You can discover your own unique intimacy genius, and this episode will teach you how. In the following audio and blog post, you’ll learn tools to discover your deepest Core Gifts, and you’ll learn how to use those gifts to create powerful and positive changes in your dating life, your relationships, and your capacity to love and accept yourself more deeply.

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Show Notes:


  • Heart And Soul
  • Discovering Your Intimacy-Genius
  • The Challenge Of Authenticity
  • Finding Your Most Beautiful Self


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Everybody has their own qualities of intimacy genius. They’re unique to each of us. Stay tuned to this episode to learn how to discover your unique intimacy genius, and to use these gifts to help you build and create more love in your life.

Today, I’m going to share with you how you can discover your own intimacy genius. This week and every week, I’ll share the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. Those are the greatest skills of all for a happy rich life. If you want to learn more about deeper dating, just go to Deeper Dating Podcast. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and learn how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. We’ve just created a new online platform for single people to meet. You could just go to Deeper Dating to learn more about that. And when you go to Deeper Dating Podcast  you will get transcripts of every single episode including this one. I also just want to say that everything I share is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious symptoms, please do seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thanks to everyone who’s done that already.

Heart And Soul

Let’s jump in. I would say the heart and the soul of the biggest thing that I have learned in my entire intimacy journey and in my work with people who are seeking deeper intimacy in their lives is that the parts of ourselves that we’re the most embarrassed by, ashamed of, don’t know what to do with, are the places of our genius. These are the places, parts of ourselves that I call core gifts. They are where our deepest capacity for brilliance in intimacy lies but they’re challenging because they’re qualities of genius.

The skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. Share on X

They’re qualities where we feel things extra deeply, where we notice things extra closely, where we think in ways that are different and unique. These are the parts of us where we feel the most deeply. In this world, we are often shamed for those parts of ourselves because they’re places of our intimacy genius. In this episode, I’m going to teach you how to name and discover yours and how to learn how to honor them more deeply. The changes that create are gorgeous. That’s about all I can say there. I’ll say a lot more about that. We’re given this cookie-cutter sense of what intimacy is. You have to look a certain way to be attractive to people. You have to act a certain way to be attractive to people. You have to be this way with your masculinity, this way with your femininity, this way with your flirtation skills and all of this crap that could be interesting and could be useful in some ways, but is toxic when it steers us away from our authenticity, the real self that we are.

If we try to be these other things that we’re not, this is what’s going to happen. People who see our weakness are going to prey on us, or we’ll just find the wrong people. Later, we have to come out as who we are to them, which can be a very complicated thing. What I would propose is that from your childhood, you have had qualities that have made you feel different, ways in which you felt too sensitive or too intense, too demanding or too different. Those places are the places where our beauty and genius lies. It’s an amazing process that we need to go to the parts of ourselves that when we were teenagers or when we were older, we learned were shameful, embarrassing, awkward and different. We need to go back and reclaim those parts and discover the beauty and the brilliance in them.

If you think for a moment about the ways that you have felt different from others, the places in which you had heightened sensibilities, take a minute to think about that. Maybe you felt the pain of disconnection more and you longed for intimacy more. Maybe untruth bothered you more than it bothered other people. Maybe there was a deep kind of tenderness of spirit that felt too soft for the world, or maybe there was ferocity and intensity that felt too big for the world. Take a minute to think about this and think then about the messages that you got that those parts of you were problems.

The truth is those parts of us are problems because they’re demanding. They’re intense. They’re fierce. They feel pain and they feel joy in these highly charged parts of ourselves in ways that we might not feel it in other ways. They’re the most intense parts of our being and hence, we’ve often felt like they’re just awkward, but the key to this entire intimacy journey is that they are sacred. They are precious. They are the center of your being. The more we learn to honor those parts of ourselves, the more our entire world changes and the more our search for love changes.

Discovering Your Intimacy-Genius

What are these qualities that I call your intimacy genius, or also in my books and my courses, I call your core gifts? Some core gift qualities are the ones that I’ve already said – a deep sensitivity, maybe a longing for sensual connection that goes deep, maybe a sense that through our sensuality or through our spirituality or our honesty, we can make a big difference in the world. Probably growing up, some of these qualities were problematic to our peers, problematic to our parents or problematic to everybody. The hero’s journey is going back and reclaiming those parts of ourselves.

I’m going to speak a little bit about how to do that. The questions that will help you identify your intimacy genius are two big important questions. I’ve talked about them before. They’re a big deal. One question is in your day-to-day life, as you walk through your life, “what things hurt your heart? What things make you feel horrible, in pain, broken, wounded or wake you up in the middle of the night? What are the things that pull at your heart? What are the things that hurt your heart that keep you worried, that keep you concerned?”


DDP 76 | Intimacy-Genius
Intimacy-Genius: Our different geniuses run on different fuels, and our great fuel is the things that inspire us.


If you go through your days and you notice consciously the things that hurt your heart, if you’re like most of us, the first thing you’ll notice is that inner voice that says you are too damn sensitive. When we can push that voice aside and become curious and say, “Maybe I’m too sensitive, but I’m interested in seeing what this was that hurt me so much.” We realize that maybe it was an interaction with someone we love, which was not kind, where truth wasn’t being told or was a part of you that was not being recognized or that you weren’t recognizing a part of the other person. These things might hurt your heart.

Many people have the experience of their heart being hurt when connection is broken. They say that intimacy is a process of rupture and repair. For many of us, when the connection doesn’t feel right, when it feels broken, that causes a great deal of pain. This is something that I am hypersensitive to. For example, I can be talking to my husband. I can mention something that hurt or bothered me that happened in the family or in an interaction that worried me or concerns me or didn’t feel right. He might not have noticed it with the kind of intensity that I did. He would notice other things that I wouldn’t notice, but those are my gifts. I feel connection. I feel a break in connection.

Good connection brings me intense joy, breaks in connection trouble me deeply. These are qualities that I did not know how to manage growing up. I thought of them as sicknesses. I thought of them as weaknesses. I thought of them as things that did not make me sexy or attractive, but the truth is that they are who I am. As I learned to honor those parts of me, which is the honoring of those parts of ourselves, the de-orphaning of those parts of ourselves, the reclaiming of those parts of ourselves and naming them as valid as not too sensitive, but precious, real and authentic, that is a process of true empowerment.

When we do that, truly our attractions change, our search for love changes, our relationships change and our understanding of ourselves changes. The other question is, “what inspires me, what things in my day-to-day life fill my heart?” It may be that moment that you’re reading the paper and it feels like a break. The sense of peace and expansion of not having to do anything (hand raised) fill your heart. It may be a sexual connection that feels tender, beautiful and full of love. It may be an interaction with someone you love that feels exquisite. It may be somebody doing something brave or bold or kind. This is a study of ourselves that is one of the greatest studies that we can do, which is to notice what fills our heart, what inspires our heart.

These are two questions that are the keys to the deepest user’s manual of our lives. I encourage everyone to think about this and ask yourself on a moment to moment like, “Ouch, I feel pain.” What is this? What was that pain? How might that have been a gift place in me where there’s a deep sensitivity, a deep kind of compassion, a deep awareness? It hurts, but it’s a gift. We experience quiet joys, or bursting joys, or soft joys, or senses of gratification in our day-to-day life that we normally would appreciate and move past. We realize that they are more than pleasures. They’re portals to our deepest self. They are portals to places where we can expand into joy in very special and important ways.

They’re portals too because as you notice the things in your interactions with people that fill your heart, move you, make you feel peaceful, expansive, inspired or excited, you will find patterns. Again and again, you’ll see certain kinds of things that create that feeling for you. When you know that you have discovered the fuel for your genius because our different geniuses run on different fuels. Our great fuel is the things that inspire us. I would also say our great fuel is the things that hurt us, especially when we dignify their joys, but also the things that hurt us by recognizing this is touching me in a place that is deep. This must matter. What’s the gift here? What’s the sensitivity? How is that a gift?

The Challenge Of Authenticity

We go around minimizing our joys and not realizing that they are deep portals and telling ourselves we’re too sensitive instead of understanding that these are the places that we care the most deeply, which are the most human and beautiful parts of ourselves. When we honor those parts of ourselves, the potential for joy, the potential for authentic closeness increases dramatically. I also want to say though that this is not all sweetness in life. There are pain and the things that hurt us. There’s a challenge in the things that give us joy very often. There are mountains that have to be climbed to achieve that joy.

There are deep places we have to go to and touch to learn how to bear, and live with, the sadness or intervene in different ways to create healing where there was once sadness. These are big things. These are hero’s journey things. Recognizing it is not like pink paint. It is a challenge, but it’s the challenge of authenticity. The more we do it, the more we experience self-love and the more we experience people who are our happiness, people gravitating toward us. I know this to be true. I’ve seen it in my own life. I’ve seen it with so many clients that I’ve worked with and I believe that it’s true.

To add a little bit to the complexity here, you’ve got a kid who is a genius. That’s going to be a kid who’s going to need a lot of special care, special guidance, special help with interesting challenges that they experience. You’ve got intimacy genius qualities and you do. All of us do. They need special care. They need special guidance. They’re not going to be easy. They’re not going to get right out of the box instructions that are going to be workable. It’s a journey to learn to listen to these qualities and what they want because they’re going to ask for things that challenge us and challenge the people around us. That is the truth. It’s a great truth. It’s wonderful. Who would not want to cultivate their genius?

There are challenges in the things that give us joy. Share on X

Some of the things that happen, these are the parts of ourselves, obviously, where the charge is greatest. These are parts of us that exist in our psyche, which are most highly charged because you’ve experienced most joy and pain there. They’re the most highly charged places. You want joy. You fear the pain and these things, whatever they are, their meaning dense, like nutrient-dense, these parts of us. They have huge amounts of meaning. What does that mean? Without guidance and in the process of growing up, we’ve probably done a lot of stupid things around these gifts.

We’ve suppressed them. We’ve acted them out in unhelpful ways. Usually, we have a lot of car crashes around our core gifts, our intimacy genius, where we did not have the tools. The pain was so great that all we could do was act out. When a child is impossible, when a child acts out, it’s because there’s a pain inside of them so great that they don’t have the user’s manual yet. That’s the best that they can do. That happens for us as well. There’s a journey, and it’s a fascinating journey, of discovering our user’s manual. What’s the fuel for my genius? Who are the people with whom I feel at home showing these qualities, hence safe, hence happiest?

How do I show these qualities in an intimate relationship? What are the problems that come up when I feel and show them? What are the wonderful glorious things that happen when I feel them and show them and share them and give from those places? These are all parts of our user manual? What’s the pacing that I need? Elaine Aron speaks about the highly sensitive people beautifully. She talks about understanding, for example, highly sensitive people might need to pull away from intimacy. I know I’m a highly sensitive person. I’m an “HSP”, as Dr. Aron calls it. I know that I need to pull away from intimacy so that I can breathe. When I come back, I come back richer and more connected, but I need to pull away. It’s like a rocking motion back and then forth.

God knows I did not know this for decades. Every time I felt the need to pull away, I shamed myself for it. I experienced it as a fear of intimacy. I can’t do this love thing because I feel myself pulling away. I learned to discover that pulling away and giving myself space and grace did not mean that I would keep continually pulling away. It meant that I would come back with more of a full sense of self. I need to do that more than a lot of people. This is not a cookie-cutter behavioral pattern, but it’s my pattern. Part of my intimacy genius is how deeply I care about relationships, which causes a lot of issues and a lot of beauty.


DDP 76 | Intimacy-Genius
Intimacy-Genius: The challenge of authenticity is that the more we do it, the more we experience self-love, and the more we experience people who really are our happiness.


Finding Your Most Beautiful Self

I want to offer everybody an exercise as we move toward the closing of this episode. That is to take a couple of days and the journal and note the things that hurt your heart. I’m talking about the big hurt. Yes, but I’m also talking about micro hurts, micro tears, micro sadness. It’s to notice the things that cause them and to think, what’s the part of me being hurt? What is the part of me that is carrying so much? Which is another way of saying the same thing. What is it in me that’s being hurt? What made it care? Is it carrying so much? How is that a part of who I am? To notice these things and you will find that in these places where you care enough, that you get hurt, that’s your angel self. That’s your most beautiful self. That’s the Holy self. That’s the self that can have wings. That’s the self that has compassion, but it needs to be held with honor.

These are tools that were not taught, but they’re the deeper, richer tools of authenticity. Another question is again, to notice the ways in which your heart is filled, and you write these things down. You take notes. Moments that you feel inspired, that you feel touched, that you feel a melty feeling that you feel maybe like a prick of tears in your eyes, that you feel your heart swell, that you feel a sense of peace, intensified meaning and spaciousness. All of those wonderful feelings, note them. If you can, and this is a fun thing to do, hold them a little bit longer and let them ripple through your being, knowing that they are portals that are meant to be.

Also think, “What is this that brought me so much joy? What is it that inspired me like that?” I’m going to put words on it. There was an act of kindness that was being done that made me feel so good or someone listened to me about something very tender. What is this listening thing? Is that something that matters to me? Is that something I’ve been in pain about because people can’t do that? Is that something I try to give to other people because I know how much it hurts not to be listened to? You will begin to notice the things that bring that joy for you. It might be creativity. It might be a sensual expression. It can be so many different things, but notice those things and then think, “what’s the quality in me here that is captured by this joy? What’s the quality in me here that is being fueled by this experience that is bringing me joy?”

As we do this, we come to know who we are and these are rich, complicated, beautiful lessons. When we can share this stuff with the people who love us. Our relationships deepen in incredible ways if there are people who are willing and capable of doing that richer and deeper form of connection. Where it feels like they’re holding our unique being with cupped, spacious, kind and seeing hands. Those people are our gold.

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. I’m excited to get your feedback and what happens when you do this exercise, what you notice, what you discover, what it reminds you of, what it brings back for you. To share that, you can go to Deeper Dating Podcast and you can go click on Ask Ken, and you can leave me a message that describes that. Some of your messages I’m going to be sharing so you can also tell me, “Can I use the recording?” or do you prefer that I don’t? Should I use your name? Should I not use your name? All of those are fine and I always honor that. Thank you so much for reading. I’ll see you in the next episode.


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