“Love is when two or more hearts build a safe emotional, mental, and spiritual home that will stand strong no matter how much anyone changes on the inside or the outside. It demands only one thing and expects only one thing: that each person be his or her own true self.”
— Neil Strauss
Before you read Neil Strauss’ The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships, let’s agree on something, can we?
Each of us projects our own reality through our own beliefs and set of rules that we use to navigate our perceptions about the world. Our beliefs, whether subconscious or not, are our personal rulebooks for “doing life.” What initially drew me into The Truth, is that the author is neither a professional psychologist or a therapist of any kind, yet he’s doing what he can to let people know that the only true way to change and understand ourselves is to first understand our beliefs.
Strauss takes a no-bullshit approach with the best that manifestation practices and neurolinguistic programming has to offer and asks his readers to take a serious look at how their cemented belief systems are driving their perceptions of relationships with others and themselves.
If you’re new to his work, Strauss went from ghostwriting (he wrote Motley Crue’s memoir, The Dirt) to publishing his own authored, controversial work. The Truth is no less controversial than any of his other titles, but, because of the playboy-style content that came before it, many have been quick to dismiss it, calling it a confessional. (But so what! Research actually shows we relate to and follow the advice of our peers more than our therapists!)
The Truth is essentially a guidebook for confronting uncomfortable questions to propel our relationships forward or dissolve them to make room for new ones. Strauss asks such questions as: Do alternatives to monogamy lead to better relationships and greater happiness? What draws us to the partners we choose? Can we keep passion and romance from fading over time?
In a nutshell The Truth is as such: Man is addicted to sex / Man relentlessly cheats on wife / Man goes to rehab / Man decides to recommit to the love of his life / Man marries the love of his life / Man tells captivating story and offers tons of practical advice and troubleshooting through his own stories in an attempt to search for answers.
It’s definitely not the first guy to tell this common story, but how Strauss tells it, mixed with his sometimes surprising theories on relationships (i.e., it is possible to be in love with more than one person, most relationship problems derive from our families and/or childhoods, and the only way to find love is to create and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself) you’ll likely walk away wanting to be a better person. Better for yourself, better for your family, and better for those around you.
Christine Dionese, co-founder of flavor ID is an integrative, epigenetic health and food therapy specialist, as well as a wellness, lifestyle, and food journalist. She has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. Christine lives, works, and plays with her family in Southern California.
Illustration by: Juliet Romano.