We grow up reading and watching love stories (I could list my top 5 romance novels and romantic comedies right now, go on time me), listening to the love stories of others (not always willingly) and fantasising about starring in our very own romantic tale. Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you’re actually the lead in a story you’ve subconsciously written for yourself. This story influences the way you date, relate and welcome love into your life. This narrative is the lens through which you observe love. Looking through it, you determine what love is and how you expect it to show up. This self-crafted story influences the way you give, receive and refuse love. So why do we feel so powerless when it comes to our own happy ending?
The problem isn’t so much the story itself, but rather the foundations on which it’s built. You’ve most likely based your story on your past experiences with love, other people’s experiences with love and what you witnessed growing up at home, on TV, in the movies or in your favourite novels. Or perhaps, your story is based on nothing at all, and is merely an assumption or a prediction. Either way, it’s almost always a reflection of what you believe you deserve.
Now you might not see yourself deep in the throes of an Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy type love affair, and can easily point out the flaws in Connell and Marrianne’s complicated version of love, but can you say definitively that you’re not subconsciously enacting love based on the creative flair of Ms Austen or the likes of Sally Rooney?
Could these romantic prose have influenced you in such a way that any love that doesn’t fit these fabricated narratives is being categorised as ‘not love’.
The good news is a good tale always has room for some edits. Once you can identify the love story, you’re currently telling yourself, you can pen a new more advantageous one moving forward. I remember, clear as day, the first time I saw my old love story written down. Finally, I could see why my relationships all followed the same patterns, why I always attracted the same type of men and why I continued to make the same mistakes over and over (and over) again. Once you can see it for what it is – a story built on the past and a bunch of scripted fantasy (and Nicholas Sparks novels) – it’s easy to change the narrative to a more rewarding and advantageous one.
So if we can’t base our love story on past experience and observations where do we begin?
I believe it starts with getting super clear on your values (especially when it comes to love), learning the lessons and closing the loop on past relationships, and working out how you truly want to feel in love. This creates a barometer of sorts to measure whether you’re getting closer or further away from a love story you truly desire!
by Jordanna Levin is available in store and online now.