Closer to Love (2023) examines the secrets of forming a deep connection with others. Highlighting the author’s experiences alongside various experts’ theories and concepts, it offers practical wisdom on fostering self-love and romantic love.
Introduction: Transform your love life with self-discovery and practical relationship pointers.
Table of Contents
- Introduction: Transform your love life with self-discovery and practical relationship pointers.
- What is love?
- Building deep connections with others starts with connecting with yourself.
- Work on yourself before entering a relationship.
- Follow these ten rules when in a relationship.
- Learn to face the ugly side of being in a relationship.
- Know when to leave a relationship.
- About the Author
Have you looked around and felt like everyone around you is happily in love?
Your friends are all in long-term relationships. Your brother recently proposed to his significant other. Your neighbors who just got married are moving to a bigger home. And then there’s you, struggling to form genuine connections, let alone develop a happy love life. You keep on searching for the perfect mate, but unfortunately, seem to end up alone every time.
Well, fear not. Because it doesn’t have to be this way forever. Believe it or not, you’re meant to find the right partner. For things to change, you just have to initiate it.
In this summary, you’ll discover exactly what changes you need to do to start creating healthy relationships. And here’s a clue: it begins with yourself.
What is love?
They say love makes the world go round, and in the grand symphony of existence, it takes center stage. But while everyone’s familiar with the word “love,” defining it can prove to be quite a challenge. For Vex King, love can be encapsulated in three concepts: love as an action, love as a vibration, and love as a way of life.
Let’s start with love as an action. Love is an action simply because relationships aren’t built on fleeting feelings, but on ongoing effort. The butterflies will fade over time, and when they do, that shouldn’t be an indication to jump ship and move on to another partner. Instead, that’s the time for you to roll up your sleeves and get working on the relationship. Accept your differences, create special bonding moments, and foster a safe space for each other’s vulnerabilities. No relationship is safe from the occasional storm, but as long as you and your partner put in the work, you can get through the rough patches stronger than before.
Next up, love as a vibration. Sometimes love can feel like a high frequency that comes from within you and is influenced by your thoughts and behavior. When you’re at the love frequency, you’re significantly happier, kinder, and in harmony with yourself. This brings about healthy relationships. Unfortunately, you won’t vibrate at this frequency all the time, so you need to work on staying at that level. Fill your day with positive content, boost your confidence with positive affirmations, and be on the lookout for love in your surroundings.
Finally, when you see love as a way of life, and begin using it as your guide in all that you do, you can create a magical world around you. Start with accepting others for who they are, looking for their best sides, and offering them genuine support. If you always act from your heart, you can never go wrong. However, this shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Make sure to do this every day until choosing love becomes a habit. Remember that as a human, you’re made to receive and give love. Act on that instinct.
Building deep connections with others starts with connecting with yourself.
You can’t give what you don’t have. So you can’t begin to form meaningful connections when you have yet to establish a true connection with yourself. That’s why if you want to experience love in its most authentic form, it’s vital to embark on a journey of self-discovery and self-love first.
When you cultivate love in yourself instead of searching for it in other people, relationships will be easier to handle. That’s because you’ll have a secure sense of individuality. You’ll be able to connect better and attract the right kind of partner for you.
But how do you love yourself? Well, it starts with knowing yourself. If you’re not sure who you are yet, ask yourself guide questions like “What are you looking for in a relationship?”, “What can you offer your partner?”, and “How do you deal with rejection and criticism?” These questions can help you understand what makes you tick and what makes you unique. If you can’t answer them off the top of your head, it helps to evaluate your past and current relationships. They can give you an inside look at what works well for you and what doesn’t.
Knowing yourself means identifying your boundaries, too. Your boundaries are what protect your sense of identity, and without them, you can end up losing yourself in the relationship. Once you lose sight of who you are, you also lose the chance of forming genuine connections with your partner. So make sure you know how to draw the line to give yourself the space you need to thrive.
Apart from knowing yourself, self-love calls for growing closer to yourself, as well. There are a variety of ways to do this. You can start a journal, where you express and reflect on your inner feelings. Hobbies also help you to feel closer to your passions and interests. And don’t forget the value of self-care either, whether that’s physical, mental, or spiritual. By tending to your needs, you’ll be better equipped to build healthy relationships with others.
Work on yourself before entering a relationship.
When Rory’s parents separated, things started changing for him. He was constantly left alone, moving houses all the time, and didn’t have as much stability as before. This put a significant toll on him and how he viewed love. Before he knew it, he was jumping from one girlfriend to the next and struggled to express his emotions openly.
In many different ways, we are all similar to Rory. Our parents may not have separated, but we still carry a past that molded us into who we are now. We are made up of our upbringing, cultural beliefs, gained knowledge, traumas, and hoarded pain from past relationships.
In some shape or form, your past can negatively impact how you build relationships. You may not be able to foster the growth of a connection or even form one at all. You may also be feeling insecure, unworthy, and afraid of being rejected or showing weakness.
However, just because your approach to relationship-building is skewed doesn’t mean you’re bound to be alone forever. You can still create healthy and genuine relationships, and it starts with working on yourself.
So before getting into a new relationship, make sure you get rid of any unwanted emotional baggage first. This includes unhealthy expectations your new partner needs to fulfill, assumptions that your new relationship will end up badly like the last one, and negative emotions like anger and resentment. Practice drawing the cut-off line, the point where your past ends and your present begins. It’s at this cut-off line that you leave behind the things you don’t want to carry into your present and future. When you don’t bring this unhelpful stuff into your new relationship, it will have a better chance to thrive.
It also helps to work on breaking free from damaging attachment styles. These attachment styles were formed from your relationship with your early childhood caregiver, and unfortunately, they are typically detrimental to your current relationships. To unshackle yourself from their hold, you need to be compassionate with yourself. Voice out your emotions instead of tucking them away. Tune into your needs and accommodate them as much as you can. When you can change your destructive behavior, you’re more likely to create lasting relationships.
Lastly, make it a habit to do an assessment after every breakup. Look back at the relationship and note how you contributed to its downfall and how you can do better next time. However, don’t just dwell on the past—the period after heartbreak is also the best time to prioritize self-love and happiness. Focus on your sources of joy, may that be in old hobbies or friends. Leave no room for misery, and know that the right relationship will find its way to you eventually.
Follow these ten rules when in a relationship.
Relationships are so complex that you can’t just jump into one blindly. Just as a ship needs navigation equipment to reach its destination, you and your partner need relationship rules to increase your chances of success.
Vex King outlines ten important relationship rules that can guide you on this journey.
Rule #1. Don’t forget the small gestures. While seemingly insignificant, it’s the little things that help keep your relationship from going stale. Regularly show small gestures of love like sending cute texts or trying out a new hobby together.
Rule #2. Address conflicts fairly. When fighting with your partner, avoid aiming to be right or winning the argument. Instead, be emotionally mature. Practice compassion and fairness.
Rule #3. Keep the intimacy alive. Being intimate doesn’t only mean engaging in physical affection. There’s emotional and intellectual intimacy, too. Nurture intimacy in the relationship by showing appreciation, staying curious about each other, and sharing experiences.
Rule #4. Hold up your end of the deal. A relationship needs two to tango, so make sure you do your part, especially when it comes to the chores.
Rule #5. Discuss difficult topics. At some point in time, your incompatibilities will create a crack in the relationship. Before it completely breaks you apart, have a talk about it.
Rule #6. Don’t compare your partner to your ex, to other people, and to past versions of themselves. Comparisons are disrespectful, and a healthy relationship doesn’t have room for such undermining behavior.
Rule #7. Create a plan. Right from the get-go, you and your partner should talk about what your couple goals are, how would you handle conflict together, and how each of you fit into the other’s future.
Rule #8. Accept your individual differences. No matter how hard you try, you can’t mold your partner to become your ideal of them. They are their own person, and all you can do is embrace that.
Rule #9. Foster friendship. True friends support, respect, and listen to each other. When you treat your partner like how you would your friend, you can be sure that your relationship will go a long way.
Rule #10. Value self-development. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you lose yourself to be one with your partner. Both of you need to cultivate personal growth to help your relationship blossom.
Learn to face the ugly side of being in a relationship.
Not every romantic partner you’ll encounter will be picture-perfect. And try as you may, you won’t be picture-perfect in every romantic relationship, either. Regardless of your emotional or intellectual maturity, you will inevitably exhibit unhealthy behaviors. That’s because you carry triggers developed from your past experiences. When your partner sets off those triggers, you are bound to react in negative ways.
The good news is that you can break the pattern of those unhealthy behaviors, creating a healthy relationship in the process. The first step in doing so is to look inward. What incites your triggers? Where are they coming from? By knowing the root cause of your emotions, you become aware of them and the damage they make to the relationship. This also helps you understand yourself better.
Once you identify your trigger’s root cause and understand why you react the way you do, you’ll be able to regulate your emotion effectively. This involves refraining from reacting to the triggers and instead engaging in rational thinking. Ask yourself whether the other person intentionally triggered you or if it was something completely unrelated to your partner.
In addition to addressing your own triggers, it’s crucial to be mindful of your partner’s triggers as well. Learn what their triggers are and how you can handle them with kindness and sensitivity.
Breaking the pattern of unhealthy behaviors also requires using relational intelligence in your relationship. According to psychotherapist Esther Perel, this is the kind of intelligence that allows you to connect with and trust other people. You can reconnect with your partner by communicating your feelings and needs clearly, giving and receiving support and assurance, and creating a safe space for each other.
Psychologist Joanne Davilla and her colleagues also recommend developing the three skills of insight, mutuality, and emotion regulation to forge healthy connections. Insight stands for self-reflection, where you gain insights into your actions’ effect on the relationship. Mutuality stands for an understanding that you and your partner should meet each other’s needs. And emotion regulation stands for awareness of your feelings and the ability to regulate them in favor of you and your partner.
Know when to leave a relationship.
To be in a relationship is a journey, but sometimes, that journey reaches a crossroads. People change, the love dies out, and the differences are just too big to be ignored. But this should never be seen as a failure. Some relationships are meant to end to teach you valuable lessons you can carry forward. Unfortunately, some remain reluctant to read the signs, unsure when it’s time to let the relationship go. If you find yourself in such a situation, there are several indicators to watch out for.
One glaring sign is when the relationship is already damaging to you. You’re no longer yourself, and you lose your self-esteem in the process, too.
Another indication is when your needs aren’t met. Your partner may be expressing love in a way that doesn’t satisfy your deep emotional needs, or you may be looking for a different kind of experience altogether.
It’s also time to let the relationship go when you’re no longer on the same page. You may not have the same goals anymore, forcing the relationship to stop moving forward.
Additionally, you and your partner might be experiencing serious conflicts that you can’t resolve any longer. According to marriage specialist Dr. John Gottman, there are four types of these conflicts that often lead to breakups. The first is criticism—your partner says offensive remarks targeted at who you are. The second is stonewalling—your partner withdraws and shuts down communication. The third is defensiveness—your partner places the blame on you instead of taking responsibility. Finally, there’s contempt—your partner blatantly belittles you and doesn’t offer support.
If you experience one or multiple of these signs, it’s your cue to start reconsidering the relationship. Ask yourself whether you can still tolerate your significant other’s behavior and work out your issues together.
If the answer isn’t a solid yes, it’s high time to bow out of the relationship. Remember that failed relationships don’t automatically label you as a failure, and it’s okay to leave when it’s really time to do so. Ground yourself in self-love, and you’ll know that being single doesn’t equate to being lonely.
The secret to transforming your approach to relationships is connection: connection with yourself and connection with your partner. To connect with yourself, you need to discover who you are deep down, from your needs and boundaries to your emotional scars and attachment style. Only when you connect and work on yourself will you be able to form genuine relationships.
Once you get into a relationship, you then need to dedicate yourself to connecting with your partner. Learn how to handle their triggers, keep the love burning, and manage conflicts that come your way. Relationships demand ongoing effort, and they will only thrive when you give them consistent care and cultivation.
About the Author
Communication Skills, Sex, Relationships, Personal Development
“Closer to Love: How to Attract the Right Relationships and Deepen Your Connections” by Vex King is a compelling self-help book that provides valuable insights and practical guidance on cultivating fulfilling relationships. Drawing from personal experiences and spiritual wisdom, King presents readers with a roadmap for transforming their approach to love and building meaningful connections.
The book begins by emphasizing the importance of self-love and self-awareness as foundational elements for attracting healthy relationships. King encourages readers to examine their beliefs, values, and behaviors, helping them identify any patterns or emotional baggage that may hinder their capacity to form deep connections. Through various exercises and reflections, he offers tools to cultivate self-acceptance, forgiveness, and gratitude, promoting personal growth and creating a solid foundation for authentic relationships.
King explores the concept of energy and its role in attracting and nurturing fulfilling relationships. He delves into the significance of positive thinking, visualization, and affirmations, showing how these practices can influence one’s energy and vibration to manifest love and attract compatible partners. The author also emphasizes the importance of setting boundaries, communicating effectively, and cultivating healthy habits to ensure that relationships are built on mutual respect, understanding, and support.
Furthermore, “Closer to Love” delves into the power of empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence in deepening connections with others. King encourages readers to cultivate qualities such as active listening, empathy, and understanding, fostering meaningful and authentic interactions. He also delves into the importance of vulnerability and authenticity in building trust and intimacy with loved ones.
In addition to exploring romantic relationships, the book also addresses the significance of cultivating healthy connections with family, friends, and colleagues. King provides insights on resolving conflicts, nurturing existing relationships, and letting go of toxic connections that no longer serve one’s growth.
“Closer to Love” is a well-crafted and insightful book that offers a refreshing perspective on attracting and nurturing healthy relationships. Vex King’s writing style is engaging, accessible, and relatable, making complex concepts easy to grasp and apply in everyday life.
One of the book’s strengths lies in King’s ability to blend personal anecdotes with practical advice. By sharing his own experiences and struggles, he creates a sense of empathy and connection with readers, allowing them to relate to the challenges and triumphs of building fulfilling relationships. This personal touch adds authenticity and credibility to the book’s teachings.
The book’s emphasis on self-love and self-awareness as prerequisites for healthy relationships is particularly noteworthy. King’s approach encourages readers to embark on an introspective journey, examining their past experiences and identifying areas for personal growth. Through a series of thought-provoking questions and exercises, he guides readers towards building a strong foundation of self-acceptance and self-worth, which ultimately attract healthier and more fulfilling relationships.
Another notable aspect of “Closer to Love” is the author’s incorporation of spiritual principles and practices. While the book is not overtly religious, King draws upon universal spiritual concepts such as energy, manifestation, and gratitude. By integrating these principles into the context of relationships, he provides readers with a holistic approach that encompasses both the practical and the metaphysical aspects of attracting and deepening connections.
The book’s organization and structure are well-conceived, with each chapter building upon the previous one in a logical progression. King presents the material in a clear and concise manner, making it easy for readers to follow along and implement the suggested practices. Furthermore, the inclusion of reflection questions and exercises at the end of each chapter encourages active engagement and self-reflection, enhancing the book’s impact and practicality.
If there is one potential limitation of “Closer to Love,” it is that some readers may find the content familiar if they are already well-versed in self-help literature or have explored similar topics before. However, King’s unique blend of personal anecdotes, spiritual insights, and practical advice still offers a valuable and worthwhile read, even for those familiar with the genre.
In conclusion, “Closer to Love: How to Attract the Right Relationships and Deepen Your Connections” by Vex King is an inspiring and thought-provoking book that provides readers with a comprehensive guide to transforming their approach to love and relationships. With its blend of personal stories, spiritual wisdom, and practical exercises, the book is a valuable resource for anyone seeking to attract and cultivate meaningful connections in their lives.