All About Love by bell hooks [Book Summary – Review]

It starts when we’re kids. The media, fairy tales, the romantic tales of older family members– all teach us the exact same thing: that love possesses the influence to transform our lives for the good. However, in this present word, love looks to be absent – many people feel skeptical about it, and as a culture, our concentration is more on power and materialism. But, it hasn’t prevented a lot of us from carrying on to search for love, even though we do that hopelessly. 

However, the issue isn’t that love is difficult to find; the problem is that we don’t actually understand the meaning of love in the first place. 

In these book chapters, you’ll find out about the mistakes not only in our ideas of what love is; however, also in what we anticipate to get from it and how we search for it. You’ll get the understanding to rebuild your knowledge of love and change your method to it moving forward – from family connections to the relationships you have with yourself as well as other people. 

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Chapter 1 – We have to transform our definition of love.

What’s a subject all of us are conversant with, one that can be seen in the films we watch, the books we read, and the songs we sing along to? If you’re thinking It is love, then you’re exactly right. However, in spite of being surrounded by depictions of, and beliefs about love, many of us have a flawed knowledge of what it is precise. This makes finding love in our own lives  very much difficult

We have a tendency to consider love as a powerful affection for romantic partners, friends or family. But, the issue with concentrating on that feeling is that we disregard the decisions and deeds that are required for love to really thrive. In some instances, this importance on the feeling even makes us disregard or excuse deeds that are obviously lacking love. Think about the fact that a lot of people who are treated badly in relationships claim that they love their partners and vice versa. 

This idea that we’re loved even when we’re actually being hurt isn’t just related to romantic relationships; we really learn it as children. A lot of parents punish their children with physical punishment or by yelling while still claiming that they love them. Due to this, children turn into adults who believe that it’s acceptable for those who claim to love them to maltreat them.

If we wish to really understand love, we have to know it not only as a feeling; however, as also a verb. The author proposes a definition shared by a lot of psychologists and theorists before her: that love is the active nurturing of spiritual development in ourselves as well as other people. 

When we consider love in this manner, we begin searching for acts of love that we can do–instead of depending just on feelings – and we form a society that’s less accepting of mistreatment and neglect in any form of relationship. 

Chapter 2 – Our culture promotes dishonesty and celebrates materialism, making it hard for us to feel love. 

Assuming you’re setting up an online dating profile. You’ve got a perfect image next to every one of your fascinating hobbies, and now you need to write your features. What are the probabilities that you’ll describe yourself as a person who lies? Small, right? 

We’ve been brought up with the idea that lying isn’t right–however, weird enough when we talk about to relationships, our society really promotes men and women to lie to one another. 

In this patriarchal world, men are given more power than women and are required to be dominant. This dominance gives them the ability to violate the rules and standards without any consideration for the repercussions, which eventually supports them to lie easily. Men have usually lied to the author, in endeavors to conceal their feelings or evade confrontation and obligation. 

Also, Patriarchy as well makes women lie. Rather than making use of dishonesty to acquire power, women lie for them to be loved or to receive what they want from men. Consider how frequently women are urged to change their look in order for them to be seen as “attractive.” Or how some women dumb themselves down or act to be weaker than they are since they think that being clever or independent will threaten possible partners. 

For both males and females, lies make it hard to trust. So when there’s no trust, it’s difficult to build the actual connections that let love to thrive.

Another means that our culture has made it very difficult for people to feel love is by promoting greed and stressing the significance of material possessions. Thoughts of success and happiness spread by the media say to us to use and search for immediate gratification regularly. We wish to have more money, larger houses, and the current gadgets – and we want them now.   

Unluckily, this greed spills over into our relationships. We eventually end up treating people like objects, neglecting them if they don’t instantly meet our needs, and then proceeding to the following person. Love, which needs time and devotion, can’t grow in this context.

But, fortunately, it’s possible to transform our way to life and, as a result, to relationships.

Rather than usually attempting to gain more and meet our own needs at the cost of others, we can learn to live just by concentrating on sharing resources and practicing compassion toward the people that surround us.

Chapter 3 – Self-love, as well as spirituality, are the basis for loving relationships with other people and the wider world.

How often have you heard that people have to love themselves first before they can love another person? This advice is repeated time and again by well-meaning family and friends family, psychologists, and self-help books. The reality is that all of them have a point. 

When we love our own selves and sustain our own development, that is the only time we can do the same for other people. This sets the stage for helpful relationships. But, self-love isn’t a thing that we’re born understanding how to do; we need to work to learn self-love.

The first step toward achieving self-love is admitting any negative emotions and any low self-esteem you might have about yourself, and also knowing where they came from. Perhaps, you had a parent who was always judgmental, or you were raised thinking that something was wrong with your body. In spite of what the problem might be, as soon as you understand the cause of the negativity, you can begin countering it with affection and self-care.

Self-love isn’t just the only element you require for you to feel loving relationships. Also, you have to learn how to give care and affection to the people that surround you. One method to do that is by accepting spirituality. 

Even though a lot of people associate spirituality with religion, this doesn’t need to be like that. Spirituality teaches that we all of us are related by something bigger than ourselves – some people may refer to this God or basically a higher consciousness. When we give love to ourselves as well as others, we are honoring that connection.

Honoring this connection to other people sets us in a good position to lead lives that are directed by the values of love. This entails prioritizing fostering encounters and relationships with all the people we encounter and being really courageous to connect our values with our deeds. 

Consider, for instance, men who think that that domestic violence is not right; however, who aren’t ready to defy the patriarchy that allows it, as this would entail losing some of the rights and benefits that they relish under that system. The only time we can form a more loving society is if we are ready to accompany our loving and spiritual beliefs with deeds.

Chapter 4 – The feeling community in the manner of friendships and family teaches us how to love.

If you were told to write down your family members, where would you begin and end? The majority of the people only consider their nuclear family, which means their parents and any siblings. The reason is that society has a tendency to put emphasis on the nuclear family while disregarding extended family – the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and so forth, who create a community that all of us born into. 

Communities are perfect places to learn how to love. By ignoring the community of extended family, we reduce the probabilities of children feeling love. In remote nuclear families, women might begin to rely just on their husbands, whereas children become completely dependent on their mothers. This forms a place where abuse, as well as negligence, can happen unchecked.

Expanding our understanding of family to take into account extended kin makes it very likely that we’ll have others to depend on for love and care, even though we don’t get these in our nuclear families. While growing up, the author underwent this circumstance. Even though her family was dysfunctional and she was usually shamed and embarrassed, having a caring grandfather offered her hope and revealed to her that families could be places of love.

Not every one of us is fortunate enough to have extended family members– and though we do have them, it’s not usually the case that the connections we have with them are loving ones. But, this doesn’t signify that we can’t get the nurturing advantages of the community. Good friendships are a different method to form community and feel love beyond our family homes; also, they teach us how to respect one another and handle out issues. 

Use a minute to ponder on your closest friends, the friends you’ve known for several years. You’ve most likely had your fair share of disputes and conflicts; however, you’ve learned how to handle them and get back to a place of care and understanding. These relationships can direct how you handle every other relationship with romantic partners, family members or new acquaintances.

Chapter 5 – Shared growth with honesty, communicating and sharing, is at the heart of love.

Assuming you’re drinking coffee with a friend, and the subject of relationships appears up. You question your friend what they require in a partner. They talk about how they’d want to be treated and describe what they’d wish for their partner to do for them. 

Although it is reasonable to expect to gain something in our relationships, we usually concentrate on this and disregard another significant aspect: the fact that we as well need to give. All of us require to get things such as attention, affection, time and care. Also, when partners give to one another generously in order for both of their needs to be met, there is mutual growth and caring in the relationship. 

Sadly, mutual growth in relationships can be hard in our since we are often taught that men and women have certain duties. The author makes use of her own personal relationships to show this. During one of her relationship, her partner thought that a woman’s duty was to nurture and care for him just as his mother did. In a different relationship, her partner started depending on sexist gender roles to make him feel more dominant and masculine. 

In both situations, she never got the love she was searching for. The partners of the authors had not been trained that they had to give love, just that men and women had to act in certain manners.

Carelessly following these gender roles hinders both sexes from having loving relationships; leaving these ideas and deciding to learn how to love is a significant step for every one of us. Ironically, one way past gender roles might be to accept one of them –since women are brought up to be nurturing, giving and caring, giving, they can guide men to love. However, this just works when men are ready to accept that they have to learn how to love and are capable to prioritize their partners’ wants in the same manner they prioritize their own. 

Chapter 6 – Trusting that romantic love is not a thing we have power over and that it should be easy forms unrealistic expectations. 

When last did you watch a rom-com, or read a romance novel – the past few weeks? A few years ago? Whichever one, you’re most likely conversant with the typical storyline: boy meets girl, and they mysteriously fall in love – neither has any influence over the circumstances.

The notion that we don’t decide who we love doesn’t only occur in romcoms and books; a lot of people assume their own romantic relationships to function in that manner. However, accepting this lack of power hinders us from being intentional in love; it hinders us from taking the time to understand what we require in a partner and what we can give back to that partner in return. Being particular in our romantic relationships offers us a better chance of selecting partners who are appropriate for us, and with whom we can grow. 

Trusting that we have no decision when we talk of romantic partners isn’t the only idea that’s jumped off the screen and into our lives. Also, many people look for the passion and comfort of most romantic relationships portrayed in the media, confusing those things for love and feeling saddened when they don’t last long. 

Assuming two people meet each other and get attracted to each other instantly. The start of their relationship is easy and filled with happiness. Ultimately, they begin to actually get to know one another and are met with imperfections and problems. Maybe one of them has insecurities from their childhood, or maybe the other person has a problem with being opened and communicating. However, love has to be easy, right? Therefore, instead of dealing with these problems, the pair leave the relationship and decide it just wasn’t meant to happen. 

This way hinders love from forming. True love can only be experienced if we see one another for who we really are and devote to doing the work of growing with each other– even when it’s hard and not as we see in the movies.

All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks Book Review

Having really loving relationships is a situation of being ready to kindly do acts of respect, compassion, kindness, and nurturing for everyone – ourselves as well. When we do these things, we don’t just enhance our interpersonal relationships; we also begin forming a society whereby everybody is valued and cared for as well.

Make an attempt to form a community anywhere you are.

Anywhere you see yourself, begin spreading kindness or greetings to people you don’t know. Show appreciation to people that are around you. These little; however, significant actions build bridges, and as such, they’re first steps in relating with other people and forming a community.

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Savaş Ateş

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