Reimagining love

Reimagining love

Chances are, you’ve had those moments—curled up on the couch, engrossed in the latest rom-com, and thinking, “Why doesn’t my love life look like that?” 

Whether it’s Ross and Rachel’s iconic “We were on a break!” or Bridget Jones braving the modern love scene, pop culture often offers us a vision of love that’s both enchanting and, at times, misleading.  

In today’s digital age of fleeting swipes and ghosted messages, how do you reconcile this gap between a reel and real love? Addressing this very question is an episode on Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani’s Honest Conversations, “Reimagining Love with Dr. Alexandra Solomon.” 

As Dr. Solomon says,

“In understanding love, we understand ourselves better.”

And this insight brings to light the undeniable truth: reimagining love is not just a choice but a necessity in today’s dynamic relationship landscape.

Meet the relationship guru of our times, Dr. Alexandra H. Solomon. A professor, author, and therapy powerhouse, she’s got a knack for making the complexities of love sound oh-so-simple. Her ideas on relational self-awareness? Total game changer. 
With roots at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, she’s written bestsellers like Loving Bravely and Taking Sexy Back. And if you’re into shorter writings, catch her on Psychology Today.

The Importance of Reimagining Love

Do you remember how Ross tried, time and again, to articulate his feelings to Rachel? Or how Bridget Jones jotted down her desires and disappointments in her trusty diary? 

While these might be exaggerated portrayals, the thing is, as human beings, our inherent desire is to love and be loved. However, adhering to old scripts might leave us unfulfilled. 

Supporting this sentiment, a 2022 study by Goldman Sachs highlighted that young adults today are more likely to prioritize personal development and careers. In fact, a great number of Gen Zers feel that personal goals hold precedence over romantic endeavors. 

The thing is, reimagining love is about acknowledging the unique shape and form love can take in the 21st century. Especially with digital connections, ghosting, and ever-evolving definitions of relationships, it’s more crucial than ever to break free from clichéd notions of movie love. 

This doesn’t mean disregarding dating, romance, or anything of the sort. Instead, it underscores a way that’s more holistic, integrating personal growth with connection.

“In order to make any kind of sense of today’s landscape of love and sex, we have to be willing to widen and tighten our lens,” explains Dr. Solomon. “We have to look at what’s going on inside.”

And this enables you to form a deeper, more authentic connection not just with others but live a heart-centered life for yourself as well.

Shifting the Perspective on Love and Relationships

Dr. Solomon introduced listeners to a profound concept: relational self-awareness. Putting it simply, she says, “The self is relational.”

“Relational self-awareness is an ongoing, curious, and compassionate relationship that we have with ourselves that becomes a foundation for a healthy intimate partnership.”

— Dr. Alexandra Solomon

That’s deep, right? 

Take a page from her own love story. Dr. Solomon and her husband, Todd, have navigated nearly a quarter of a century together. Yet, she still sometimes finds herself grappling with her reactions to his actions. 

More often than not, her initial thought spirals around, “Why is he doing this?” But with a dash of self-awareness, she redirects it inward, probing, “Why am I feeling this way about what he’s doing?” 

It’s this delicate dance of self-inquiry that highlights the essence of relational self-awareness. It’s not just about assessing your partner’s actions but also tuning into your own emotional radio and understanding the frequencies that might be causing static.

Now, in this age of hookup culture, where swiping left or right has become second nature and your inner child might be yearning for genuine connections amidst the flood of DMs, it’s easy to drift from your authentic self. 

Yet, Dr. Solomon drives home a crucial point: by going deep into your pattern, showing kindness to your flaws, and fueling your personal growth, you’re doing more than just priming yourself for wholesome relationships. You’re essentially discovering, understanding, and yes, falling head over heels for the person gazing back at you in the mirror.

Reimagining Your Love Story: Tips From Dr. Alexandra Solomon

Dr. Solomon’s insights from the episode on Honest Conversations offer an array of practical advice to those eager to rewrite their love narratives. 

As you shift from age-old narratives and confront the challenges of modern relationships, tips and guidance from experts like Dr. Solomon act as the compass you may possibly (and desperately) need.

1. Embrace Vulnerability and Authenticity

Taking a page from Ross and Rachel’s playbook in Friends, relationships aren’t always about the highlight reel. Dr. Solomon emphasizes the gold in being self-aware—understanding what you need and hearing out your partner.

Remember how Ross struggled with traditional male norms and had his share of flaws? Challenge those norms. Embrace vulnerability; it’s not about being weak but being genuine. 

Those little make-up moments after a spat? Dr. Solomon says they’re key. 

So, whether you’re a Ross, a Rachel, or somewhere in between, embrace your flaws and keep your love stories real and authentic.

2. Manage Conflict with Understanding

Misunderstandings and disagreements are as old as love itself. However, Dr. Solomon points out that the real magic isn’t in dodging the storm but in dancing through it together. 

Being honest with yourself and embracing self-awareness means understanding what gets your goat and tuning in to your partner’s feelings. 

“If I’m savvy enough to catch myself with that question, ‘Why is he doing this?’ I will dig a layer deeper and I will ask, ‘Why am I having this reaction to what [my partner’s] doing?’” explains Dr. Solomon. “And it’s not that it’s an either or, but it is definitely a need to keep ourselves in the ring.”

Much like hitting pause on a heated TV episode, take a break mid-argument. It can save you from saying things in the heat of the moment. 

3. Prioritize Emotional Connection Over Perfection

The reality of it all is, relationship hacks aren’t a magic fix. As Dr. Solomon suggests, it helps you go into something deeper. 

Instead of chasing perfection, aim for a real emotional connection. Laugh at the blunders, understand the slip-ups, and celebrate the tiny wins. 

There’s no such thing as a flawless love story. However, it is about having shared experiences. 

After all, it’s the bumps and turns that make your journey together truly memorable.

It’s All About the Honest Conversations

Every love story is unique. And while fairytales and rom-coms offer an idealized view, real love is messy, beautiful, and, above all, transformative.

And as you step forward into reimagining love, take Dr. Solomon’s words to heart. You can also find more insights, heart-to-hearts, and deep dives into the intricacies of relationships on Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani’s Honest Conversations.

As philosopher Iris Murdoch once said, “We can only learn to love by loving.”

Episode resources:

Dr. Alexandra Solomon | Instagram⁠

Dr. Alexandra Solomon | Facebook⁠

Dr. Alexandra Solomon | ⁠LinkedIn

Dr. Alexandra Solomon | Website

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is a content writer for Mindvalley and a Certified Life Coach. With a background in spa and wellness as well as being a cancer survivor, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.

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