Metaphors of Life and Love

Metaphors of Life and Love


The human mind has an affinity for metaphors—a phrase or phrase which means one thing aside from what it actually denotes. Along with stimulating increased ranges of psychological processing, metaphors elevate discourse past mere relating of details. They afford us a richer expression of ideas, perceptions, and feelings.

Used properly, metaphors deepen communication, advance data, and encourage us. To paraphrase Tennessee Williams, metaphor is the pure language of the humanities. With out metaphor, conversations would appear banal or boring.

The fitting metaphors result in emotional development and therapeutic; the flawed ones block enchancment or make issues worse.

A traditional instance of a foul metaphor is the outline of indignant outbursts as “letting off steam.” This unlucky phrase derives from a Nineteenth-century understanding of feelings when the dominant know-how was the steam engine. The idea held that, with out frequent “launch,” feelings “construct up” to harmful ranges till they trigger an explosion. The steam engine metaphor led to extensively discredited “therapeutic” strategies resembling punching pillows, dolls, or dummies, and utilizing foam baseball bats to membership imaginary adversaries. Many research have proven that such strategies make folks angrier and extra hostile, to not point out extra entitled to behave out their anger. Quite than “getting it out of your system,” repetition varieties habits that make hostile emotional states extra automated and dominant.

An correct metaphor describes feelings as psychological muscle tissues—the extra you train them, the stronger the neural connections underlying them develop. The extra you give attention to any emotion, the extra probably you’re to often expertise it by behavior.

Implicit Metaphors

Though “implicit metaphors” information conduct outdoors consciousness, they are often ascertained on reflection.

I ask shoppers at consumption to provide you with metaphors that describe their lives. Listed here are typical responses:

“Life is a minefield.”

“Life is a journey.”

“Life is a three-ring circus.”

“Life is a race.”

“Life is a marathon.”

“Life is a battle.”

“Solely the sturdy survive.”

Such metaphors sound refined alarms, skilled as unease or stress. They distort value determinations of actuality and make us ever-ready to worsen experiences by means of blame, denial, or avoidance.

Dangerous Relationship Metaphors

The next are metaphors that intensified and extended painful standoffs between a shopper and his spouse:

“An excellent husband is a rock,” which made him onerous and intransigent.

“If a husband appears weak, he’ll be manipulated.”

Marriage is a film thriller; it’s a must to drive onerous to keep away from a foul finish.”

“Love is a meal we should eat collectively,” which made her really feel needy.

We changed these dysfunctional metaphors with these based mostly on their deeper values:

“An excellent husband is a champion, a nurse, a information, and a shade tree.”

“Marriage is a handful of seeds; with nurturing and care, they grow to be a stunning backyard.”

“Marriage is a film with some comedy, thriller, pleasure, sorrow, ache, love, and sweetness.”

“Love is a lifeline that retains us linked, even after we’re aside.”

When humane values gasoline metaphors, they enhance lives and enrich experiences.


What’s your metaphor for all times?

If it is damaging, adapt it in a means that permits enchancment.

What’s your metaphor in your relationship?

If it is damaging, adapt it in a means that permits enchancment.


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