“Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is, to be honest with ourselves.” - Walter Anderson
I have met so many people who say they’re ready to start dating again, or ready to change the behaviors in a relationship with a specific person. As they get started they prepare their Needs, Wants and Desires (look for the workbook on this soon!) and get beautifully clear and connected on what it is they want from a relationship and what they want to experience with that person. Only to start dating and quickly throw all of their work out the window in favor of feeling wanted and desired by the other person. Making them happy quickly takes first place to fulfiling their own happiness and needs.
In the relationships I had when I started dating after a long term relationship ended, I fought this battle. I would attract men that were “perfect” then throw my list of needs out the window and ignore the little voice inside me that said “He’s not the right one, you’re ignoring what we really need. Come back!” Or would write off glaring red flags to “make it work.”
One man that I dated a few years back taught me this lesson in the biggest way. Early on in dating, we both decided that this “could be it.” He had a big spiritual focus, or so it seemed, as did I. He accepted my desire to get up at the crack of dawn to write, do yoga and loved that I wanted out of my corporate job and to start my life coaching business (or so I thought). I enjoyed his sense of humor and his passion for his work.
Then one night, we were talking about therapy, spirituality, and coaching (well before I became a coach) and he started getting defensive, started saying I didn’t understand what he was saying and that I didn’t get his past work (he had been a therapist). I tried to explain that I did I just viewed it differently, it’s part of my core beliefs (and this time they weren’t going anywhere). Finally, toward the end of the conversation, I said: “I think communication is going to be the hardest thing for us.” And I heard my intuition say “Yup! You need to be open to what’s really being said and stick to your guns.” I hated hearing that. I really didn’t want to admit that this probably wasn’t the end-all relationship. I was sick of dating and wanted to settle down.
I wanted things to be a fairy tale, I wanted communication to be easy - because I knew it could be and I knew how important communication is for me at my deepest level. Shit, what was I going to do? Well, I kept diving inward to connect to my intuition. I kept honoring myself and my needs and attempting to deeply engage with him. As I dove deeper I saw him staying in the shallower waters, his defenses kept climbing and eventually it culminated in the largest, most unproductive argument I’ve ever had with a significant other.
He literally hung up the phone on me (at this point in time he was refusing to meet in person - um hello RED FLAG). In the silence that came after he ended the call, while I was mid-sentence, I heard my intuition say “It’s done, he’s not your person, darling. Please take care of yourself now.” And that was that he tried to open communication back up but I knew it was futile to bring up the topic over and over. I wasn’t going to change who I was and he wasn’t hearing me or taking the time to truly describe what he was struggling with.
For the first time, I could see myself being deeper in a relationship and it wasn’t reciprocated. It broke my heart but it was exactly what I needed to see and experience. It’s allowed me to be here, where I’m connected to my vulnerability deeply and can honor myself and the partner I have in relationship. It was also a huge learning in listening. I learned to hear him and in my reflecting back to him is when things fell apart. I reflected back on what he said and would ask follow up questions. With every follow-up question, there was another wall of his that went up. It was not a reciprocated relationship. It made me realize how ready I was for deep connection and how I wasn’t honoring that, I was continuing to date the guys that were “easier” to date but they weren’t willing to invest time, connection and effort with me.
If you really want to be able to connect with someone deeply you need to be vulnerable enough to let something like what happened to me happen to you. To have major shifts in your relationships, you need to allow major shifts in yourself. You need to know yourself deeply to be in relationship deeply.
To develop a deep and fulfilling relationship you have to be vulnerable and open. This is a huge problem in the day and age of ghosting, using multiple dating apps and FOMO for almost everything. We want to “have” the relationship but we don’t want to get open and vulnerable to actually allow it to develop. Like it or not if you want the relationship - you need to be vulnerable.
You need to show up for yourself in the moments of that relationship AND outside of it. Simply saying you want it then arriving with the same amount of suspicion and armor on as you have in the past will only lead to similar outcomes.
So how do you allow yourself to engage deeper in relationships? How do you stop from dis-engaging out of fear? How do you allow yourself to navigate through muddy relationships like the one I had last year? There are five key things that are needed to make sure you’re on your path, and that you won’t get thrown off it.
You need to connect to your intuition, inner voice, you name it - we all have it and you must be connected to it. Connecting here will allow you to hear or feel what it is you truly want. This is that quiet voice inside that says “Hey, I don’t know about this guy he seems really cool and interesting but I feel like he might be playing me.” It’s the voice that says “Pitch the idea!! Pitch the idea!!!” In a meeting. There are many ways to go about connecting to it and you need to find what works best for yourself.
I’ve listed a few starting points below, the biggest thing is to be in a space where you can hear yourself, where you’re in relative stillness. The other thing to keep top of mind is to give yourself GRACE with this. You’re not going to develop this muscle overnight and THEN be able to go out on the hunt for your “one and only.” This is a tandem exercise, you need your intuition but you also need the experience of utilizing it when in direct relation to someone your dating, or even chatting with on Tinder.
Way’s to connect with your Intuition:
Before all of these set the intention that you want to connect to your Intuition and ask for space to feel it.
- Meditate, even 2 minutes is enough to start. Slowly build up length and frequency
overtime. During this focus on releasing thoughts as they pop up. When you have a thought say “thanks thought” and don’t engage it any further. Focus back on your breath.
- Go for a walk in nature or on a quiet street, let your mind wander - you’ll be shocked at what “ah’ahs” come up.
- Get creative, paint, play music, write
- Practice “Morning Pages” - free write three pages without judgment or expectation of what you want to write about each morning, you’ll be shocked at what comes out.
- Listen to favorite songs and zone out, which is actually zoning into that receptive
- Sit in stillness with your eyes open and observe, don’t pass judgment just look
1. Allow yourself to feel. Woof, I know and I mean it. Allow your self to feel EVERYTHING you’re experiencing on this journey. The more you let it pass through you and be felt fully, in the moment, the better positioned you will be to attract and deeply connect in the relationship you’re focused on. If it’s feeling anxiety around pitching an idea at work, allow the nerves to roll through you, write down all your fears on a piece of paper, look at it, walk it over to the shredder say “thanks fears but we’re OK here.” and send that sucker away.
If it’s fear or pain that a relationship you were working on didn’t work out - that’s OK - no matter what happened. THIS is the part of the finding a partner story that everyone conveniently leaves out. For most of us, countless first dates and ghostings are leading up to finally finding that person. You need to play around, life is an experience - so allow yourself to feel in all the situations you find yourself in. You’ll be guided to what you want through the experiences you need to have to show up as your highest self once you arrive.
2. Know what your Needs, Wants, and Desires are. By allowing yourself to feel and getting connected to your intuition you’re quickly, and easily, going to be able to identify what you truly need, want and desire in any given relationship. (If you need help with this work I will have a new Workbook available in February for you!) You’ll be able to see easily what the deal makers and breakers are. Now keep them front of mind and DO NOT compromise. Compromise will come elsewhere in relationships naturally, but you simply cannot compromise on what your true Needs, Wants and Desires are and still expect to be wholly seen and appreciated in a relationship.
3. Speak your truth. The culmination of the previous three. Once you’re connected to your intuition and pinpointed your Needs, Wants and Desires you need to speak your truth when in relationship to those around you. This will be difficult at first the key is to be in your feelings, hearing your intuition and honoring what you truly need.
Fear will pop up here, but what will feel BETTER than fear is how relieved you will feel after speaking your truth to the other in the relationship. If they belittle, refuse to try to understand or otherwise demean your truth this is your guidepost saying this relationship isn’t exactly what you need any longer and it’s time to move toward your true desires. S
There are lots of nuances here but if you stay close to your intuition you’ll know what the next right step is for you with the individual and the relationship as a whole.
4. Keep shining your light. As you start to do this new and true parts of yourself will start to emerge. This is a beautiful example of how you’re able to live more truly when you start owning your vulnerability. The key is to keep shining this light as it emerges. You’ll get on a roll with this, hell you may even attract your ideal partner, boss, friend, etc because of this. Inevitably you will be in a space where your trickster (ego) comes out to play and starts sabotaging you. Some old ways of thinking might come back, or you may start overanalyzing what you’re experiencing. Go back to step one, and start moving forward. Be gentle with yourself, accept that there will be days when you kick ass and days when you have your ass handed to you. Most of all - keep shining.
Engaging deeply in relationships is a commitment you make for life. Once you start doing these five things you’ll never stop, that is if you want to keep having fulfilling relationships. The best part of this though is how sustainable it is once you get in the groove. You’ll be habituated to this way of being, you’ll love the feeling of owning your power in a relationship. The feeling of trusting YOURSELF as much, and more than the other person.
Because no matter what happens in the relationship - you are whole, complete and fine as your individual true self. You do not need that other person or relationship to be you.
Love yourself enough to start this work, be gentle enough with yourself to allow this vulnerability to come forward and to be a work in progress. It’s a beautiful world and living fully in relationships is such a wonderful part of the experience of being human.