20 Life Lessons From “The Forty Rules of Love” By Elif Shafak

To enjoy the journey of life and beyond…

Life is a series of choices made…

If You Agree,

The novel “The Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak is a magnanimous piece of work that will compel everyone to take a step behind and reconsider the choices and decisions they have ever taken in their lives.

It is true that success can never be measured by the amount of money you make in a lifetime. With its 40 rules, this novel teaches you how to find the right meaning of your existence, which will make your life worthwhile. 

20 Life-Changing Lessons From The Book “The Forty Rules Of Love”

Ella Rubinstein is a woman in her late 30s who has no passion in her life. She has accepted her life without any complaints. She is tired of her life in the same house, with a husband and two children.

She comes across a literary agency where she gets an opportunity to find her lost love for literature. She is given the task to edit a book titled “The Sweet Blasphemy” by the author and Sufi–inspired Aziz Zahara.

The text “The Sweet Blasphemy” is inspired by the great companionship of Shams of Tabrizi and the world-renowned Persian poet Rumi. 

The novel proceeds with Shams of Tabrizi teaching all the valuable lessons he has learned in his life to Rumi, who, later, goes on to etch his name in the genre of poetry. 

These 20 life lessons sum up the gist of this book authored by Elif Shafak.

1. Putting Efforts Is The Most Important Thing

Despite living the life that we want, some of us still feel void. It’s a certain emptiness within that can’t be defined in words. It is the result of life without passion. 

Some of us, even after knowing that the life we are leading is meaningless, refuse to make efforts to improve it. The novel teaches us that we are the masters of our lives. 

To bring happiness, peace, and satisfaction to our life, we need to feel responsible for it and keep putting effort. Without effort, adding meaning to life will be impossible. 

2. Love Is Not Just About Lovers Or Life Partners

Love is the most underrated and overrated emotion in the world: underrated in terms of its knowledge and overrated in terms of its perception. The novel interprets the idea of love in the most amazing way.

The book shows the importance of having a teacher, a companion, or a friend in life. Having such a person in our life is a divine feeling. Rumi was clueless about love in this novel until he finds a companion and a teacher in Shams of Tabrizi, who changed his life.

The companionship in this novel highlights the true meaning of love in the world. It tells us that love is beyond relationships or marriage. The definition of love is divine, spiritual, and universal.

3. You Should Be Open To Changes In Your Life

The novel explains to us that rigidity or refusal to change or accept anything new will bring hatred and unhappiness within and around us. 

The novel teaches us that life shouldn’t be filled with rules and regulations. A person should be able to accept love, knowledge, and other people in their life. 

A person should not only know how to embrace newness but should be very determined to come out of the bubble in which ordinary life is compelling them to stay inside.  

4. Patience Is A Very Important Virtue

Patience is considered to be a fundamental virtue in this novel. It explains that losing patience is the easiest thing to do in this world. But, maintaining our calm and working towards our goal is the most difficult thing to do.

The true meaning of patience is farsightedness, which means trusting the end of the process. It means waiting and knowing that the crescent moon is going to turn into a full moon. 

To achieve greatness, one needs to practice and achieve patience in every aspect of their life. Without patience, our life will be nothing but a big mess.

5. Life Is A Roller-Coaster Ride

We might not always experience what we want to. Life is full of surprises. Some make you happy and some make you melancholic. But, the secret to a fulfilling life is to accept all the surprises with a smiling face. 

This novel emphasizes a carefree spirit, leaving all the worries, and being stress–free. If you focus on positive vibes, more positive things in the universe will be on your course.  

6. How To Find Powerful And True Relationships In Life

This novel is like a quest for finding the true purpose of life. Finding the true purpose of life is through connecting yourself to God and finding love. 

The novel teaches us how to find true relationships and love in our life. In multiple instances, it is mentioned in the novel that if any relationship has a positive impact on your life or has the capacity to change you, then it is as pure as God. 

Hence, if there’s the power of love, power of impact, and the power to change in any relationship, then that kind of relationship will be divine. 

7. Importance Of A Spiritual Quest

The novel talks about how a person is very active, energetic, and vibrant in his 20s and how he only thinks about having a good time. In his 30s, a person aims for a settled and secluded life. It is only in the 40s that a person starts looking for spirituality. 

It highlights that this time which marks the onset of a spiritual quest in someone’s life is the most impactful and life-changing. This quest will give you wisdom and knowledge for a lifetime. We should happily embrace it.

8. Listen To Your Heart 

The novel teaches us that the solution to every problem we face in our life lies within ourselves. We just need to believe in ourselves and listen to our hearts. 

In this fast-paced world and lifestyle, we tend to be too practical and never listen to what our heart actually wants. This is the root cause of most of the problems we face. 

It is very basic. Everyone knows about it but only a few follow. This is why it becomes so important to emphasize it.

9. How To Change Our Perception Toward Life And People

Love, according to the novel, is an antidote to most of the problems in the world. If we choose to treat people with love and respect, we will automatically change our perspective of others.

The novel talks about a drunkard and how Shams of Tabrizi chose love to change the drunkard’s life. The world hated that drunkard, but Shams chose love to show him the right path. 

This shows how nothing else but love can change a person’s life. 

10. Always Be Grateful

The novel teaches us to trust God no matter what. It tells us that when every door to life is closed, trust God to open a new one for you. With trust comes gratitude, which is the most important quality of life. 

It is very easy to be thankful when everything is fine. One should not just be thankful to God for everything that he has given to you, but also for things they have been denied. 

Gratitude for even the tiniest things in our life will make our life truly happy. 

11. Importance Of Hardships In Life

Hardships are the connecting path of life to success. Without crossing them, one can never achieve what they are meant to.

A midwife knows that if there’s no pain, then the way for the baby to come out cannot be opened, and the mother can never give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardships are inevitable. 

Without heat, clay can’t be molded. Likewise, without hardships, a person cannot achieve what he is truly capable of. 

12. Beware Of Fake People In Your Journey

The book tells us that there are more fake people in this world than the stars in the sky. Hence, you must know how to differentiate between right/wrong and true/false.

A genuine soul will direct the way to your heart and will let you focus on your inner self. These people are as transparent as glass.

Hence, we should not consider power–driven and self–centered people as our role models and be aware of the reality of their fake personalities. 

13. We Should Accept Everyone With Their Flaws

Each and every person is God’s creation. Hence, we should love each and every one as no one is unblemished or infallible. Everyone has a set of flaws. If we don’t accept the imperfections of people, we will never have happiness and peace in our life. 

There is no wisdom without love and acceptance.

Quoting from the book, “Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can neither truly love nor know God.“

14. The Real Devil Is Inside Us

The book beautifully explains that a devil is not an external entity that attacks you; but, is an ordinary voice within us. 

If we accept our reality with honesty and sincerity and know both our bright and dark sides, our souls will reach a supreme level of happiness and self–consciousness. 

If one truly knows himself, only then can he have the knowledge and capacity to know God.

15. The Concept Of Hell And Heaven

The world in general has portrayed the picture of hell and heaven in a very bad way. 

According to the book, it’s very easy. Hell and heaven both exist at this very moment. If we treat someone with kindness, love, and respect, it is heaven. If we treat someone with hatred and envy, it is hell.

Hence, hell and heaven are not “afterlife” concepts, but concepts that must be applied in this life in reality. 

16. Practice Compassion

According to the novel, the universe is a single entity, and we all are interconnected like a web. Hence, it becomes really important to practice compassion and make sure that you never cause harm intentionally.

The quote “One man’s joy will make everyone smile. One man’s pain will hurt us all,” goes on to explain that the entire universe is one.

17. Always Be Careful Of Your Words

Never gossip behind someone’s back, because your words do not just vanish, they stay in this infinite space and create negative energy in the world. These words are gonna come back to you one day.

Gossiping and talking ill about someone is a vicious deed filled with negative energy. Instead of this, we should try and appreciate that person for 40 days and look at how things change between us and them.

18. Don’t Put Everything On Destiny

People have derived the meaning of things according to what pleases them. Thinking that everything is predestined and leaving it entirely to destiny is called irresponsibility and ignorance.

You can’t leave everything to fate and stop putting in the effort. You have to sync yourself to the music of the universe and keep working, without thinking about the results.

Destiny can be considered as the instrument you are given to play with. But, how well you play that instrument is solely in your hands.

19. Always Stay Grounded No Matter What 

Every person wants to achieve something and become someone. They work toward it and eventually achieve it. But, we must always remember that everything is temporary. 

We are like pots. We can decorate ourselves as much on the outside; but on the inside, we are empty, and we should always remember that materialistic things like success, fame, and wealth aren’t going to last long. 

Hence, one should always be kind and grounded.

20. Always Believe In Karma

The book assures that no action in this world will ever go unreciprocated. If someone is laying a trap for you, then, remember that God is laying a bigger trap for them. God is the ultimate and the biggest plotter of this universe. 

Always be careful of your actions because, sooner or later, it’s gonna come back to you.


These are 20 life lessons that beautifully summarize the message of the novel “The Forty Rules Of Love” by Elif Shafak.

These rules not only teach us the right way of living life but also, the easiest and the most practical way to stay connected to the supreme entity of this universe.

Next time you are in doubt or suffering from anxiety or emptiness, go through these rules of love once again.


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