Do you ever wonder how stories―the ones we all get told time and time again in books, film, and TV―have shaped your expectations of love? No matter how self-actualized we are, it’s safe to say that most of us have been imprinted more or less by a few key depictions of love and coupledom from the cultural canon. Romeo and Juliet, for instance, likely has something to do with how most of us expect falling in love to feel (love is rapture! and angst! and spontaneous sonnet writing!), and who among us hasn’t wrongfully interpreted clear signs of emotional unavailability as endearingly aloof personality quirks a la Mr. Darcy.
The degree to which our notions of love (and consequently our behaviors in love) are bound up in stories was underscored for me recently when I came across a fascinating book by Harvard neurologist Edison Miyawaki called What to Read on Love, not Sex: Freud, Fiction, and the Articulation of Truth in Modern Psychological Science. The underlying sentiment here is that stories―if we pair them with introspection―have the power to teach us a great deal about ourselves.
I often meet women who are unaware of the stories they are telling themselves about love. We’ve all got them―expectations for ourselves and others heaped on us from years of watching and re-watching Bridget Jones’s Diary and, more recently, episodes of 30 Rock. I believe that the more cognizant we are about our own stories of love, the more authorship we have in writing the next chapter. It might be interesting to pay special attention to the stories that you read, watch, or hear about love and romance this month, and take a moment to check in with your reactions.
What stories from film, television or literature have left an imprint on you and your view of love? I can think of so many possibilities! Please share in the comments — I’d love to know what they are. Hope your week is off to a wonderful start!
P.S. Whatever stories you identify with, I encourage you to further develop your own story by checking out my upcoming Smart Sexy Soulful Dating™ course. This life-changing course begins in March, and is designed specifically for intelligent, successful women who want to date smart and transform their search for love.