Julie, what motivated you to write The Pathway to Love? I am often asked this question. It is an important question. So I thought I’d share my thoughts with you today on this very topic.
In some ways I wrote The Pathway to Love for very selfish reasons. I love people. I’m very social. I love creating connections and relationships. I value kindness and try to be compassionate and kind with others. I love the feeling of having many people in my heart and it pains me when I see people struggle with their own pain and fears in a way that not only hurts them, but hurts the people around them. You know who I mean. Some of those people have crossed your path or live in your home. And guess what? You are one of them too. We all are. We all acquire our wounds throughout the years. We all struggle with how to manage and heal the pain. We all look to one another for comfort and love and wrestle with the fear of being vulnerable and hurt yet again. Yes, you got it. We are all human and we’re all in this together.
In a nutshell, this is why I wrote The Pathway to Love. I want to help create a world in which we are all committed to each other’s well-being. My intentions are to remind people about the true nature of relationships. How they work, how they impact us, and how we impact them in return. I want to help people tap into the healing power of relationships rather than experiencing relationships as ones that continue to hurt and maim. Call me an idealist, but here are some snapshots of my vision…
You walk into a store and see a mother yelling at her three year old who is running down the aisles out of control. You see she has a baby in her basket and when she finally catches up to her 3 year-old son, she spanks him repeatedly. Instead of thinking that this woman has no business being a mother given the fact that she can’t control herself let alone her child, you go up to the woman and say, “I know exactly how it feels to try and do your grocery shopping with a tired and rambunctious child, let alone with a baby in tow. If you’d like, I’d be happy to finish up your shopping list and let you handle things with your children without the added stress.” The exhausted and stressed out Mom looks at you with gratitude, feels immediately understood and supported, and gives you her shopping list. Two lives (at least) were changed in that one moment in time.
Your wife comes home tired. She’s been working overtime for the last month and is fighting a cold. You prepared a romantic dinner for her with the intention of caring for her and creating an intimate evening. She walks in the door, sees the flowers, candles, and place settings on the table, and gives you a look of gratitude. As much as she would like to engage, she has nothing left. She lets you know that she is feeling awful and needs to take a bath and go to bed. She thanks you for the thought and walks past you down that hall. At first you feel angry and hurt. You think about how she constantly complains that you don’t support her enough and when you finally do, she rejects your efforts. You’re just about ready to throw the dinner down the sink and let your wife know what an ungrateful b% #*# she is. You stop and take the time to consider what it is you truly want to create with your wife. You make up a dinner plate, flower and all, along with a cup of tea and some vitamin C and deliver it to her in bed. You let her know that she’s welcomed to eat if she has an appetite and if not, you’ll save it for another day. Your wife looks at you with love, knowing that you could have pouted and punished her, but instead chose to understand and respond accordingly.
You are going about your usual day. There are choices to make throughout the day. You take the time to make choices that consider their impact—impact on you, others around you, and the world in which we share. Some of the choices include
- Deciding to use a reusable sports bottle instead of disposable plastic
- Putting your cigarette out in an ashtray rather than throwing it out your car window
- Waiting until you find a recycle trash bin to throw out your paper and plastic instead of using the convenient regular trash bin at the gas station
- Letting the car yield into your lane instead of speeding up
- Taking the time to return a call to your sister rather than putting it off
- Helping a friend with getting their daughter to soccer practice
- Picking up your dog’s poop when walking in the neighborhood
- Making a donation to a charity
- Volunteering your time to a good cause
- Smiling at strangers as you go about your day
- Taking the time to acknowledge the guy who serves you coffee rather than read your email on your iphone
- Sending that text that lets someone know you’re thinking of them today
- Asking before you borrow your sister’s favorite sweater
- Taking any conflict you have with someone and turning it into a positive connection-choosing peaceful resolution or letting it go rather than escalating a power struggle
- Choosing to understand rather than prove you’re right
- Choosing the well-being of people and your relationships rather than filling immediate gratifications in your attempt to dissuade any emptiness or erase any emotional discomfort
Again, my motivation for writing The Pathway to Love was fairly selfish. This is the kind of world I want to live in. This is the kind of world I want to pass on to my children. This is my notion of The Pathway to Love.
Thank you for allowing me to share my vision with you. As always, I invite you along for the ride. I know many of you are already here or are on your own version of this journey. I know I’m in good company. So let’s continue together…
Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery
Create Relationships in Your Life That Work — learn more at www.julieorlov.com