1-Sentence-Summary: All About Love teaches you how to get more affection and connection in your relationships by explaining why true love is so difficult these days and how to combat the unrealistic expectations society has set up that makes it so hard.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Do you remember seeing those princess movies as a child? You know, the ones where it would have this cheesy, unbelievable “love at first sight” story? The worst part was when the show would end by painting this picture of “happily ever after.”
If you grew up thinking this is what your life would be like, you’re probably now feeling like you’ve been robbed. Love is not as easy as they make it seem in the movies. It’s elusive, difficult, and takes hard work to maintain. Lots of people are cynical about it, and for good reason. But there is hope.
That’s why I really appreciate bell hooks’ All About Love: New Visions. This is just the book you need to see that your delusions around love that make it so difficult come from society. It will also show you how to fix these beliefs to improve your relationships with yourself, a significant other, and everyone around you.
These are my 3 favorite lessons on love:
- We need to return to understanding “love” as a verb to improve our relationships and the world around us.
- Love is hard because of societal pressures to lie and value stuff over people.
- If your immediate family is broken, you can find connection to others in your extended family, friends, and community.
Ready to find out how to mend your broken heart… I mean… ideas about love? Let’s begin!
Lesson 1: Love is an action word and we need to practice it as such to improve our relationships.
If you look at the most common topics throughout movies, books, television, and music, love is probably the most frequent to appear. You’d think that with all of these messages about it we’d be better at it. But many of us struggle with this trait in multiple aspects of life.
The most common association we have with the word love is affection. Think about how you feel about your significant other, for example, and you know just what I mean. It’s fun to be “in love” but the process of loving others is another thing entirely. And it’s one we often forget, with terrible consequences.
Some people will even go so far as to use this definition to excuse bad behavior. They emphasize the feeling of love so much that they overlook mistreatment. People frequently get the idea that someone who is abusing them still loves them. Or even that it’s not a problem if a person that says “I love you” is causing pain.
The problem here is merely in the definition of the word love. Only looking at the feeling side isn’t enough to make for healthy relationships. We need to refocus ourselves on loving other people. It’s the verb love that truly heals broken hearts.
Many theorists and psychologists have identified this important idea before the author did. They all believe the same thing, that love is consistently working to nourish spiritual growth inside ourselves and others. If you want to have better relationships, see how you can care for others better instead of just feeling love for them.
Lesson 2: A culture that emphasizes materialism and dishonesty makes it difficult to practice the principles of love.
There’s a lot of deception involved in online dating. Taking just one profile picture to let others try to get an idea of who you are is one example. But then you’ve got to add a little blurb about yourself, too. You’d never say that you are a liar, right? Yet society pushes us to lie about ourselves all the time.
Many men, for example, lie to maintain dominance and get more power. It’s often seen as a disadvantage to show feelings or take responsibility, which only promotes dishonesty further.
And women lie by changing the way they look or how intelligent they seem. The world teaches us that being a smart and independent woman isn’t what men want. Which is a despicable lie on its own, by the way.
The problem with lying is that it makes it hard for us to trust one another and undermines the foundation necessary for relationships to flourish.
Society’s greed materialism is another negative thing that bleeds into our relationships making them worse. We want the newest things and immediately, and we feel the same about people. If someone doesn’t please us, we leave to go for something new.
When we instead put in the proper time and commitment that people require, we have happier relationships and lives.
Lesson 3: Your extended family, friends, and community can provide the connection that you may be missing in a broken immediate family.
How many family members do you have? If you’ve got three siblings and two parents, you’d probably say five, or six including yourself. But what if I told you I’ve got over 60 family members? It’s funny, but we don’t often think about our extended family when throwing around the word family, and we shouldn’t do this.
We learn a lot from our parents and siblings, but if we stop there it’s sometimes not enough. I’ve had a lot of important experiences seeing the way some of my aunts and uncles treat their spouses and children, for example, that help me be a better husband and father. I wouldn’t have that if we weren’t so close.
Immediate family is important, but don’t discount other relationships. The more people that are in our network, the better opportunities we have to learn how to love.
If we spend more time with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, for example, we get more chances to see how love really works.
If you don’t have the luxury of a good extended family, then look to your closest friends and your community. There are lessons for you to learn about love from them that your immediate family may never teach you. Learning from these individuals is vital to the success of your relationships.
All About Love Review
I enjoyed All About Love and I think it’s just the kind of approach we need to take to improve our world. There were a few times I felt like it had a slight agenda, but that may have just been in my head. If you want to improve your relationships by learning what love really is all about, you need to check out this book!
Who would I recommend the All About Love summary to?
The 39-year-old whose marriage is falling apart and wants to figure out how to reconnect with their spouse, the 58-year-old that feels like their community isn’t very unified and wants to help fist that, and anyone that would like to know how to use the power of love for better relationships.