Stuff my dad never told me about RELATIONSHIPS

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Three sentence summary Love unconditionally. Establish your identity and give from it. What you want to receive, give.

==Level of Certainty: These are the things that stood out from the book for me. I might not agree with all of them but I want to keep thinking them through.==

Loving unconditionally

Dodson writes much about loving unconditionally. We need to honestly look ourselves in the mirror and ask how much of our love is truly unconditionally. For me, my love can be a bargaining chip in disguise, a way of making me feel good about myself or a silent expectation of return.

Instead, I ought to love unconditionally. With no expectation of repayment.

It is a common practice to make lists of our hopes towards a future romantic partner. In the back of our mind these lists can still exists. They are all about what I want to receive, never about giving.

On Attractions

As human beings we are drawn to beauty and aesthetics. Attractions are just that. We appreciate certain beauty more, like having a certain taste in food. That doesn’t mean anything. Attraction can just come from being liked and being drawn to reciprocate or from spending a lot of time together. So don’t talk about them to early when you’re looking for a partner (making them a reality) but get to know them and their values. And certainly when having committed to a partner for life, don’t chase them.

Give love through your identity

Identity → Creativity → Generosity → Flow (of love)

The common idea of Love Languages can lead to a sense of entitlement. “I ought to be love the way it works for me”. We twist our love to fit into the mold of the ‘love language’ of the other (or demand the other does that for us). Flow of love happens when you love from your identity. From what is natural to you.

By giving me meet our needs

It is better to give than to receive: The principle holds true in relationships. What if we give what we feel we need most. If I feel under-appreciated, what if I give encouragement. If I feel under-served, what if I served? Dodson found that in the moments where fulfilled the need in others that he felt in himself, it got filled as well.


He referenced interesting resources: