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Mandy Catron: A Better Way To Talk About Love

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Awakin Call With Mandy Catron

This morning I had the pleasure of hosting an insightful Awakin Call with Mandy Catron, beautifully moderated by Alyssa! Mandy is the author of the popular NY Times article, "To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This" and How to Fall in Love with Anyone: A Memoir in Essays. In her TEDx talk, Mandy shares, “falling in love is the easy part.” Beyond that, the longer journey of staying in love is a deliberate process, one that implies a process of revisiting regularly what it means to practice love. Below are a few more reflections and wisdom nuggets that Mandy shared with us!

"My favorite word is "text" or "texture", which is derived from the Latin word textura which means to "to weave"..I like to think about a piece of writing as something that has been woven....Writing is very much a contemplative process. Writing about my own life and thinking about my own assumptions about the world or biases or prejudices and having to constantly investigate those."

"A central question I have when I'm writing, I'm always questioning my assumptions and what I believe to be true. I want every sentence to say the most true thing I can say. I often don't know what I think about something until I write it. The process is a process of self interrogation. It's a slow process, it helped me resolved some complicated feelings about my parent's divorce but it took me 8 years to get there. The place I arrive wasn't some great was simply arriving at empathy...and I realized that they were as hurt by the whole process if not more than me."

"In order to create a sense of intimacy, it requires a willingness to be vulnerable. You can't rely on the narrative that you've constructed about yourself. You have to talk about things that genuinely matter to you, things that have shaped you as a person. To maintain closeness you have to continue to be vulnerable."

"What does honesty really mean? What does it look like? It can mean that I want to be able to say things that will hurt you or critique you in ways that are uncomfortable for you. That's not a constructive honesty. Another kind of honesty is the "Michelangelo Effect." We can make our partners better versions of themselves but that doesn't happen through criticism. The way it happens is through kindness and generosity. When you praise someone else's good qualities, it enhances those good qualities. If I want generosity, I benefit from cultivating generosity in myself. If I want to feel listened, then I benefit from cultivating listening in myself."

"If you want someone to feel comfortable feeling vulnerable, it helps that they believe that you like them. That sense of liking is really important, it helps people to let their guard down. If being vulnerable requires safety, that contributes to that feeling of safety."

"Love is not an emotion, it's an experience. Something physiological happens to use and Barbara Fredrickson has described it as these micro moments of positivity resonance."

"Love is as important to our species as sunlight is to plants. We need it to be physically healthy. Does this relationship feel like sunlight? Is it warm? Does it feel nourishing? We have choice about who we let into our lives. Who do I want to be to the people that I love? I want to be someone who feels like warmth. I want to provide sunlight in their lives."

"While we don't have a lot of control over how we feel in a given relationship, we have a lot of control over what we do with our feelings and who we want to invest in, who we want in our lives, and the qualities that we want to cultivate in ourselves."

If you would like to explore the subject of love more through Mandy's experiences and insights, the audio recording of the call will be posted soon and will become available here.

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