I’m in love. And thus think about love quite often. Actually, I was thinking about love more before I met my man. Now I think about communication skills, and vulnerability, and what time I’ll be home from work so we can cuddle on the couch.
At the beginning of this year Mandy Len Catron wrote this article that quickly went viral. (It’s great, check it out). I read it and loved it, thus when I saw she’d given a TED talk I immediately watched it (so worth watching). I found it fascinating so reached out to Mandy on Twitter, keen to ask her questions on love. After all, what else could be more fun to talk about?
Here are the nuggets I took away from my interview with the generous and friendly Mandy Len Catron.
Metaphors of love
We have many mainstream metaphors of love that are limiting. For example; ‘love struck’, ‘crushed’, ‘lovesick’. These all suggest love is some fated thing that happens to us and is out of our control, not something we create. Mandy shared an alternate metaphor she loves: ‘love is a collaborative work of art’. I LOVE this!
It’s so important to state what your needs are. (For example I never realised bathroom towels staying off the floor was important to me until my boyfriend let them touch). Mandy and I discussed how we struggle to be demanding — ‘I don’t want to nag’, ‘it’s not really that important’ *grinds teeth in frustration*, ‘it’s silly of me to want that’. But viewing love as collaborative work of art makes being demanding easier. It reminds us that love is something two people make; it’s not giving and receiving, it’s ‘let’s make this beautiful connection and experience together’. And when you’re building something that’s going to last, the foundations need to be good. Your needs need to be met. Your desires need to be voiced. So voice them — even the little ones that feel silly to talk about. Make sure his and your needs are being met. (Which includes your love languages).
What is vulnerability, actually? When I asked Mandy about her journey with vulnerability, her reply taught me a lot. She shared that when she was younger she used to see vulnerability as needing to voice every feeling she had. She had this idea that her life was good and interesting if it was full of drama, and expressing every little feeling of annoyance or uncertainty was the right thing to do. But now she’s realised that vulnerability doesn’t always mean expressing — it can mean sitting with an emotion, too. Rather than reacting, taking a moment to sit with the emotion inside, and then asking questions to understand your partner better — their motivations and reasons for saying or doing what just transpired. As Mandy concluded, ‘it’s more empathetic and generous.’
What are your thoughts on love? What from the interview resonated with you most?
Originally posted on November 25th, 2015, on medium.