Our experiences with love are both biological and cultural, according to Mandy Len Catron.
Neuro pathways in our brain tell us that love is good but its natural to expect love will be painful and full of suffering. In fact, Cantron explains why evidence suggests that romantic love and mental illness are actually closely connected. So it’s no wonder songs about love describe the crazy state that we “fall” into; we have no control and we do stupid things because we’re in love.
Instead, Cantron suggests we change our cultural expectations about love if we want to be happy in our relationships We need to be more open, assertive and generous. This means we need to create new ideas, metaphors and language about love like George Lakoff and Mark Johnsen did in their 2003 book, The Metaphors We Live By.
Cantron reframes love as a relationship that requires effort, compromise, and shared goals. This language provides more room for all kinds of relationships and love becomes a collaborative work of art. It shifts the power to us, and we decide what love looks like. In this way, every love experience can be different and positive.
Cantron’s insight gives us a chance to pause and consider the many types of love in our lives. Love becomes a creative force that shapes our understanding of self and each other.