Monk turned celebrity self-help guru Jay Shetty on the secrets to love and happy relationships
Jay Shetty is a former monk, who spent three years praying and studying at an ashram in India before becoming a bestselling author and self-help guru with a global following.
A popular and profound user of social media to spread his journey to inner peace, he has a string of A-lister friends including Will Smith and Jennifer Aniston, and he officiated JLo and Ben Affleck’s wedding.
Oh, and he loves Marvel films.
“Pepper Potts and Iron Man are the best Marvel couple, they have to be,” says the 35-year-old, as animated about superheroes as he is about monastic teachings.
Shetty has plenty to say about all things love and relationships. In fact, it turns out he is a romcom fan, too.
“He’s Just Not That Into You has got to be one of my favourite portrayals of love, and 50 First Dates has some great ideas in it,” he says.
“I have always enjoyed romance films and romcoms, but I think sometimes they create unhealthy portrayals of relationships.”
Instead of the picture-perfect, kissing in the rain or enemies-to-lovers narrative we are often presented with in movies, Shetty is eager to talk about what relationships and marriage mean in the real world.
“To me, they mean a commitment to growth with another person. It is saying that we are going to try and work as a team for as long as we can work together, learn from each other, and help each other,” he says thoughtfully.
And that growth should be welcomed warts and all, adds the On Purpose podcaster – whose wife, plant-based nutrition expert Radhi Devlukia-Shetty, is also a social media influencer in the wellness realm.
“There have been moments where it hasn’t been easy and that is the case with every healthy relationship, there will be arguments and debates.”
Getting past this is “about looking at the goals we share as couples”, Shetty adds – something he tries to stick to adamantly in his marriage.
“We resolve conflict by shifting from the topic of argument to what our shared goal is. We are always trying to get to a happy, healthy connection, not necessarily trying to change our views. Remove blame and look at where you want to go,” he says.
All of this has brought him to the creation of his second book – 8 Rule Of Love: How To Find It, Keep It, And Let It Go – the follow-up to his bestselling debut, Think Like a Monk.
Shetty says he is trying to share the message that “love can be created and built intentionally, instead of waited and wished for”.
He continues: “Your partner is your guru, not just about enjoyment but about learning and growth and that is joyful. If we think they are just there for fun and enjoyment, we will be disappointed.”
His wife is his guru, he agrees.
“I love that she is so happy being herself, she is happy being honest with her feelings and emotions, and is very focused on her own values and doesn’t budge on them,” he shares with a smile.
“She is hilarious, and has such a fun energy and everyone loves being around her.”
Having shared much of their adult lives with one another, moving around the world and building businesses alongside each other, they are very public about their affections – and much of the new book focuses on their relationship.
Despite this, Shetty believes every element of a marriage is personal – and one really personal thing for him was their first dance at their wedding.
Sure, he could have chosen his favourite love song – which, he reveals, is All You Need Is Love by The Beatles. But instead, the couple chose to move to a mantra – Hindu prayers – surrounded by friends and family.
The book isn’t only about marriage and romance, though.
“Love is something you can have in more ways than romantic love, all kinds of love matter,” says Shetty, who notes the importance of his relationship with his sister.
“My sister is one of my best friends. She is four-and-a-half years younger than me and is an optometrist in London. She is one of my biggest supporters. I call her kid and am very protective over her and she is kind enough to listen.”
The guidance he has offered his sister over the years about life and love has also influenced the book – which explores how Vedic principles can apply to living happily in the modern Western world. Because for Shetty, these principles are timeless.
“Monastic teachings are universally relevant, they are for humanity and society as a whole, not just for Hindus. Science uncovers a lot of interesting concepts and it is good to parallel those with Hindu teachings.”Despite being friends with the likes of Ellen Degeneres and Shawn Mendes, he says he doesn’t look up to celebrity relationships or idolise what they have.
“I think relationships are hard and complicated – I don’t think I have ever had true relationship role models,” says. Shetty.
“And I don’t think anyone should have those role models, because every person you are with is different.”
8 Rules Of Love: How To find It, Keep It, And Let It Go by Jay Shetty is published by Harper Thorsons, priced £20. Available now. For tickets to Shetty’s UK Love Rules tour in May, see jayshettytour.com/
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