Let’s Change How We Talk About Love

Could changing how we talk about love make it easier to find? Writer Mandy Len Catron thinks so.

Catron’s writing focuses on love. Shecollects love stories and has a new book coming out, How to Fall in Love with Anyone, that busts romantic myths and looks at what truly fosters a healthy, long-term relationship.

The words we use totalk about love shape how we view and what we expect from our relationships. In this fascinating TEDxSFU talk, Catron looks at the common words we use to describe love and suggests some alternative ideas that could just make us happier in our relationships.

How We Talk About Love

What are some of the words we use to describe love?

  • falling
  • struck
  • crushed
  • swoon
  • smitten

These descriptors are cartoony, and Catron suggests that they set us up to feel out of controlwhen it comes tostarting new relationships. Sheargues that these words set us up to see love asviolence or an illness that happens to us, theunwitting bystander.

In the talk above, Catron shares her own story of dramatic romance. She uses this story to dive into the history of and science behind how we talk about love, and she offers suggestions forhow we can take control of our relationships by taking control of the words we use to describe them.

She describes a kind of feedback loop, where our language about love reinforces the highs and lows of our relationships.Falling in love or going through a breakup do cause chemical changes in our brains,which we can’t necessarily control. What we can control is the language we use to describe those feelings. Changing our language breaks that unhealthy loop.

What we need to do, according to Catron, isalter our expectations about love. And she thinks that using more active language to describe romanceis a powerful tool. What if, she suggests, “instead of falling in love, we stepped into love?”

Suddenly, we are the ones in control.

This idea of changing culture by changing languageis inspired bythe book, Metaphors we Live By, by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. In their book, theyoffer anotherway to describe love: “a collaborative work of art.” A collaboration doesn’t happen to us. We participate in it. We have goals and make compromises. This way of looking at love treats it like a marathon, not a sprint.

Catron argues that thisway of looking at love isn’t just healthier, but it’s more inclusive. Art, by nature, is flexible. A collaboration can be long-term, if the collaborators have that goal in mind. But collaborative love can alsodescribe a fling, a polyamorous relationship, an asexual relationship, or any other kind of relationship under the sun, as long as everyone involved is on board and working together.

These are the words Catron suggests we use to describe thisactive, collaborative way of looking at romantic relationships:

  • aesthetic
  • unpredictable
  • creative
  • disciplined
  • demanding

She also encourages us toembrace that every relationship is different.

Our culture teaches us that love has to look like the love stories we see in the movies and on television, but real relationshipsdon’t tend to play out like they do on the screen. According to Catron, changing the words we use to describe love make room for us toform healthier relationships on our own terms.

Related at Care2

Could changing how we talk about love make it easier to find? Writer Mandy Len Catron thinks so.

Images via Thinkstock.

60 comments

John B
John B3 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo Reeson4 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo Reeson4 months ago

ty

SEND
Jim V
Jim Ven4 months ago

thank you

SEND
Jim V
Jim Ven4 months ago

thank you

SEND
Jerome S
Jerome S4 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jerome S
Jerome S4 months ago

thanks

SEND
Louise R
Louise R4 months ago

Thank you

SEND
Ramesh B
Ramesh B4 months ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Jerome S
Jerome S4 months ago

thanks

SEND