in your life. It is not a book like Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion or How to Win Friends & Influence People – which both are amazing books – but they tend to focus on your ability to make an impact on other people, whereas The Mastery Of Love focuses more on yourself, distills feelings and worries into what is your responsibility and more importantly what is not.
From page 66 in the book:
In every relationship there are two halves of the relationship. One half is you, and the other half is your son, your daughter, your father, your mother, your friends, your partner. Of those halves, you are only responsible for your half; you are not responsible for the other half. It doesn’t matter how close you think you are, or how strongly you think you love, there is no way you can be responsible for what is inside another person’s head. You can never know what that person feels, what that person believes, all the assumptions she makes. You don’t know anything about that person. That is the truth, but what do we do? We try to be responsible for the other half, and that is why relationships in hell are based on fear, drama, and the war of control.
It can’t be said much more precisely. You can only control your own reactions, never anybody else’s. I can complain all day long that my partner does not do x,y,z but at the end of the day I cannot, and more importantly should not try to control my partner, I can only control my own reactions to her behavior. If x,y,z is something I cannot live with, then guess what – we probably shouldn’t be together. You can easily make the decision way more complicated, which a lot of people do, but at the end of the day it is all up to you. How much self-abuse will you take. If something in one of your relationships nags you so much, then make a decision whether this person should stay in your life. You can and should tell the person how you feel, but you can’t expect them to change anything. In the opposite scenario it works the same way. You can make all the sacrifices you want to please and impress the other person, but you can’t expect them to feel anything special. That is their half of the relationship. If they act selfish, rude or anything else, you can’t expect to change it. What you can do is walk away and respect your own happiness.
I could try to distill the information from the book even more, but I just feel like I will be doing the book a disservice. It is a cheap and short book. You can probably read it in 2-4 hours, and as written above I strongly believe it can change the relationships in your life to the better. It is easily one of the most influential book I ever read! Just started reading another of Don Miguel Ruiz’ books called The Four Agreements and so far it has not disappointed one bit, he just writes in such clear language – at least for me. But that book might find its way into another blog post. For now my advice which of course I cannot expect you to follow is: pick up The Mastery Of Love!