AUTHOR: ANIMA MUNDI
PHOTOS: NINA ĐURĐEVIĆ
Bruno Šimleša, a Croatian author of the most read books of popular psychology.
He based his positive attitude on his personal well-being, and on discovering the main questions of life. A charming, funny, conscientious and positive approach to the themes concerning life matters gives him an opportunity to answer all of the life’s questions simply, easily, but with a great wisdom. He is a sociologist, truth seeker, and a psychologist. His novel “Loveology” is a bestseller on the Balkan’s market. His books do not offer instant solutions, but practical tools which help us to have a healthy relationship towards ourselves and others.
How much love we all need? “Never too much of love”, says he in the book.
I think that none of us can be happy if we do not love. Love is something that fulfills us with a sense of meaning and purposefulness. Only when we love, do we know why and what we are made for. However, have in mind that I do not narrow love down only to romantic love. She is an important face of love, but is only one of the faces of love. And it is sad when we experience all other kind of love as a comforting reward. For example when somebody asks you how your love life is going, and we answer something like:”I don’t have anybody special, but at least I love my kids…”
For me it is desperate when words such as „at least“ and „love“ find one next to each other, for love is always a life’s reward. Always! Love towards everyone and everybody. Love towards children, friends, nature, God, art, freedom… All of these are kinds of love that deserve to be fully celebrated and they can teach us to love, and with all of them or hearts can be worth of love.
So, romantic love does not represent a crown of our love relationships, but only one of the jewels of love. What differs this kind of love from all other love relationships is the complexity – it is the most complicated one, because the level of wrong expectations is the highest exactly in such relationships. This is exactly why our heart can learn that it is worth of love even through other, simpler relationship forms.
Do we know how to love? What is love, and what is not? How to free ourselves from a belief that we are not worth of love?
We give a name “love” to many different things. If somebody has strong feelings for us, or if somebody is extremely possessive, we think that this is so because that person loves us. We will even name jealous relationships “love”, or, if we like somebody. But these have nothing to do with love.
If you think that your partner is perfect, you do not love him/her for sure. This is a liking which is followed by an idealization of a partner. From all those powerful emotions, your brain melts, and then you see in your partner only what you want to see. Perfect people and perfect relationships do not exist. You can love your partners only if you notice that they possess certain flaws, but are so drawn and thrilled by the virtues and relationship commitment, so you can, with a clam stomach and a heart filled, accept that there are certain flaws, too.
I believe that we can teach ourselves that we are worth of love. It would be great to have received this feeling from our parents, but for the majority of people who haven’t, it is their responsibility to learn their heart how it is to love and to be loved. To start with, it would be enough to cherish all love relationships in our lives. All of them. As if they were the main reward of our lives. For they exactly are that!
In the era of technology and Internet, when it seems that the world is at our fingertips, there are less and less sincerity, dedication and commitment. What kinds of changes happen in people, but also in relationships between people in this modern age?
I think that we are more prone to idealizing a romantic love. Romantic comedies have infected us with the idea that it is sufficient only to meet the right person, and that everything else would simply fall into its own place. And since we represent ourselves in the best light on social networks, it is easier to gain a false sense of the simplicity of relationships
People often think that they have done enough if they marry and then stop trying to improve their relationships As if they did not know that they have to constantly get to know each other all over again, seduce and please their partners in order to be happy, because the goal is not to be in a marriage, but to be in a good marriage, and we need to make an effort to accomplish that.
You are a truly happy man. How did you accomplish that?
I am happy because I am the person that I wanted to become. I have dear people around me. People with whom I am myself. I have got a wonderful family, a few true friends, and jobs that I enjoy in. Writing books is something I like the most, but I also like writing for newspapers, doing promotions and lecturing, meeting the readers.
However, nothing was easy to accomplish. I had to make a great effort to succeed in putting that theory of life that I understand well, into practice. The majority of us know what we should do, but we lack the courage or wisdom or persistence to do exactly that. For this reason, behind me have been a number of years of making efforts, reviewing, dealing with my own weaknesses, learning from my successes, but also from my failures. Of course, I am still learning, but I believe that I have learned extremely well all of the basic lessons of life!
How does a family in the 21st century look like?
It is less important how a family appears to be from the outside and far more important how it feels from the inside. I do not think that only a mother a father and children make a picture of a perfect family. Sometimes perfect families have only one parent, and sometimes, due to different circumstances, children can be brought up by their grandparents, or relatives. I think that people of the same sex can make a healthy family. It is not important how a family looks like form the outside. It is more important that family members treat each other with respect, to try to understand and support each other! This is how a healthy and happy family is created!
According to the book „The school of life“ how many steps to happiness are there and which are the tools for reaching happiness? We create the reality that we want to live in
There are 673 steps, exactly that many!
I am joking, of course. Each of us has a different read to happiness, but there are some tools that can help everybody. In the book “The school of life” I talk about 5 tools of heart and 5 tools of mind which can help us to strengthen ourselves and transform us into mature and healthy persons. One of the most important is to develop a healthy relationship towards our own virtues. Namely, the majority of people take for granted what is good inside of them, and they primarily focus on their flaws, thus acquiring an unrealistic sense of themselves. Therefore, we must develop a healthy self-respect and a sense of own value, so that we can start to experience our virtues with gratitude and proud! In this way we are going to have more power, energy, and wisdom to deal with and solve our own flaws.
Working on ourselves is a hard work. How can we reach authenticity? What is the most important thing in that process?
The most important thing is to discover that you deserve love and to insist on it in relationships. Many people accept to be in a relationship in which they are not respected enough, and that is because they do not know that they are worth much more!
I do not say that that is simple, and I do not have basic three steps to accomplish that because our psyche and reality are not at all so simple and banal. If somebody gives you recipes for life that sound too good to be true – that is exactly like that, they are indeed too god to be true. To be happy is demanding and obstacles do not exist!
We can realize everything we want – is that really so?
No, those are spiritual nonsense. You cannot fly, you cannot change other people even if you want to, you cannot even change yourself just because you wish to do so in an amount of time you have imagined.
Of course it is important to want to make a change. It is even important to visualize success, but the road to success is often a path strewn with thorns.
What is your next step in life?
I want the books to come alive even outside of the borders of our region. I want to continue to be a dedicated father and to have a healthy family. I do not make too many distinct plans, because it has been shown that the universe is much more imaginative than me, so what is important to me is to be my own and authentic, so I do what I truly enjoy, and how that is going to turn out in the end – well, I have no idea!
What about your attitude towards life? How do you celebrate life?
I celebrate it through love and dedication. I do not take life for granted on the contrary; I try to use every moment and opportunity. I try to squeeze the essence out of all my experiences.
I do not experience abundance through material reality, although I am happy that I can live from writing books. But I consider myself rich because I know how to love, I have got a beautiful daughter and a wife, I have got a few friends, and an inexhaustible will for life. This year my goal was to create more free moments and to fully enjoy my free time. I, indeed, consider myself a wealthy person because I accomplish my goals!