Book notes: Where Should We Begin? by Esther Perel

Where Should We Begin by Esther Perel book review summary and key ideas.

Esther Perel’s Where Should We Begin?: The Arc of Love by Esther Perel

Synopsis:

“For her latest Audible Original, Where Should We Begin?: The Arc of Love, Esther Perel invites you to listen to private and intimate conversations exploring the evolution of relationships.

Hear six sets of people at different points in their quest for romantic and familial love, including a young couple whose immigration status has forced them to consider marriage, a step-mother trying to put the pieces back together for four children whose mother died by suicide, a non-binary child desperate to connect with their single mother, a divorced couple whose two-household relationship may prove that marriage doesn’t have to end after divorce, and more.

Listen and better understand your own relationships through the struggles of these people and Esther’s remarkable insights.” -Audible

Opening thoughts:

I picked up this book because Esther Perel is amazing and I was mind blown by her last book I read Mating in Captivity. I believe this was recommended by Audible and it fit along with my chosen theme for the month of joy, happiness, and empowering voices of women.

Key notes:

  • Technique: “When you do X in situation Y, I feel Z
    • The other person repeats back, not paraphrases, and the first person has to acknowledge if the receiver has accurately communicated it back
    • Then the receiver doesn’t rebuttal, but simply responds with empathy and understanding
  • Not having other friends/connections that are playful, easy, light, and fun will suck the oxygen out of a relationship because you will start to expect everything out of one another
  • Couple 2: A small town affair
  • Couple 3: The other woman
  • Part of what we long for in romantic love is to be unique, indispensable, and irreplaceable to at least one person
  • Couple 4: A romantic revival
  • The stepmom wants to teach her stepkids have to suffer well and fight for life
  • What helps the most is to have meaning
    • The meaning is what allows us to tolerate the pain
  • Couple 5: Mom and Monique

Reader’s note: Wow this is getting pretty intense and emotional. I’m tearing up. It’s about a mom and daughter who never had a real relationship because of her special-needs brother and her mom was so strong that she couldn’t feel like she was able to have feelings or moments of weakness

  • Couple 6: Happily divorced 
  • It is the quality of our relationships that determine the quality of our lives

Main ideas / Themes:

  1. Not having other friends/connections that are playful, easy, light, and fun will suck the oxygen out of a relationship because you will start to expect everything out of one another
  2. Part of what we long for in romantic love is to be unique, indispensable, and irreplaceable to at least one person
  3. The meaning is what allows us to tolerate the pain
  4. It is the quality of our relationships that determine the quality of our lives

Closing thoughts:

I loved this coaching series audio. Such real situations that make it easy to understand, empathize, and relate. Esther is a master at navigating the seemingly complex relationships and distilling it to its core problem. This allows the couple to address and find the appropriate path forward.

As you may have noticed, I didn’t take a lot of notes because a lot of it was just her working through the issues and a lot of digging to find the root of it. There may have been more nuggets of wisdom, but what I got out of it so far was already worth it.

Definitely recommend this listen as the frameworks she applies is really helpful, and the issues the couples face are really universal.

Nutshell:

Relationship and couples therapy guru Esther Perel lets the listener join in on several couple therapy sessions. Here, she addresses the seemingly complex yet universal problems these people face.

Rating:

3.5/5

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