This episode will quite likely stir you in wonderful ways. It will teach you the path to gratification and away from emptiness. And you’ll learn what your deep-down self has been trying to tell you about love and intimacy, probably for a really long time. Get ready to learn some big things about yourself and affirming gift.
Here’s a practice that’s one of the most self-affirming things that you can do for yourself in your search for love. And it’s comprised of two questions that will stir you in the deepest ways. Stay tuned to The Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.
Hello everybody, I’m Ken Page and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m a psychotherapist and a coach and the author of the best-selling book Deeper Dating. And today, I’m going to be talking about what may be the most self-affirming gift that we can give ourselves in our search for love.
This week and every week, I’m going to share with you 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 and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life and if you want to know more about the deeper dating approach, if you want to hear about my upcoming classes and intensives or if you want a transcript of this episode, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll also get a free eBook of the four greatest insights that I know to help people transform their search for love.
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I also want to say that everything I’m going to share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please get help. And finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful thank you if you could subscribe and leave me a review on iTunes or elsewhere so thank you so much for that.
So let’s jump in. I think that kind of the tyranny of our day-to-day life of the mundane of our task lists, which can be just so endless, including the things in our task lists that are about self-improvement. And those things I know for me can just distract me from what matters most and when we get kind of strapped into the treadmill of these demands, inner demands and outer demands, we lose sight so easily of what might be the two most important questions that we can ask ourselves and those are what are my persistent longings and what brings me the deepest meaning and sense of gratification?
When we avoid these questions, which is all too easy to do, it kind of creates a cascade of bad consequences; tension, impatience, a loss of joy and a kind of gray toning of our world. But, there is an act of self-care that almost immediately brings meaning and color and warmth to our lives and this episode is going to teach you that practice.
The Sense of Deep Inner Comfort
All of us have times in our lives when we’re touched with a kind of sense of richer meaning or contentment or fun with loved ones or fun with ourselves and that kind of, maybe rare, but really delicious sense of deep inner comfort.
Sometimes, there are just moments of a kind of wordless, nameless gratification and maybe we don’t always even take the time to fully relish that or decipher its meaning. Jung said that, “all neurosis is a flight from suffering” and I think that’s incredibly wise, but I also think that,
A lot of neurosis is a flight from joy because joy is disturbing.
It’s unsettling. It shifts us from our homeostatic state of however happy we think we should be, or we have the right to be, or we deserve to be, and then it also creates this kind of superstitious terror of when is the other shoe going to drop. And it’s kind of destabilizing because it takes us out of our normal range of emotions, those kinds of deeper, more intense joys.
Portals to Happiness
So, we avoid them. But in fact, our moments of happiness, even the small ones, in a way, you could think of them as more than just moments. You could think of them as portals, because they make us happy in that way for a reason.
They make us happy in a way because they’re kind of touching cords of deeper meaning within us. And at other times, we may have a kind of sense of sadness or dissatisfaction or emptiness or longing and it’s so easy to experience those feelings as a kind of personal failure, but in fact, really in a way, they’re actually the reverse.
They’re a call to a richer, wider, deeper, more meaningful life. And when we keep pressing the snooze button on our longing, what happens over time is that we experience a sense of flatness.
It’s like a below the surface anxious emptiness and it taints the quality of our days and it makes us less available for intimacy, for joy. It makes us in less of a place where we can say yes to jumping into the options that life offers us.
Often when we feel joy or sorrow that is particularly sharp, or longing that’s particularly sharp, we turn down the volume because we’re just not used to it. Eminently understandable and turning down the volume might be a good thing to do like the psychotherapist Eugene Gendlin said,
“If you want to smell the soup, you don’t stick your face in it.”
Virtuous Cycle of Self-Love
Sometimes things are really hard to bear, but pretending that they’re not going on saddens us and diminishes us overtime and as I said, it makes us less available for the people we love and the options for love that exist in our lives.
But, when we heed those messages, the kind of messages embedded in our moments of joy, and the calls embedded in our longing, we kind of initiate a cascade of positive consequences.
There’s a sense, maybe not immediately, but then there’s a sense of relief and gratitude and generosity and ease when our “deep in ourself” knows that it’s finally being listened to, and when our longings and our joys and those calls within us finally feel dignified by us, then we start a kind of virtuous cycle of self-love and we all know that,
Self love is at the heart of love of others, that it’s actually a dance back and forth, love with others teaches us self-love.
Often, we can’t learn self-love until we see the love in another person’s eyes. For us, maybe at a moment when we feel like we don’t really deserve it or we’re not feeling particularly loving toward ourselves.
This is a gift that we can give ourselves and when we do, we are much more capable of enjoying and growing the love that’s in our lives and of finding and nourishing new love. This is a really simple practice and it just takes minutes.
The Benefits of Micro-meditation
It’s what I call a micro-meditation, and I adore micro-meditations. I do them all the time and the thing that I always say is that I’m a giant advocate of sloppy spiritual practice. And I say that I have been meditating really almost 50 years and I’m a sloppy meditator with horrible concentration. But my meditations are absolutely amazing because I have been meditating badly for almost half a century and they started being amazing way before that.
It’s why I continued so you don’t need to reach half a century of bad meditating before you can have wonderful results. This tiny process is going to be really quick, but it’s going to help activate a kind of a cascade of feelings and experiences that come from self-love and it will do that maybe immediately or maybe over time.
This is a practice you could do right now as you’re listening, unless you’re driving and if you’re driving and you can keep your eyes open and your concentration going, maybe that’s okay too or you … It’s nice to do it when you’re not feeling rushed, maybe over a cup of coffee or a cup of tea, and you just take a few minutes and you rest and you just start out by kind of reflecting on the ripples of the feelings that you have inside no matter what they are, and as you begin to sense whatever feelings come up, and we can do this right now, just see if you could find words to put on them or if not words, maybe images or if not images, maybe a piece of music.
What Are the Daily Life Joys That Mean the Most to You?
Just take a moment or two to do that. And now, we’re going to ask two questions of ourselves and the first question is, and just kind of reflect on this, kind of roll this around in your thinking, in your head, in your heart, as we go. What are the daily life joys that mean the most to you?
What are the things in your day-to-day life that really give you a sense of personal meaning or gratification and the key here is don’t second guess your responses. They might seem silly or strange or superficial, but that’s really okay because they’re not.
If something feels true to you right now, just go with it. Let yourself think of some of those things, those daily life joys that just particularly gratify you……. and what if there was a message about who you are and what matters to you most embedded in those moments. What might that be? And what do you think your life would be like if you embrace those moments more fully and you honored them and dignified them and actually place them closer to the center of your days?
Just give them a little bit more care, a little bit more honor, a little more place at the table. Think about how you might be able to do that. Now, when you do do that, this is something really wonderful that happens.
An Act of Authentic Self-Love
Your deep insides, you might say your inner child, but a deep core, core early self starts to feel finally respected and listened to. There’s a kind of sigh of relief that happens. And in the blueprint of your life, the closer to the center that you place those joys, the more you will feel this kind of sense of authentic success.
Every conscious action that you take toward giving those joys a more central place in your life is an act of authentic self-love, and the deep inner self registers that, and it says, “I’m being respected, I’m being listened to.” And a fascinating thing is the degree to which that tender, vulnerable, deep inner self feels listened to, to that degree, the walls against intimacy, the walls against connection with the world will begin to melt. Those walls that we may feel so frustrated by, these walls that block us from connection.
They begin to melt and there are reasons for that that we won’t go into here too much except to say that that young, early, deep, central self, if it thinks you’re not going to take care of it, it takes care of itself by creating things like walls. Things that are called primitive defenses, out of our control. And it’s our deep inside self taking care of itself because it feels like we’re not going to do that well enough.
The gift of doing this is that that part of us begins to relax. Here’s the next question. This is a great, great question. What longings persistently arise for you? Just take a minute to think about that.
What Are Some of the Persistent Longings You Have?
Maybe the longings that wake you up at 3:00 in the morning or the longings that you feel maybe when you first wake up or when you go to sleep or at different times during the day. What are some of the persistent longings that you have?
I think that naming and respecting our longings is maybe one of the greatest acts of self-affirmation we can give ourselves and yeah, longing hurts, it aches, it burns, but really, the more it burns and the more it aches, that just means the more urgent its message is.
We do need to watch for the tendency to minimize our longings or ignore them. And the ones that keep coming back, the ones that keep whispering or shouting to us are the ones that we really need to urgently listen to and often, they are about love.
Imagine this. Imagine building a plan for your life that places those longings in a place of real importance and that one of your goals becomes to meet the needs of those longings, but the first thing we have to do is to think about what those patterns of longing are.
What is it that you’re longing for again and again? For what does that longing come up? Take a moment to think about that wonderful and rich question. It’s so easy to want to ignore those longings because they’re haunting and they’re painful and they make us say, “Oh damn, what am I screwing up here? What am I not doing? What am I failing in so miserably?”
Learn to Dignify Your Longings
But in fact, as I said, one of the most powerful things we can do is instead, learn to dignify our longings. Our longings are some of the greatest gifts we have. They are a homesickness for the things that matter most. And so many of us spend so much of our mental energy avoiding or deflecting our responses to those very two questions.
But if you think about it, if you think about what it would be like to put that longing, the one that comes up again and again, that grabs at you, that whispers to you, that calls you to say, “Yes, I have that longing for a reason. It is not just an annoyance. It is not just a humming, annoying piece of electronic that I can’t shut up. It is in fact a homesickness inside me for what matters most and what can I do about that?”
Precious Questions You Need to Dignify
And so often, as I said, it’s about love. So what’s the love it’s about? That’s a really rich and important question. Is it about a broken relationship? Is it about the desire for a partner? Is it about for a sense of community?
These are precious, precious questions and they’re questions that deserve to be dignified by us. As you go through your week, I encourage you to notice what your persistent longings are and to start giving them more of a place in the voting table, a BIG place in the voting table of your life and to notice the moments of gratification too, and realize that those are portals to a place of deeper meaning.
These are two tools that will enrich your life and move you toward love and move you towards your greatness and your depth so thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed what you heard here, I’d really appreciate it if you could subscribe and leave me a review and you can go to deeperdatingpodcast.com to learn more about my work, my upcoming intensive, and to join my mailing list. Thank you for joining me and I’ll see you in the next episode.