What role does love play in change processes or work relationships? What is its opponent? What do you think of love as one of the underlying forces driving transformations?
To be crystal clear: The corporate understanding of love differs from a personal or intimate definition of love. Generally, love consists of emotions and feelings such as ‘serenity’, ‘joy’, ‘acceptance’, ‘trust’ and ‘interest’. Love is a positive force that helps us be at our best. Of course, the term is not explicitly used in organizations. However, ‘partnership’, ‘collegiality’, ‘collaboration’ or ‘appreciation’, for example, are also related to this kind of love.
In an organization, people can greatly cherish a goal or can be deeply committed to a value. This is impersonal love. Interpersonal love is closely associated with interpersonal relationships. I heard colleagues call each other ‘sis’ (for sister) or ‘buddy’ or ‚mate’ – a reflection of their mutual respect and trust. And deep listening or feedback can be seen as a gift of appreciation because it shows that the other person takes the time, cares and offers you the gift of full presence.
During coach training school, I loved reading one book in particular because I had the feeling that I was glimpsing real wisdom, not psychobabble or “self-help”: The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. This is a book you can finish in an afternoon sitting, yet it’s simple truths have the potential to alter profoundly how you view relationships as well as your relationship with yourself. The author’s message is both needed and timeless. Please find my book summary at the end of this article.
What relevance does the Toltec Wisdom have for organizations? What can we as leaders learn from it – personally? What could you start doing today to increase the level of respect and mutual understanding in your company? Or how could you boost empathy and trust?
Change processes require a win-win-mindset and a clear focus on the long-term and the greater good. Although tough decisions may have a severe impact on individuals, if managed with mindfulness, fairness and transparency, people will continue to feel acknowledged and empowered for their next steps. Love can be the engine in corporate transitions that gets us moving and helps us make the leap of faith. Hence, the compelling picture of the future needs to be so appealing, empowering and inspiring that we fall in love with it. NO LOVE – NO CHANGE.
Coaching with Inspired Executives focuses on the potential of individuals, balancing needs and accepting and embracing what is. My clients work on challenges relating to change leadership, stress management, establishing and maintaining work relationships and career transitions. Contact me.
What is your take on love in organizations? Do you think it’s true? What is it that you have a crush on in your organization? Please contribute and comment!
With love and positive vibes, Annette.
“The Mastery of Love”, A practical Guide to the Art of Relationships:
A Toltec Wisdom Book by Don Miguel Ruiz
How can anything new about love and relationships be written – hasn’t it all been said? Don Miguel Ruiz manages to approach love and relationship with a perspective that is so fresh that it opened my eyes to new possibilities. The author reveals the differences between relationships based on love and those based on fear and gently guides the reader to recognize the symptoms when fear is shutting out the warmth and joy.
Ruiz is a master at using Toltec Wisdom to show us the path to a more fulfilling life. In this book, he reveals powerful truths on love and relationships. From a psychological point of view, in order for us to love others and be accepting of the love they bestow on us, we must first love ourselves. If you are unhappy with yourself, do not rely on someone else to make you happy; true happiness comes from within.
Don Miguel Ruiz takes his interpretation of Toltec Wisdom to the realm of human relationships. He teaches through parable and direct suggestion the transforming power of self-love. He says that all relationships start with you, and how you feel about yourself. You will allow just as much abuse and what he calls “emotional poison” as you inflict upon yourself. A truly loving relationship requires self-love – which is so lacking in most of us.
Don Miguel Ruiz cuts through the illusions, the old patterns, and really gets to the heart of what it means to have love as a powerful presence in your life. We are responsible for the state of our relationships. This book comes from a place of self-responsibility for the state of mature relationships.
The Dream Master is excellent if for no other reason than the fact the author is blunt in reminding the reader that “Every relationship in your life can be healed, every relationship can be wonderful, but it’s always going to begin with you. You need to have the courage to use the truth, to talk to yourself with the truth, to be completely honest with yourself.” Or “You are responsible for the consequences of whatever you do, think, say and feel. Perhaps it’s hard for you to see what actions caused the consequences or enjoying the consequences.”
This beautiful book is an honest and courageous exploration of what it takes to experience being human in all its fullness. Ruiz describes the process of growing up in and absorbing the habits, thoughts, and behaviors of one’s culture. With great compassion, he points out that it is quite normal to practice living one’s life with a great deal of pain. “All of our drama and suffering is by practice. We make an agreement with ourselves, and we practice that agreement until it becomes a whole mastery.”
The way we think, the way we feel, and the way we act becomes so routine that we no longer need to put our attention on what we are doing. It is just by action-reaction that we behave a certain way.” So none of us is a failure – we are masters of how we live.
Most important takeaways
In “The Mastery of Love,” Ruiz reveals stories and misconceptions about love and relationships. Often people love the perception of how they actually want the other person to be, thinking if s/he would just do this, or would not do that, everything would be wonderful. The bottom line is, you cannot change other people; only the other person has the power to change and the desire to do so must come from within them…not you. When we truly love someone, we accept them for who they are, with all their strengths and all their weaknesses. If you cannot honestly do that, the relationship is already in trouble. Don Miguel Ruiz has such a gift in helping us all understand how to honor our own selves, and then we will be authentic enough to heal a relationship that has been damaged, or begin a new one stemming from truth.
Ruiz compares the ideal relationship to the one we have with our pet – say our dog. The relationship with our dog is perfect because we get exactly what we expect from our dog. We never wish that our dog would be better at being a dog, and we love it freely just as it is. Yet with our partner we tend not to accept them as they are, we expect them to be different, to act in ways they would not naturally act. Then we are unhappy with them. We think we are in love with them, but really we’re in love with how we want them to be. He says that we do not truly accept this person we say we love because we don’t accept ourselves.
Ruiz tell us that humans hunt for love because we don’t have it. We don’t have it within ourselves. We hunt for love from other humans who also don’t love themselves and are also on the love hunt. Then we are surprised and upset that we don’t get the love we want from them, and they feel the same. Other people don’t have the love we need; only we do.
The Mastery of Love helped me to reshape old patterns of thinking and behavior. It didn’t just fill me with information; it impacted and increased my level of consciousness. From there I was able to act in less reactionary, more creative ways.
Reading this book is invigorating, and I find myself less judgmental and more relaxed about my relationships. Just reading his ideas about love is enough to start feeling it in your own life. What I came to realize was that you will only find people who are willing to love you as much as you love yourself.
My favorite chapter was “the magical kitchen”. It truly showed me that once you truly love yourself you would only do what is in the best interest for your heart and soul. Don Miguel Ruiz wrote this book in such a way that regardless what your situation is while reading it by the time you are finished you just feel different. You are finally seeing things with open eyes as things truly are. The easy conversational style of this book and the impact of Ruiz’s empathy opened my eyes to the love that exists in the world around me, my relationships and my own self in a completely new, compassionate way. It really hit home with me that when you have self-love, external forces cannot compromise your happiness.
This book is like a reverse infection. It spreads from person to person, but the infection is a healing one – medicine for our emotional wounds.