How do you truly change the script of your love life so the same painful patterns don’t keep happening again and again – and newer, wiser patterns can take their place? In this episode, you’ll learn some powerful and life-transforming tools to change the course of your future in love.
How do you truly change the script of your dating life so the same kind of patterns in situations don’t keep happening again and again? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating® Podcast to learn how.
Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating® Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating, and the co-founder of DeeperDating®.com, a new way for people to meet online that is respectful, warm, and inspiring. In every episode, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich life.
If you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating® path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get some free gifts and learn about how to use these ideas to transform your search for intimacy, and you’ll find complete transcripts of every episode as well. I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. Finally, I want to say that if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe, leave a review on iTunes, and that would be much appreciated. Now, let’s jump in.
Last Episode Recap
Let me begin by recapping what we talked about in the last episode because this is a two-part series. In the last episode, I talked about our scripts that we carry with us in our search for love. They’re deep and profound and that we act out again and again. One of these, I call the myth of lost love, which is the story that we tell ourselves about why we haven’t been loved right, what it says about the world, and what we need to do about it? These scripts are deep and profound things. They truly shape our behavior in amazing ways, and we can change these scripts by bringing wisdom into our search for love. I want to just start by recapping what the myth of lost love is, what we talked about in the last episode. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about how we can deconstruct that myth, and how we can rewire and build a story that makes more sense, that holds us in a better way, that allows us to make better and wiser choices, that allows more freedom and more intimacy.
Let me start by just explaining this concept of the myth of lost love. In the ways that we were not seen and the ways that we were not loved right, and we’re human beings in a world filled with pain, suffering, and defense, and so none of us were loved perfectly right. Also, all of us have qualities that are both genius qualities but also deeply challenging to us and to the world. They’re the source of our greatness, but they are also the source of so much struggle and dilemma, because we have to grow into the power, the size, the gentleness, the intensity of these gifts, and whatever they are. Of course, our parents and our caregivers have also been wounded, and have not been able to see us and meet us properly in important ways, no matter how much they loved us.
Admitting how you push love away is an act of greatness. Click To Tweet
Of course, the world has hurt us in our dating lives and our romantic lives. I think almost all of us have been hurt and often profoundly hurt, so we create this myth of lost love that originates in our childhood that grows and develops in our life and our dating life. It has three parts to it. The first part is it gives us an explanation of what the world is, like the world is a place where I can’t trust, or the world is a place where I am generous again and again, and keep being taken advantage of. The world is a place where this particular quality of mine has never really been seen or cherished and hence, has never felt safe. These are deep down stories that we tell ourselves about what the world is, and really how the world is going to treat us, and particularly, how the world is going to treat us if we show our deepest authentic self.
That’s the first part of the myth. I’m doing this briefly because it’s what we talked about in the last episode. The second part of the myth is, what’s wrong with us? When a child is not treated right, they always think, “What’s wrong with me? How did I do this? How did I create this?” Often, we’re told directly or in subtler ways that it is our fault. We learn these deep down messages that way down in our psyche we translate into, “This is what’s wrong with me that I am not loved, seen, honored, or respected, etc.” The third part of the myth is, what do we need to do to protect ourselves so that we are not hurt this way again? So that we can avoid that pain and still find love. Often, these are kind of Byzantine complicated patterns that we create, that end up being self-sabotaging, and they get played out again and again. These are our myths of lost love.
Based on these myths, we act out stories again and again. These myths, to some huge degree, determine who we’re crazy attracted to, who we’re not interested in, because a part of our being is seeking resolution to the pain of that myth, but does it based on the stories that come out of that myth, so a repetition happens again and again. How do we change this script that is so deeply embedded, so habitual, so reasonable to our inner child, the way that we’ve protected ourselves? It’s so embedded. How do we change that script? That’s kind of what I have devoted so much of my life work to figuring out how to do, and that includes my own personal work and journey. I’m excited to share some ideas on that, but the first thing that I want to say is something that I say all the time. That is that the research shows that if you’re trying to change a deeply embedded habit, two things that you need are some kind of template for a different way of being that feels to you like it has wisdom and solidity, and that you can really believe in.
The second thing is a community of support, even if it’s just one person. Some kind of community of support where you can fail, think, rewire, pick yourself up, try something new, and unwire, dewire, and rewire again and again in the presence of a compassionate, somewhat objective, more spacious person who can help us not ram ourselves back into the same way of trying that we habitually do again and again. Don’t try to do that alone. In all of my classes, in all of my courses, and in my book too, I have people find a learning partner. Even on DeeperDating®.com, when you fill out a profile, you can check whether or not you want a learning partner, and then you can search for people who are looking for learning partners. Please do this, give this gift to yourself in changing your script, not thinking that you can do it alone, no matter how smart you are, and no matter how self-disciplined you are, because this is a deeper process. It’s another dimension than just your smarts or your willpower.
People who need to protect their soul, heart, peace, and safety don't use fighting as a solution. Click To Tweet
Deconstruction And Rewiring
That said, I want to talk about the deconstruction and the rewiring around the three parts of this myth that we talked about. The first one that we talked about was understanding of what the world is and how the world will treat you when you’re authentic, when you’re vulnerable, when you need, when you’re extra fierce, when you’re extra tender, whatever those most important parts of you are. Out of our picture of what the world is and how we will be treated, we develop attachment styles. Some of the attachment styles that we develop, some of the ways that we develop are as follows. Tell me if any of them or you can tell me if you do the Ask Ken thing, but otherwise, think for yourself about which of these feel like they’re true for you.
Here’s a really interesting one that I’m going to start with. I guess this is what it’s like. It’s like you’re in a burning building and you can only take out one thing. In a difficult life, we choose the things that we most need for survival. If what we most need is a sense of freedom, we have to often cut the cords to dependence. If what we most need is interconnectedness, we have to cut the cords to being radically authentic and we’ll have to people please. Each of us makes hard choices of what we’re going to take out of the burning building, and it’s the thing we need the most. One thing that I’ve noticed in my work is that people who have a deep connection to goodness need the world to be a good place, need to see goodness in the world. One way that they survive is a kind of enforced naivete, where they won’t see the reality of how selfish people can be, of how unkind people can be, not everyone but some people, how ethicless some people can be, and how abusive.
To protect the sense of the world’s goodness, some people need to hold a naivete, which gets them in trouble again and again because they don’t necessarily see the reality of how people can behave. Some of us who have been told that we don’t have a right to have a voice, who have been hurt in the place of our dignity, autonomy, sovereignty, or many other things like that, hold a quality of defensiveness. Those of us that believe that the world is going to cut us down, that the world is going to hurt us, that the world is going to squash us, that if we are weak, if we are not strong, if we don’t fight back regularly and even preemptively, we’re going to be wounded and hurt. Those of us who have that have a quality of defensiveness or anger that we then use to protect ourselves against a world that’s hostile.
Some of us who need to protect our soul, our heart, our peace, our safety don’t use fighting as a solution. We use retreat. We pull back and we become avoidant. Some of us who deeply believe that we might be betrayed, but deeply need connection, those of us who need connection in very deep ways, we all do, but some people are wired so that’s the thing they have to take out of the building, the one thing they need the most, and have this belief that we will be abandoned or not seen or dropped. We have a more insecure attachment style. These are just some examples and there are so many more, but they’re examples of, first of all, what’s the thing that we tell ourselves? You could think about this for a moment now. What are the myths that you’ve told yourself about how the world is an unsafe place, and just to reiterate that these myths are in a way seen from a child’s mind, but they have real reality not only in your experience but about what the world actually can be like?
Now, I want to talk about the second part. The second part is what we tell ourselves is wrong with us, that we have created this pain or this problem, or that we have invited it or allowed it. That is the human tendency, is to blame ourselves. This is a really rich one and connects to our core gifts. There’s a lot of complexity, a lot of richness here that I talk about in greater depth in my book, and in many podcast episodes where I speak about core gifts. I’m just going to say briefly that the amazing thing here, the incredible thing here is that the qualities that we decide are the reason that people don’t love us, are almost always connected to our deepest gifts, which I call our core gifts. Those are the parts of us that have a quality of depth, intensity, sensitivity, or differentness that people don’t normally easily know how to handle, including us.
Those with a deep connection to goodness can often tend to become naïve. Click To Tweet
They’re the deepest richest parts of us. They are our greatest beauty, and the more we align with those parts and honor them, and kind of live like artists in the presence of those qualities, like a deep sensitivity, a truth-telling, a hunger for accomplishment, achievement or creativity, a passion, an intensity, a tenderness, a humility, a generosity that runs so deep that it’s gotten us in trouble. These are the holy parts of us. These are the powerful parts of us, and the simple, strange question of, what have we told ourselves is wrong with us? Whatever those qualities are, are almost definitely intimately connected with our greatest gifts.
If we don’t know how to embrace those qualities, we will be sexually and romantically attracted to people who step on them, deny them, ignore them, or don’t at all understand or appreciate them. The deep journey here and the gift of finding out our answer to that question, and you could take a moment now and pause and think about this. What do you tell yourself are the flaws in you that people just can’t love or betray you or let you down because of, or are too much, or maybe are not strong enough? Those are often the two things. We think we’re too much or we think we’re not enough. Around each of those points, there is a depth of being that’s so big, that maybe the world hasn’t known how to handle it, and we haven’t known how to handle it. Those are our core gifts.
The journey here is to name those gifts. To come to understand them like we would understand a child that we have, who is brilliant and gifted, and also struggling with the weight of those gifts. There’s a lot of compassion that we need to hold. Also, a lot of treasuring and renaming again and again of the worth of these gifts. When we do this, we form into a self that can really live in an extraordinary way in the world. Over time, we find as we do this, as we name these gifts, is that when we’re dating, when we’re in relationships, we will notice when those gifts are not being seen. We’ll notice when those gifts are being stepped on or taken advantage of or abused, and we’ll say, “This feels horrible, no.”
Instead of doing our old methods of convincing ourselves that we have to change, or convincing ourselves that the world is just this way, and this is all we can expect, we will instead begin to say, “This is not a place where I can feel really at home. I need to do something about that.” When we do that, our search for love changes, and our life changes. That is why this is really a kind of almost holy journey because it’s a journey to come back to those most deeply authentic, passionate, tender and sacred parts of ourselves that really as we do, our mission in life becomes clearer, and our capacity to love in a wiser way and choose in a wiser way also develops. That’s the second piece of how we blame ourselves, which can lead us to seeing what our deepest gifts are.
The third one is then, what are the defense mechanisms that we create? What are the structures? What are the flight patterns from intimacy? What are the things that we do to look for love based on that myth? How do we behave when we believe this is what the world is? How do we behave when we feel shame around some of our deepest core gifts? What are the things that we do? What is the choreography of our behavior around those wounds? This is an incredibly rich and complex question, but I think I could just ask this in a way that you could think about briefly and just see what pops up.
What are your ways of unconsciously, or maybe even consciously, pushing love away? What are the patterns that are yours by which you push love away even though you’re looking for it? You can take a minute, you can pause and think about it, but I want to say, I think it behooves all of us to become a student of our fear of intimacy and to really know the ways that we do this because we all do. I think that that is an act of greatness. It is to be able to swallow and admit, “These are the ways I push love away. This is the choreography of how I protect myself in ways that maybe aren’t the wisest, but they are the best I have had, and this is what I could consider doing differently.” I think that’s an act of greatness and humility. I think that the bang for your buck that you get in your intimacy journey when you tackle these things is absolutely huge.
Each one of these things that we’ve talked about, your search for love and your intimacy life, will change profoundly as you embrace these pieces. You can see why this path is really a path to your own greatness, a path to the deepest parts of you, and God knows love is one of the deepest parts of all of us. Thank you so much for listening. I encourage you to think about all of these things and explore them further. I wish you blessings in your deep, profound, precious, and important learning journey around your search for love. I look forward to speaking with you in the next episode.