A Return To Love Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: A Return To Love will help you let go of resentment, fear, and anger to have happier and healthier jobs and relationships by teaching you how to embrace the power of love.

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Individualism is one of our main causes of suffering. When we live for our ego, we are more combative. How can we overcome our selfishness epidemic?

The answer, according to Marianne Williamson, is love. She believes strongly in its power and teaches all about it in her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles.” 

Williamson teaches that to find true happiness and relief from the pain that life brings, we must turn ourselves over to the higher power of love, also known as God. This message isn’t one from or to any specific religion. Anyone can receive, practice and benefit from it regardless of their beliefs.

Here are the 3 biggest lessons from this book about refocusing on love:

  1. Whatever you think is causing your unhappiness, it always comes back to a root feeling of fear.
  2. Let a higher power guide your career path to have a more enjoyable time at work and make a difference in the world too.
  3. People who are grumpy are most likely only trying to shield themselves from the pain of trauma, and they just need some love.

Are you ready to have your heart grow three sizes today? Let’s go!

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Lesson 1: Fear is the root of everything that causes us to be unhappy.

Whether it’s losing your job, the death of a loved one, or getting sick, we all have crummy times in life. But whatever it is you’re going through, the feeling of unhappiness is because you’re afraid.

Don’t worry though, it’s not your fault that your upbringing makes you fear suffering. The odds are stacked against us when it comes to this truth. From a young age you were taught to focus on getting good grades in school instead of being kind to others. Learning to compete with your peers taught you the feelings of fear and contempt as a child, and you’ve known them too well ever since.

Even once we graduate from college and go out into the workplace, our economic stability centers around fear. We’re afraid to lose out on the best job and the home and security that it brings. 

Not only is the workplace full of negativity, but the world in general teaches us to fear strangers. Our news seems to only air the dreariest stories. It’s as if we’ve got everything working against us to keep us in a habit of fear. The barriers we set up to try to keep ourselves safe make it really hard to open our hearts to any kind of love. But there is hope as we’ll soon see. 

Lesson 2: Being happier at work and making the world a better place come from turning your career path over to a higher power.

Unfortunately, too many people only listen to their ego when it comes to their career and financial life. When we focus only on our own preservation and survival we separate ourselves from others who are the true key to our success. Only by opening our hearts and minds to the higher power of love and kindness can we tap into our full potential. 

God put each of us here to make the world a better place. That’s the purpose of your career, to help other people, but the way you fulfill it might be unique. Discovering this meaning in your work could require you to go through a few different jobs. If you let a higher power guide you, though, the lessons you learn in each position will become vital to your success.

No matter what you do you can find purpose in how it helps make the world a better place. When Williamson was working as a cocktail waitress, she found it difficult to see the difference she made. Then she thought about how it was just a matter of perspective. Looking for the meaning in her work, she made a quick discovery that her job gave her an opportunity to bring joy to her customers each day.

Regardless of your work, it’s better to focus on kindness and love than just looking out for yourself. Most employers would rather higher the nice guy than the self-centered one with an impressive resume.

Lesson 3: Try to understand the people who are mean to you, most likely all they need is a little empathy for what they’ve been through to open their hearts.

I know someone who was abused as a child. I’ve heard how this individual is ridiculed by the rest of the family, but my friend doesn’t think that’s okay. They understand that sometimes people with a mean exterior are only trying to protect themselves after the trauma they’ve been through. If we all had the wisdom of this person, the world would be a much better place. 

It’s hard to accept that someone who hurt you may only be having a hard time dealing with past trauma. But remember that you don’t know what the people around you have been through. And you especially can’t tell if you’d act any better had you been given the same lot in life as they have. Instead of passing on their suffering, we need to become more empathetic and understanding of those around us. 

Consider an experience Williamson once had while at a salon. While getting her hair done a cold and mean customer walked into the room. Worrying that she may get stuck next to this icy personality, Williamson prayed for some guidance. At the same moment, she heard the woman who’d walked in open up and talk about her abusive father to the hairdresser.

So the next time you see someone angry, just stop to think about the shield they’re putting up because of their trauma. Showing them a little love will go a long way to making the world a better place.

A Return To Love Review

I really liked the message that A Return to Love preaches. We really need less egoism and selfishness in our world and more kindness and selflessness. As someone who values being nice, I really appreciate the reminder that nice people don’t finish last.

Who would I recommend the A Return To Love summary to?

The 33-year-old childhood abuse victim who is wanting to let go and forgive, the 19-year-old college freshman who is wondering how to find purpose in their career, and anyone who wants guidance on how to live their lives more peacefully and happily.

Last Updated on July 23, 2023

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.