It’s been a while since my last set of book recommendations, so I thought I would give you some new titles (in case you are looking for some summer reading). This week, we are going to look at some of my favorite books focusing on relationships, relational dynamics and emotional intelligence. I am currently single, but I am of the mind that it is always a good idea to develop our emotional intelligence. When I do meet someone and have the privilege of loving them and being in a relationship, I want to do it well. The best way I can do that is by being aware of my own relationship triggers, wants and needs now, so that I can recognize them when they show up in a relationship. Here are a few of my favorite books on the subject:
· The Four Noble Truths of Love – Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships by Susan Piver
If there is only one book I could recommend on love and relationships, this would be it. It was incredibly illuminating when I first read it a few years ago, and I’m pretty sure I highlighted a majority of the book. This book challenges our expectations of relationships and how we place so much pressure on them to be something they aren’t instead of allowing them to be what they actually are.
“A relationship is about riding the never-ending waves of connection, distance, desire, dullness, and joy, together.”
· The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz
This book examines the fear-based beliefs and assumptions that we make around love that lead to suffering in our relationships. It gives suggestions on how to restore a playful spirit to our loving relationships that is necessary for them to thrive. It also focuses on making ourselves happy instead of placing so much pressure on a relationship to do what only we can do for ourselves.
“Your reactions are the key to having a wonderful life. If you can learn to control your own reactions, then you can change your routines, and you can change your life.”
· Loving Bravely by Dr. Alexandra Solomon
I’m a huge fan of Dr. Solomon’s work (I highly recommend following her on Instagram for relatable and practical relationship advice - @dr.alexandra.solomon). She teaches a Marriage 101 course at Northwestern University that I wish I could have taken in college. It is baffling to me that relationships are often one of the most important facets of our lives, yet we get little to no education around how to be emotionally intelligent and have healthy relationships. Dr. Solomon wants to change that, and her book is an incredible self-discovery tool to develop important relational skills.
“Relational self-awareness is the cornerstone of all healthy intimate relationships.”
· The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
I’m sure most of you have heard of this book, since it has become quite popular over the last decade and for good reason. All of us have certain things that make us feel loved, and they are unique to us. For this reason, we need to learn how we experience and feel love and also how those closest to us feel loved, as well. The skills in this book are applicable to all of our close relationships, including knowing ourselves better.
“If we want (our partners) to feel the love we are trying to communicate, we must express it in their primary love language.”
· It’s Not You – 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single by Sara Eckel
This one is for all of you who desire a loving relationship and may be feeling like there is some reason why love hasn’t found you quite yet. I have gone through so many seasons of singlehood where I felt like something was wrong with me or that I wasn’t trying hard enough to meet someone or that I wasn’t fully ready for a relationship yet. But, what if the reason we are single is that we really just haven’t met our partner yet? So simple and yet society gives us a million reasons every day to the contrary that make us feel bad about ourselves. This book is uplifting and cuts through all of the negativity around singlehood.
“Isn’t it stronger and braver to go into relationships – and first dates – knowing full well you could get hurt, and that you’ll also survive?”
Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite books you’ve read to increase your emotional intelligence? Let me know in the comments. Remember to shop at your local bookstores, too! I always have to plug Timbre Books (across the street from The Pharm), as they are probably one of my favorite places in town. I hope you are enjoying some great books this summer!