Seeker Tools: The Best of Relationships

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A new series! Seeker Tools highlights the best-of-the-best resources for living a more spiritual, mindful, healthy, fulfilling, conscious life. They’re my favorite books, podcasts, videos, etc. for personal growth and self development.

And because it’s almost Valentine’s Day… whether you celebrate to the hilt, or totally despise the holiday, we can all agree that we want more love in our lives, whether that’s our relationships with ourselves or others.

One of my favorite, favorite things ever is the work of Esther Perel, a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships. She asserts that “the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives,” and boy, is she right. Her work has been profoundly impactful for me, and I love sharing her amazing resources with others.

A lot of Esther’s work focuses on romantic relationships and sexuality. She has an amazingly nuanced, thoughtful, non-black-and-white way of illuminating the complexity of romantic relationships. I first read her book, Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, which I highly recommend. At its core, it deals with the tension in our modern relationships between our need for safety, security, stability, our “best friend / partner in crime” in our romantic partnership, with the simultaneously need for eroticism, keeping things sexy, desire, and excitement. Those two things are kind of at odds, and Esther explores that tension masterfully.

If you want a quick introduction to Esther and her work around this, listen to her TED talk, “The secret to desire in a long-term relationship.” Totally brilliant and thought-provoking.

If you go down the Esther Perel rabbit hole like I did, she has other amazing resources, including another TED talk about infidelity, a podcast on Audible called “Where Should We Begin,” where she lets the listener in on some very candid and real relationship conversations with real couples, a Youtube channel with short but wisdom-packed videos, a website with blog articles, and a second book called The State of Affairs. All outstanding.

One of the secrets to good relationships is that we don’t just find the right person, couple up, and live happily ever after. Learning how to have a good, fulfilling relationship is work, but it is also skills we can learn and implement. Esther’s work is incredible for becoming more “relationship literate.”

So here’s to celebrating deep, complex, fulfilling relationships. AND, because that includes our relationship with ourselves, a look back at what self-love really means (hint: it’s more than just bubble baths and face masks).

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