In this episode, you’ll learn 5 simple shifts that will speed your path to love–and help you learn deeper self-love and authentic, unforced confidence. These tips may fly in the face of much of what you’ve been taught about dating, but they have the power to truly transform your search for love, save you huge amounts of time, and deepen your capacity to nurture the love that’s in your future!
There are six tools and one very, very profound insight that absolutely transforms our search for love and change our lives as well. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating podcast to learn those tools and this insight.
Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of Deeper Dating, and the host of this podcast. Today, I’m going to share with you some very powerful, wonderful, and simple tools that really will change the way you search for love and change your relationship to your intimacy journey in some very important ways.
This week and every week I’m going to offer you the greatest skills I know to help you find beautiful, nourishing love and keep it flourishing in your life. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. And the skills of intimacy are the greatest and most important 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. There, you can sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get some free gifts, including an eBook and you’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey, and you’ll find a transcript of this and every other episode. And you’ll get to hear about my new downloadable course, which takes you through the entire Deeper Dating journey, step-by-step with my kind of much more close and personal guidance.
I also want to say that everything that I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not treatment or medication, or psychological advice. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help.
Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
If you like what you’re learning here, it would be a fabulous gift to me if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Some of the reviews that I’ve gotten are just so incredibly touching, and I really appreciate them. If you’d like to leave one too, that would be great. Okay, let’s jump in. This is an exciting episode today, and I’m really glad to be sharing this with you.
I’m going to be offering you about six different specific tips that will all tie in together and really make a huge difference. They also turn your search for love into an adventure of growth and healing, as you’ll see. And then, I’m going to talk about a very kind of deep, deep concept about what the broadest, broadest, truest journey, as I understand it, of intimacy really is, and that’ll connect to the tools that I give you in the beginning. I’m just going to jump right in.
The first one is allowing yourself the bravery of being your authentic self. It sounds simple, sounds sweet, sounds corny, sounds pat. It’s brave. It’s brave to do that. The experience of sharing who we are in our heart, letting people see it, finding that place of flow where we’re really connected with who we are, and being that person in another person’s presence is an act of intimacy unto itself. And doing that gives a message that we’re comfortable in our own skin.
Your Path to Love Is a Journey to Be Who You Truly Are
But here’s the funny thing. So much dating advice tells us, “Yeah, definitely, absolutely be authentic. Be authentic.” But then you also have to really be masculine enough, or you have to be feminine enough, or got to act confident, or just throw in some good flirting in there, or whatever it is that it tells us. And it’s impossible to be authentic and something other than yourself at the same time. It’s very crazy-making advice to be told, “Be authentic, but be something other than you are.” So much dating advice fits into that category.
What you want to be is you, and it’s brave, because then when you are you, it’s impossible to say how much time and heartache you save by doing that. Because, when you’re not you, the people who are looking for someone like you will miss you. They won’t see you. They won’t notice you.
Your beauty is not going to shine, because it can’t shine when you’re being something other than yourself. And also the other thing that happens is that people who have a need to step on someone who’s not secure, but is pretending to be secure and confident, those people will gravitate towards you.
So, so many reasons why it’s an act of quiet violence against your being and your future to be anything other than the amazing and authentic being that you really are. And to just look for the people who love that. Because there’s a million people who won’t, but they’re not the people you want. That’s concept number one. It’s one that I’ve talked about a lot in this podcast.
A Crippling Scrutiny Based on Fear
This is another fabulous one. This is what I call squinting. I know, for me, for many, many, many years there was a crippling self-scrutiny but also a crippling scrutiny of other people based on fear, based on insecurity, based on my own self-judgment that made me say no to a lot of people, look down on people, judge people, step away from people who might’ve been wonderful. Because of this hair trigger judgmental quality that I had that was based on a deep fear of being hurt.
So many of us have this, and the culture also supports it in saying, “You’ve got to look for someone who is X, Y and Z, and is going to look this way and that way, and has to accessorize right,” or whatever it is. So, this is the concept, it’s squinting. If you have ever seen an artist work on a portrait, you might notice that sometimes they squint. I asked an artist once why she did that, and she said,
“I do it, because when I squint, I don’t notice the harsh outlines of the subject as much anymore. I kind of notice the subject’s spirit, and I’m not distracted by the outlines, by the exterior. I kind of can capture the spirit a little bit more.”
So when we date, when it comes to things like outfits, weight, age, I mean, I’ll say this now, and like I say it a million times, you can’t make yourself attracted to someone you’re not attracted to, nor should you try to do that.
Squint and Soften Your Path to Love
But if someone is somewhere in the range and you just don’t like their outfit, or you don’t like their music, or their laugh irritates you, or they’re three years or five years or eight years or 10 years your junior or senior, or junior or senior to the age range that you’re looking at, and you say “no” for those reasons, they live too far away……
They don’t have the education that maybe you thought was so important that your partner had, even though they have a lot of smarts. Whatever it is, those are areas where we need to squint. We need to soften that judgment.
Because when we go into a dating event, well, I know when I used to go into dating situations, that hair trigger part of me was so activated, so ready to tell me that I’m not enough, and so ready to tell me that the other person was not enough, and the amount of tears and suffering and pain that came from that hair trigger response was pretty endless. But actually, that’s inaccurate.
That pain didn’t come from that hair trigger response, because I can’t control that hair trigger response. It came from listening to that hair trigger response. So when we notice that hair trigger response, and we say, “You know what? Maybe that was a little too quick of a judgment. I could feel that inside.” We soften, and we squint, and we look at the kind of spirit of this person.
Taking the Next Step of Your Path to Love
And over time when we do that, if the person is a match but doesn’t fit the kind of qualifications we thought we had to have, over time, the nature of the connection will overtake and eclipse those original kind of judgements and assumptions – if it’s a good match. And research backs up that this is really true, as well. So, that’s the second thing. It’s squinting.
When you’re with someone, if things bug you, or make you say, “This person is just out of the framework of someone I would date,” but you’re kind of attracted to them, there’s a spark, there’s a goodness, there’s a quality you really like, squint. Squint. It doesn’t mean you’re going to marry them.
It means you’re going to take the next step in getting to know them, and you’re not going to let hair trigger fear which manifests as some kind of judgementalness, which you think is truth, take you away from the possibility of potentially a really wonderful, sweet relationship. I know that the inability to do that kept me from love for decades. So that’s the other tool that I want to offer.
Now I’m going to mention another one. It’s about enthusiasm. You meet someone, let’s say you’re really excited by them. For me and for so many people, that’s been kind of a quandary. Because you feel enthusiastic, but you feel like, “Well, I don’t want to overwhelm this person. I should probably play a little bit hard to get, I don’t want to show this enthusiasm. I don’t want to be such a gust of wind that I blow out this new flame of their potential growing interest in me.”
Treasuring Your Enthusiasm
Here’s what I want to say about enthusiasm. There’s only one thing that works when it comes to you being enthusiastic about someone new, and that is to treasure your enthusiasm. Now, that does not mean that you want to lose track of their signals and their cues, because often in the beginning when one of us is feeling very enthusiastic, the other might be feeling a little bit more shy or timid.
Maybe both of you feel enthusiastic. Still, you want to go carefully. You want to go slowly. You want to get to know the person. Probably better not to have sex too early. We’ll talk about that in a little bit. But if you don’t treasure your enthusiasm, here’s what’s going to happen, you’re going to be ashamed of it. It’s going to turn into a feeling, and you’ll press it down. You’ll press it down, and when you press it down, and if you’re too good at pressing it down and keeping it there, that’s not a great sign.
Most of us though press it down and then it kind of comes out sideways in a little bit of an embarrassing way or not the best way. That’s what happens when we are ashamed. We kind of press it down. We think we shouldn’t have it. We become awkward.
If instead, we honor that sense of enthusiasm, we take pleasure in it, we delight in it, it’s a wonderful thing to be that enthusiastic about someone. It’s a great, great thing. If we honor that enthusiasm, we will be more capable of pivoting and creating, and not necessarily overwhelming the person with our enthusiasm, but not being ashamed of it.
The Wisdom Path
Because, being ashamed of our enthusiasm leads nowhere good. It’s a delicate, delicate thing, but you want to honor your enthusiasm. You want to show your enthusiasm too. And you can show it in conscious, wonderful ways by letting the person know about qualities that you like about them.
You don’t want to overwhelm them. You want to be sensitive. If you’re showing your enthusiasm is coming out of a need to get them to say positive things to, and they’re not really saying positive things back yet, those are behaviors that you kind of need to hold back on a little.
Because one of the greatest gifts you can give another person is a sense of space. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a right to honor and delight in your enthusiasm. Is that a little complicated? Yes. But it’s a wisdom path and wisdom paths always take a little bit of work and growth and development. So, honor your enthusiasm.
The research about playing hard to get is this. It’s something I’ve talked about before. The research shows that if you play hard to get, the person, in some cases, might want you more, temporarily. But they will like you less. So it is better not to play hard to get but to show your enthusiasm and your pleasure in someone, but in a way that honors your sense of their space needs.
Values-Based Events and Communities Open Your Path to Love
Eli Finkel, who did a lot of great research on this very subject in speed dating events, kind of says that the thing to do is to somehow give the message that it’s not that you’re just looking for anybody, it’s that certain particular things really matter to you, and you see those in this person, and that is exciting and wonderful to you. That is very positive. People respond to that. It’s like an aphrodisiac to be able to do that. Once again, it’s connected to honoring your enthusiasm in this journey and your delight in meeting someone new who seems wonderful.
Now I’m going to skip to something kind of really different. I say it all the time. All the time. I’m going to say it again. Values-based events and communities are the best place to meet people, in general. Of course, you might meet someone on the street. You might meet someone on a dating site that has nothing to do with values-based anything. But you still meet them that way. All those things are possible.
But when you’re at an event with people who share your values, your passions, and your interests, you will glow. You will shine. You will feel in some way at home. And hence, the person you’re going to be is going to be a broader, more open, more delightful, more connected version of you. The quality in the atmosphere in events like this invites connection and closeness.
So, now we can’t be doing that in person, but there are so many ways to do that virtually. Looking up keywords in dating sites when you’re searching for people you’re interested in, where those keywords match the values that you’re interested in.
A MiracleGro for Our Fear
Finding online communities in areas that you’re interested in. Dating websites that are niche for people who are interested in what you’re interested in. But I can’t tell you what a great and powerful tip that is to speed things up in your search for love.
Here’s the last one. The last one is to wait with sex. Now, for some people, they can have sex right away, and it’ll be fabulous, and it’ll be bringing them much closer. And it’ll be something that cements the beginning of their relationship. This is not a moralistic thing.
But for most of us, sex without a level of safety that matches the physical intimacy is like MiracleGro for our fear. What happens really often when we have sex too early, is one person feels needy, clingy, insecure, and the other person feels like, “I’m out of here. I’m going.” Because it’s just this awkward thing of this huge aperture of being, this deep, deep openness and vulnerability on a physical level. And then you see the person and the connection has nowhere near match that and it’s just like more comfortable to get away. Those are two things that can happen.
Because when our level of safety doesn’t match our level of physical connection, there’s a great risk of that happening. That I think is particularly true for highly sensitive people. It’s not true for everybody. And if it’s not true for you, and you can really have sex right away and still be available for full-on intimacy, more power to you. But most of us trick ourselves to think that we can do that, when in fact we can’t.
The Part of Us That Needs to Be Stronger
And alcohol and drugs really help us have sex too quickly. That’s why it’s not a great idea to get really intoxicated in early dating. I mean, it’s not such a great idea to get really intoxicated ever. But in early dating it’s especially, in some ways, particularly important.
Those were some kind of very nitty gritty, and I think, wonderful and important and positive tools to help you truly transform the way you search for love and turn it into an adventure of growth that really works. Try these things. You will experience deep growth, opening, and shifts in the way you date.
But now I want to shift to kind of a more meta thing, something very kind of big and deep. It’s about a way of understanding our intimacy journey. As we take this conscious, deeper intimacy journey, there’s a way in which one part of us really needs to soften, and another part of us really needs to become stronger.
I’ll talk first about the part that needs to soften. All of us hold on tight against the pain of being hurt, against the pain of having the rug pulled out from under us, having the ball dropped by the other person. Also, we become kind of toughened and tightened just by the pace of life and the demands of life where we have to kind of squeeze tight in order to get through and get stuff done.
We all do that. And when we do that, especially when we get easily afraid or we get defensive, we push intimacy away, but we don’t even know we’re doing it. We’re just goal focused. We’re just protection focused. We don’t even know that we’re doing it.
A Beautiful Sadness You Carry on Your Path to Love
This is something that I think during this kind of sheltering at home period where there’s a little more time, we can allow ourselves to soften in some ways a little bit more and feel the things that are kind of on the shoulder of the road of our being that we don’t normally let ourselves feel or acknowledge or sense. And when we do that, we soften, and when we soften, amazing stuff happens.
Sometimes there’s a sadness, but that sadness is a beautiful sadness, because it’s the sadness that we carry in our heart that is our humanity. I know for me, when I’m in touch with my sadness, I’m an inch away from my love. And I know that when I’m stressed or kind of outwardly focused, and when my defensive structures lock in, I don’t feel my sadness. I just keep thinking about what’s next, what has to be done. I become impatient. For me, when I feel sadness, it’s a harbinger. It’s a mark of being closer to my soul.
So we may feel sadness, we may feel longing, we may feel joy. We get wisps of inspiration and guidance, but that only happens when our defensive ways of being soften. And that’s when inspiration leaks through. That’s when inspiration begins to just kind of hit us in different ways, so there’s a softening that needs to happen. Or when we’re with someone and we like them and we don’t want to show them that we like them, we feel vulnerable or scared. Brene Brown said something so wonderful. She says,
“Vulnerability is the last thing we want to show, and it’s the first thing we look for in another person.”
Different Techniques to Soften the Defensive Structures
When we’re in that kind of a state and we’re not softened, we will miss so many wisdom cues and we’ll miss so many love cues. And when we soften, we will feel the wisdom cues, and the love cues, and the intimacy cues that we otherwise might miss. So anything that helps us soften.
I know for me, I do tapping. I keep saying I’m going to do this, and I haven’t done it yet, but I’m going to do some episodes to teach people tapping. It’s a wonderful, wonderful technique. You can just go to YouTube and look up Dawson Church or Nick Ortner and learn a lot more about tapping that way. That’s something I use.
I use meditation, lots of different things, lots of different techniques. The Inner Mentor™ technique, which you can learn on, I believe it’s podcast three, is an incredible technique to help you tune into that softened place, your own inner wisdom and intuition. Whatever techniques you use, maybe it’s just giving yourself space in life. Whatever you can do that helps you soften that defensive structure and feel the softness of your being, you’re giving yourself an indescribably invaluable gift.
That’s the softening piece, but then there’s a strengthening piece too, and that’s around strengthening our discrimination. We move into a really different zone here. And that is when we’re in interaction with people, especially when our insides are softened so that we can feel the subtler winds of experience. We sense when things feel safe, when things feel nourishing, when things feel cold, when they feel scary, when they feel not right, when we start getting insecure, where we feel ashamed, et cetera, et cetera.
The Big Question
We sense those things. That’s the quality of discrimination where we can actually feel the big question and this is what I teach, is the biggest number one question. If you’re looking for really wonderful love, the question is, does my soul feel safe with this person? Of course, there’s a million other questions, but when we lead with that question, our world changes period, the end, unequivocally and amazingly true.
So often we tell ourselves, “I’m just being too sensitive. I have to get over this,” when we’re with someone who is kind of like criticizing us, or somehow devaluing us, or maybe not able to listen to what we say, and give us a sense that these very personal things we’re saying are actually held, heard and cherished. And so we tell ourselves, “I’m being too sensitive. I have to try harder. I have to give more. I have to forgive. I have to let this go,” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and we lose the track of our clarity.
I heard it described in a wonderful book for psychotherapists, it was a book called the Uses of Countertransference. He said, “As therapists, we need to really notice the exquisite nuances of what we feel when we’re with a client, because those tell us so much.” And sometimes we don’t listen to that. We say, “Maybe that’s my stuff. I’m not going to listen to that.” “But if we do that too often,” he says, “it’s like someone who is a safe cracker who loses the sensitivity of their fingers, where they can hear those tiny, tiny clicks that help them unlock the safe.”
Your Path to Love Requires Trusting Your Discrimination
For us, listening to the tiny clicks; clicks of nourishment, clicks of disappointment, clicks of hurt, and honoring those is really an act of strengthening of self. The piece that I think needs to get stronger is trusting our discrimination. When I look at the kind of broad vision of kind of the many, many, many people that I’ve worked with in my private practice, and in my courses and classes and intensives, I think that more people discount their discrimination, then people overreact based on their discrimination.
Not that that doesn’t happen too, almost as much, but I think the bigger issue is the not listening to the subtle registering of what feels right and what doesn’t feel right. What feels safe to our soul and what doesn’t. So that’s an area that needs to be strengthened. But this takes so much wisdom, and that’s why the skills of dating are really the skills of love. Because, where is it that it’s discrimination and where is it that it’s actually a reflexive, judgemental quality to protect ourselves? Where is it really that we’re being forgiving and open and accepting in a good way?
Where is it that we’re accepting something that we shouldn’t be accepting? That’s why this truly is a wisdom journey. That’s why I deeply encourage people to take on different practices that will help you find your own inner wisdom. Like the Inner Mentor™ process helps me every single day, and that’s episode three. It helps me every single day to figure out what’s intuition and what’s defense. My friends do that as well and that’s another place.
Your Path to Love Is a Rich Intimacy Journey
Our friends who have wisdom and really truly love us, five minutes with them will be the equivalent of an hour of trying to figure things out on our own in many, many cases. The importance of being able to talk to friends who know us and trust us is amazing. Practices to help us get in touch with our intuition. That’s why this is an intimacy journey and such a rich intimacy journey.
We’ve talked about so many things today. And I want to just encourage you to just take a minute now and think, what one thing hits you the most? Just hold that to your heart and hold it to your intentions, because that’s your baby. If you take that out of here and do something with that, results will absolutely come your way.
Thank you for listening. So glad to be with you again, and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Deeper Dating podcast. And remember, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com, and when you go there, if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get a free gift of an eBook called The Five Keys to Deeper Dating. You can also get the first two chapters of my book, Deeper Dating, which teach you how to discover your core gifts, something else we’ve talked about a lot in this podcast. Thank you again so much and have a great week.
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Thank you so much for this inspiration and knowledge; it is so overwhelming amazing and something I will treasure. All the best. Diane Massion
Appreciate your writings and sharing! Glad you make the connection between wisdom teachings with the development of softening/strengthening in the context of dating and intimacy. Thanks for these hard-earned gifts of heartfelt teachings.