Loving Bravely | Alexandra H. Solomon

Summary of: Loving Bravely: Twenty Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want
By: Alexandra H. Solomon

Introduction

Are you struggling to find or maintain a fulfilling romantic relationship? ‘Loving Bravely: Twenty Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want’ by Alexandra H. Solomon offers insight for anyone seeking meaningful connections. This summary explores the concept of relational self-awareness and teaches you how to examine your own beliefs, habits, and history that may be standing in the way of successful partnerships. By understanding your core issues and adjusting your mindset, you can overcome harmful patterns and create lasting, authentic relationships.

Relational Self-awareness

Meet Alexia, a young woman in her mid-twenties, who has everything going for her except for her love life. She realizes that her romantic relationships keep failing, and she bears some responsibility in the matter. This realization leads her to delve deeper into identifying her beliefs and behaviors about love, which is known as relational self-awareness.

The key message of the book is that to love someone genuinely, you must first understand yourself. Relationships require collaboration and partnership, and each partner brings their unique qualities. To build a strong and stable pairing, it is crucial to have relational self-awareness, which means understanding your personality, needs, and desires.

It is essential to recognize that we learn a lot about love in childhood, from watching our parents and experiencing our family dynamics. Consequently, early experiences shape how we approach intimacy as adults. Understanding these patterns is key to helping us break harmful habits and overcome personal vulnerabilities, or core issues.

The author recommends the name-connect-choose method to identify and overcome these patterns. By reflecting deeply on oneself and history, we can better understand our core issues and confront them to achieve fulfilling relationships.

The Power of Internal Stories

Our internal stories shape how we view ourselves and others. The messages we tell ourselves can have a profound effect on our behaviors and relationships. In “The Art of Possibility,” Owen and Leticia’s story illustrates the importance of reframing our internal narrative. Leticia’s lifelong view of mistakes as unacceptable caused her to become upset with Owen’s mistake. However, through a shift in perspective, Leticia could react differently and view Owen in a more nuanced light. Dialectic stories, which recognize the complexity and nuance in life, offer a more accurate representation of reality and allow for us to adjust our behavior. Updating our internal stories with new information can lead to a happier ending.

Finding Your Authentic Love

Imagine a 25-year old bachelorette living in America a hundred years ago. Today, a young single person in a big city is deemed free, but 100 years ago, she was stigmatized. The reason for this difference is the cultural norms that govern love. Cultural standards infiltrate our lives and shape our dating and relationships. Be it through media, religion, or community norms, people are expected to follow distinct gender roles, an idealized notion of love, and unrealistic expectations about relationships. The key message is to recognize that cultural expectations don’t have to define our love life. Instead, critically examine these outside forces and identify what you want. Recognize that gender roles are not fixed and can fluctuate, while perfect love is an imperfect entity that requires work and compromises. Ultimately, pursuing a relationship solely based on cultural norms is limiting. Finding an authentic approach to love requires introspection and examination of one’s desires.

Finding Your Soulmate Without Expecting Perfection

The article explores the concept of soulmates, emphasizing the importance of putting in effort to build a healthy relationship and not expecting perfection.

Do soulmates exist? It’s a question that has puzzled many for years. While there’s no clear definition of what a soulmate is, some people believe that it’s a person God created specifically for them, while others see it as a fellow traveler with whom you spend decades building a relationship. The author highlights that the idea of a soulmate is different for each individual.

Although we may want our partners to be our ideal match in every possible way, the book summary suggests that it’s not healthy to have such high expectations. In fact, a study by social psychologists Spike W. S. Lee and Norbert Schwartz found that people who believe in perfect matches are more likely to be disappointed and dissatisfied in their relationships. The key message is that no partner can fulfill all of your needs all of the time, even if they are your soulmate.

The book summary emphasizes that not all relationships are free of hurdles, and building healthy and lasting relationships requires effort from both parties. Even though God may have paired you with your optimal partner, life’s trials and tribulations will still have to be faced together.

Finding the right partner can be challenging, and there’s no exact answer. However, sometimes you just know. The book highlights that while logic and reasoning may help, our bodies can also be a valuable source of insight – listening to your gut instincts may lead you down the right path.

Finally, the author reminds readers that even the best partner won’t mirror you completely. Healthy relationships involve both parties having their own friends, interests, and passions beyond the pairing. So instead of expecting perfection, the author encourages readers to embrace the imperfections in their relationships and put in the work needed to build a healthy and lasting bond with their soulmate.

Rediscovering Our Sexual Needs

In a world bombarded with sexual content, it is easy to lose touch with our own desires, making intimacy unsatisfying. The key to good sex is to rediscover ourselves first. This involves spending time exploring our own needs and desires, and understanding our own boundaries. Once we are in touch, we can better engage with a partner and give and receive pleasure. It is important to communicate our desires and establish emotional connections, as intimacy is a powerful way to connect with another person. Everyone is entitled to intimacy and pleasure, and the right partner can bring a strong physical connection that benefits the relationship.

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