A mindset coach weighs in on what we can all learn from “Love is Blind”
Love is Blind, a Netflix dating “experiment” and reality show has dominated our social feeds for the past three weeks of its duration. The premise of the show is to put contestants in a series of “pods” and have them get to know each other, building a strong emotional connection, and see if they can – in five days – fall deeply in love enough to get engaged without ever seeing one another.
Therein determining – as they say, ad nauseam in the show – if love really is blind. LISTEN TO THE PODCAST RIGHT HERE.
The real experiment is to see how much train wreck tv we will sit and watch, and if you are like the other hundreds of thousands of viewers, the answer is “as long as it takes.” And while most of the show, and the relationship dynamics within it, is show cringe-worthy, there is something so humanly compelling about that that it’s hard to look away.
So knowing that it’s got our attention (each of the 10 finalists’ Instagram accounts has already exceeded the 100K follower point, with a few getting the coveted blue verified checkmark), what can we learn about relationships from watching them play out in front of us? A mindset coach weighs in with the top three takeaways for each of our own love lives:
1. Always Go With Your Gut:
Our emotions are simply feedback. When we have a feeling, we are gaining insights as to what is really happening beneath the surface. So when, for example, something feels “off,” it is. Even if you can’t fully explain it, your body often knows before your mind that something doesn’t feel right.
The problem is that, for many of us, we have learned over a lifetime to do what others want us to do: what will keep the peace, what will please those around us, what is the thing we “should” do. In many cases, we have placed so much importance on doing the thing we think others want us to do that we create a behaviour pattern that ignores what we truly feel, and acts on what we think we’re supposed to do. In the show you can see so many of those internal conflicts: “He makes me want to be a better person – that’s why you get married.” “I have been asking for this for so long – I should be happy.”
Stop the “should show.” It doesn’t matter how perfect something seems on paper: if it doesn’t feel good to you, or if its feels scares in any way, ask “what is the story I’m telling myself…and is that story true?” That little mindset hack will help get almost instant clarity on what’s really happening, and if it’s a legit fear taking over your emotional body, or an emotion that is telling you something is amiss.
Your body always knows and will communicate with you via anxiety, tension, a hunch, or loud alarm bells that tell you something is or is not right for you – listen to that above all else.
2. Actions will always speak louder than words:
Baby, talk is cheap. What someone says to you matters far less than what they show to you. Endless I love you’s and waxing poetic about how you’ve changed their perspective and lives is great, but it isn’t enough. Words are very easy to come by, but the follow-through that comes from actual action far outweighs what anyone can say.
“I will always support you” means little without any demonstration of what that support looks like, especially in times of adversity. “I really feel an emotional connection with you” pales in comparison to body language that is actively leaning back and away from you as they’re saying it. “I am so sorry, I’m going to try harder” is actual lip service when someone does not actively put in the effort to change the behaviour they’re “apologizing” for.
It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of the moment; lasting love and intimacy are built through living, breathing proof of putting words into action.
3. You can’t build a relationship on peak experiences
We think we want the thing, but what we really want is the feeling we think the thing will give us. In our relationships, we so often look for those peak experiences, perfect and elaborate moments that are just over the top (think: helicopter rides at sunset, picnics on the beach, a secluded getaway or a private resort…). What we want is intimacy, togetherness, trust, passion, romance, respect, adoration, connectedness. So we reach for wild and grand gestures we think will elicit these feelings. And they do…sometimes.
A peak experience can elicit those feelings temporarily because it illicit that dopamine high we experience while we’re in that peak moment of a grand gesture. But when we’re building relationships, what we need to focus on building is the feeling itself: not the experience we think will bring us that feeling.
Trying to build a relationship on a series of peak experiences will leave you chasing a high, wanting the next fix (which chemically has to be bigger and more impactful than the last one), which leads to an almost constant feeling of lack and disappointment.
If you crave intimacy, share intimately with each other. If you want togetherness, create space to share things together. Do things in your daily life that establish trust, fuel your passion and joy, demonstrate respect, adoration, and connectedness. Learn to speak each other’s love language and act in little ways every day that show your partner how much you care. Doing the dishes together every night, laughing will bring you closer than an overly planned outing ever could
If you’ve seen the show entirely you know it doesn’t quite work out as expected (no spoilers here). You may also know, or have been invited to learn, that our cultural views of relationships are kind of warped: the goal is to feel whole on our own, and come together with someone else who is whole on their own, and live an interdependent life together. True love feels like coming home to yourself, it’s almost anti-climactic in nature. Passionate, yes, but filled with nervous butterflies? No.
Love isn’t blind, but it is an energy. It doesn’t require the co-dependent dynamic of someone being rescued, it invites the best version of two people to come forward and grow together. It isn’t conflict-averse, it fosters communication through challenge and adversity. It doesn’t make anyone happy who isn’t happy already, it amplifies our natural ability to be happy in the moment, with each of us being responsible for our own emotions.
You can catch the full episode on To Call Myself Beloved: The Podcast with Leisse Wilcox right here.