Love and Relationships

Emotional Intimacy: A Comprehensive Guide for Connecting with the Power of Your Emotions »

by Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D.
Sounds True, Inc., 2013  291 pages

“The more deeply we know our emotions, the deeper and more fulfilling our lives will be.”  — Robert Augustus Masters

Our emotions are a key aspect of our internal guidance system.  They provide essential information about our present experience, and what our inner guidance system is wisely directing us to pay attention to in the present moment.  Yet, often we are unaware of how they are contributing to our present experience because we are not recognizing, sensing or understanding them.  This book is an excellent primer on the nature of our emotions, and how we can experience true intimacy with them in a way that wisely informs our relationships with self and others.   Dr. Masters expertly guides readers through this exploration, illuminating why “relating to our emotions, rather than just from our emotions” is so important.

Written in clear, easily understandable language, the book shares four essential steps for developing emotional intimacy and an excellent guide to each of the primary emotions (fear, collective fear, anger, shame, joy, disgust, surprise, sadness and grief).  Also discussed are additional emotions such as schadenfreude, combination emotions such as contempt and emotional states such as self-doubt. Helpful practices are included that give readers the opportunity to reach a deeper understanding and ability to work with each of these.  The final section of the book guides readers into an even deeper understanding of the emotions and emotional intimacy, including how to work with numbness and collective overwhelm.

Readers may find themselves returning to this wonderful book again and again as a lifelong resource to guide their inner exploration, personal growth, and relationships with others.

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion »

by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
PuddleDancer Press, 1999.   159 pages

In this ground-breaking book, readers will learn the basics of NVC, the model Dr. Rosenberg has taught world-wide that has made a far-reaching contribution in helping people to move from conflict to mutual understanding and compassion.  The NVC approach is clear and straight-forward, helping those who use it learn how to speak and listen free of evaluation, judgment, old stories, and unresolved feelings.  In doing so, it becomes easier to hear whatever is said to you as either a request (“please . . . “) or as an expression of gratitude  (“thank you . . .”).

Dr. Rosenberg sees NVC as more than a process or language of communication.  He calls it “an ongoing reminder to keep our attention focused on a place where we are more likely to get what we are seeking” as others are also respected, heard and attended to.

NVC’s focus on feelings and needs that are universal and promote connection, rather than on beliefs or facts that lead to creating judgments, distinguishes it as an approach that can help to elevate the quality of everyday interactions and relationships.  This dynamic approach “fosters respect, attentiveness and empathy and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart.”

Applicable at home, school, work or anywhere people interact, the NVC approach has proven effective for people of all ages.  Simply and clearly written, this book will give you the tools to begin learning and using Non-Violent Communication in your own life now.

Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness »

By Dr. Fred Luskin
Harper One, 2002.   220 pages

Dr. Luskin believes that every grievance begins with the formation of a story that’s created when something happens that we did not want to occur or something that we wished for does not occur.  As we devote more and more time to thinking about it—what he terms “renting out too much space in our minds”—we set in motion a long-lasting cycle of suffering or unhappiness.

Using real-life examples, Dr. Luskin illustrates how grievances evolve and how repetitive thoughts, interpretations and responses cement them.  He shows how such things as unenforceable rules, expectations we have that we don’t have the power to manifest, ultimately lead to feelings of helplessness, anger, bitterness and more.

In the second half of the book, he explains his view of forgiveness, examines obstacles to forgiveness and takes readers through a clear, step-by-step process for achieving “the feeling of peace that emerges as you take your hurt less personally, take responsibility for how you feel and become a hero instead of a victim in the story you tell.”   This engaging book is a real treasure for those who would like to move beyond old hurts and forgive for good.