Scary Close Book Summary

scary-close

Scary Close by Donald Miller
dropping the act and finding true intimacy

My Thoughts

Good book on relationships, intimacy, love, marriage, parenting and self-reflection. Filled with engaging stories and anecdotes from the author’s life.

The 86th book read in my 2018 reading list.

My Favorite Quotes

  • Few times do we know the impact of a moment while in the moment itself.
  • The time we spend trying to become someone people will love is wasted because the most powerful most attractive person we can be is who we already are. An ever-changing being that is becoming and will never arrive, but has opinions about what is seen along the journey.
  • To love someone is to give them power to hurt you.
  • The greatest leaders have the ability to forgive and even love those that attack them.
  • Love people instead of trying to impress them.
  • If there is no plan the chances of success are limited.

Best Questions

  • What if the people we consider to be great are actually the most broken?
    What if the whole time they are seeking applause they are missing out on true intimacy because they have never learned how to receive it?
  • How else will we connect with people unless we let them know us?
  • What if part of God’s message to the world was you?
  • Does this person have the character and discipline it takes to make a loving relationship work?

We will never feel loved until we drop the act, until we are willing to show our true selves to the people around us.

Chapter 1: The Distracting Noises of Insecurity

It’s better to have someone who is more in love with you than impressed by you.
The author learned to perform less, be himself more, and overcome a complicated fear of being known.
There is something noble about doing little with your life save for offering love to a person who is offering it back.
What if the people we consider to be great are actually the most broken?
What if the whole time they are seeking applause they are missing out on true intimacy because they have never learned how to receive it?
Only a few times in our lives do we get to know, in the moment, the impact of the moment itself.

Chapter 2: You are Good at Relationships

Chapter 3: Everybody’s Got a Story and it’s not the one they are telling

Heroes (in stories) are almost always screw ups.
The strongest character in the movie is the guide (Yoda, etc).
Diagram: circle with “self” inside. Outer circle of “shame.” Outside circle of false self, we create to cover our shame, we think of as our “personality” or the character we need to play. Something we believe will make us lovable: humor, intelligence, etc.

scary-close-diagram

Chapter 4: Why Some Animals Make themselves look bigger than they are

We use our job as part of our identity and our false selves.

Chapter 5: Three things I learned about relationships from swimming in a pond

  1. To be intimate I’d have to jump.
  2. Swimming a little is swimming enough.
  3. There are more lifeguards than sharks.

Those of us who are never satisfied with our accomplishments secretly believe nobody will love us unless we are perfect.
Real love is not conditional.
Our flaws are the ways through which we receive grace.
Those who cannot accept their imperfections cannot accept grace either.
For the most part, other people are not out to get us.
Distrust can bring out the worst in us.

Chapter 6: Performance anxiety in real life

Many of us buy into a lie that we only matter if…
if we are strong or smart or attractive or whatever.
Attraction is not intimacy.

Chapter 7: The people we choose to love

The manipulator is the loneliest person in the world.
We will become a conglomerate of the people we hang out with.
Relationships can be a greater predictor of who we will become than exercise diet or media consumption.
If you want to make a sad person happy start by planting them in a community of optimists.
True intimacy is an acquired taste.

Chapter 8: Control Freak

We become like the people we spend time with.
Relationships matter as much as exercise and nutrition.
To love someone is to give them power to hurt you.
Nobody’s self-worth lives inside of another person.
True intimacy is the one thing we all want and must give up control to get.

Chapter 9: Five Kinds of Manipulators

You will never have a healthy relationship with a deceptive or manipulative person.
Dishonesty is the dominant enemy of every relationship.
Deception in any form kills intimacy.

Five categories of manipulation:

  1. The scorekeeper
  2. The judge
  3. The false hero
  4. The fear monger
  5. The flopper

In true intimate relationships people don’t keep score.
Book recommendation: Safe People

Chapter 10: Lucy in the Kitchen

Manipulative people “train” others by attacking their identity.
The author believes God is a fan of people connecting.
The people with the healthiest self-esteem are also the greatest at intimacy.
A lot of people don’t know how healing they can be to the people around them.

Chapter 11: The Risk of Being Careful

How else will we connect with people unless we let them know us?
How can we be loved if we are always in hiding?
Book reference: The Now Habit
The author learned to preemptively forgive.
The greatest leaders have the ability to forgive and even love those that attack them.

Author’s list of new freedoms to remind himself to never go back to being careful:

  1. I am willing to sound dumb
  2. I am willing to be wrong
  3. I am willing to be passionate about something that isn’t perceived as cool
  4. I am willing to express a theory
  5. I am willing to admit I am afraid
  6. I am willing to contradict something I’ve said before
  7. I am willing to have a knee-jerk reaction, even a wrong one
  8. I am willing to apologize
  9. I am perfectly willing to be perfectly human

The time we spend trying to become someone people will love is wasted because the most powerful most attractive person we can be is who we already are. An ever-changing being that is becoming and will never arrive, but has opinions about what is seen along the journey.

What if part of God’s message to the world was you? The true and real you.
Acting may get us the applause we want, but taking a risk on being ourselves is the only path toward true intimacy.

Chapter 12: Great Parents do this Well

The stuff it takes to be intimate is authenticity, vulnerability and the belief that people are about as good and bad as we are.
Kids with parents who are honest about their shortcomings seem to do better in life.
Environments in which we are encouraged to hide our faults are toxic.
Author is a friend of Paul Young, author of The Shack.
There is a difference between an apology and asking forgiveness. An apology is a statement, but asking forgiveness involves giving power to the person you are seeking forgiveness from.
We don’t have to pretend to be perfect.
I’m hoping my kids will grow up less impressed with me but more connected with me.

Chapter 13: The Stuff of a Meaningful Life

The author believed the lie that people would not love him and unless he was successful.
The author worked a crazy unhealthy schedule that made him famous but was not creating a meaningful life.
Love people instead of trying to impress them.

Author’s new company manifesto:
Our company will exist to help it’s employees dreams come true, to challenge each other within the community in order to better our character and to do this by serving our clients with excellence.

Core values of the company:

  1. We believe we have the power to make one another’s professional dreams come true.
  2. We believe the work we do affects more than just our clients, but also each other.
  3. We believe in grace over guilt.
  4. We believe that anyone can become great if they are challenged within the context of a community.

People want to work for more than just money.
Book reference: Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
Three recommendations to experience meaning in life from Victor Frankl:

  1. Have a project to work on. Some reason to get out of bed in the morning and preferably something that serves other people.
  2. Have a redemptive perspective on life’s challenges. Recognize the ways that difficulty also serves you.
  3. Share your life with another person or people who love you unconditionally.

Frankl calls this “logo therapy.”

Chapter 14: Do men do intimacy differently?

Men move towards whatever makes them feel competent.
Few men feel competent in intimate relationships.
Building Champions coaching company. Author hired a coach from here.
Start with a life plan before a business plan.
What do you want your marriage to look like?
Create a vision for your marriage and relationship. What do you want it to look like five years from now?
All relationships are teleological, meaning they are going somewhere.
Authors marriage core values:

  1. Don’t keep score
  2. Create a home where people can come and be restored
  3. Create a home where they can walk in and feel safe and comfortable
  4. With the money we spend, ask if what we are buying will restore each other or other people

If there is no plan the chances of success are limited.
I am supposed to contribute something to the people around me and create an environment with healthy relationships can flourish.

Chapter 15: You will not complete me

Co-dependency.
Stalking.
Ask, what do I want in a relationship?
Healthy love versus needy love.
Book: Getting the Love You Want
Does this person have the character and discipline it takes to make a loving relationship work?
Do not use relationships to try to fulfill a longing that only God satisfy

Chapter 16: The place we left our ghosts.

We are never going to be perfect in love, but we can get close. The closer we get the healthier we will be.
Love is not a game any of us win, it’s just a story we can live and enjoy.
Our love stories affect the world.

Book Website: http://www.scaryclose.com

My Action Steps After Reading

  • Being more mindful of how to build deeper and more intimate relationships.

 

Hope you enjoyed this and got value from my notes.
Here is my complete list of book summaries.

4 thoughts on “Scary Close Book Summary

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