There’s a resource in our search for love that trumps absolutely everything else: it’s our intuition! But sometimes, what feels like intuition is just bad judgment laced with really clever rationalizations! How can we learn to trust our intuition more fully and wisely? And how do we know when we’re better off not trusting our gut? Learn more in this important episode.
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Table of Contents
The Single Greatest Resource In Your Search For Love
And How To Know When To Distrust It!
What’s the single greatest resource for us in our search for love? What’s the one big risk in trusting that resource? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.
Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, the host, of course, of this podcast and the Cofounder of Deeper Dating Online. I am so glad to be here with you. Today, we’re going to be talking about the single greatest resource in your search for love, and the one risk in trusting that resource.
Lots more on that in a minute. Every week, I’m going to be sharing with you the greatest skills and insights I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. If you want to learn more about this approach, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com to get a transcript of this, and every other episode, and to join my mailing list and get a free gift. I also want to say that this is not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. I also want to say that if you like what you’re hearing here, it would be a wonderful thank you to subscribe and to leave me a review. Thank you for that and let’s jump in.
I really do think that the single greatest resource that we have in our search for love is our gut-level sense of what feels right and what feels wrong. It’s a powerful and profound thing, how we don’t listen to that and some of the voices that we have inside us that tell us not to listen to our discrimination.
Our voices like these, “You’re too sensitive. You want too much. You ask for too much. You’re not strong enough. You’re not feminine enough. You’re not masculine enough.” All of the different voices that we use that are an act of quiet violence against our being and against our discrimination. What we see in our country today is a vast amount of people not trusting the discrimination voice inside of them that says, “Our administration is corrupt, is unsafe, is being led by a narcissist with values that I would never, never want to teach my children.” I see this in so many ways and in so many different dimensions in my role as a coach and as a therapist.
So many times, people are in relationships that are what I call attractions of deprivation. I hear the same lines, “But he was only joking, he didn’t mean that. But other partners would do worse things. He’s better than my last partner. No, I think I’m just too sensitive. No, I know he shouldn’t have acted that way or she, shouldn’t have acted that way, or they, shouldn’t have acted that way, but I also know that I did this and that to spark that bad behavior.” All of the ways that we oppress ourselves when our guts say, “Something is wrong here with the person I’m dating in terms of their character.” This is something I say all the time.
I quote Hara Marano, my dear friend and the advice columnist of Psychology Today, when she says, “There are three Cs that we need to remember that are keys to finding healthy love. Those are Character, Character and Character.” We feel it inside when there’s a sneakiness. We feel it when there’s dishonesty. We feel it when there’s a cutting-edge of coldness or cruelty, even if it’s subtle. With some people, they’re very skilled at demeaning us. It almost feels like a paper cut where when it happens, you don’t even feel it but afterwards, you go back and you realize that really stung. Just like with a paper cut, you might not feel it right away but then you realize it’s stinging. Our discrimination tells us so much more than we give ourselves credit for.In dating, how do we know when to trust our feelings and when they lead us astray? Click To Tweet
What I’ve been talking about in this portion has been our discrimination of what doesn’t feel right. There’s also our discrimination about what does feel right. What does feel like what I call an attraction of inspiration? An attraction of inspiration is one in which you’re not hooked because you’re trying to get the other person to behave better or love you fully. You’re hooked because of the person’s goodness and decency, because of how they inspire you, with how they treat you and who they are in the world and that is quite simply the path to happiness and love. It’s very binary. When we choose integrity, goodness and generosity over sneakiness and dishonesty, selfishness, lack of ability to give and lack of ability to commit. When we make that decision that we are only going to choose those qualities of inspiration, only, only, only.
First of all, it’s brave as hell because all the voices come up that say, “Then I’ll never be with anybody,” but the truth is that when we tell ourselves that, what we’re really saying is, “I have to go against the intuition and judgment that I have inside, that cringes at certain things, that feels really off about certain things, that knows I don’t want to be treated in this way. There’s a grave, grave kind of repercussion to dishonoring our own gut-level sense of what feels good and what doesn’t feel good. When we make the decision that we are only going to pursue people of wonderful character who treat us really well, who make our hearts and souls feel safe. I promise you, no matter what your age, no matter what your life circumstance, I promise you that those people are out there.
When you make that commitment and you shut the door to the things that just feel off in terms of character to you, and you only search for the things that feel inspiring in terms of character integrity, availability, when you make that choice, your future changes. Those are the people who you meet, who years later, still are so in love with their partner and it’s mutual. You feel the joy and the amazingness of what they’ve created. Those are attractions of inspiration. Those are the only ones that can last and grow in that beautiful, beautiful way and we’ve all seen both kinds of relationships.
There’s also a grander, more meta-level of this, which is that when we learn to dignify those things that make our heart feel safe and we learn to discriminate around the things that make our heart feel unsafe. When we learn that skill, we finally understand our core gifts. We finally understand our unique genius. We finally find a user’s manual to this ongoing, absolute, beautiful mystery of who we are. There are certain arenas where we cannot trust our intuition or discrimination as well and I’m going to be talking about those in a few moments, but I want to say more about this way of living that I’m talking about. This way of dating and this way of looking for love and building love and being intimate because in an intimate relationship, there’s a constant process of what’s called rupture and repair.
We cannot repair the micro and sometimes the macro ruptures that happen in an intimate relationship if we can’t trust ourselves and find words for what doesn’t feel right. Here’s another thing. When we don’t trust ourselves about what doesn’t feel right, it’s a kind of violence against our authentic self.
Violence begets violence. It’s either going to be violence against our self where we trust ourselves less and less and sabotage ourselves in a variety of related ways and/or we become passive-aggressive like that thing of pushing a beach ball down and it’s just underwater and it just doesn’t stay down forever. Our needs and our truth still get spoken, but they don’t get spoken with kindness and clarity. Without kindness, we meet resistance and wounding. Without clarity, we are profoundly weakened when we can’t speak the truth of what we’re experiencing. It’s that beautiful thing that I say all the time from the 12-Step Program, “Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t say it mean.” There’s a lifetime of learning. just in that.
These are the things that happen when we dishonor our discrimination. Here’s an exercise that I talk about a lot that you can do anywhere and everywhere, but you can certainly do it on a date., Which is you’re with someone and here’s what’s going to happen. Your head is going to be having whatever chatter it has, and that chatter is going to be focusing on something different or focusing on a whole range of different things, some valuable, some less valuable. When you drop down from the chatter into the place of, “What am I feeling in my inside? What am I feeling deep down? What’s the weather like inside my heart, in my interactions with this person?” We noticed that there’s going to be vastly valuable information when we drop down to that level, and that’s that level of deeper discrimination in our connecting with other people.
What Do We Do When We’re Stuck
Now, I’m going to talk about something that is another kind of aspect of our intuition that’s a huge, huge deal, and that is, what do we do when we’re stuck in our dating life? What do we do when we’re stuck in our romantic life? What do we do when we’re stuck in a relationship? Of course, we’re going to get stuck in all those ways lots of different times because this is life. It’s supposed to happen and it’s at those crossroads that wisdom is built and created, or defensive patterns are reenacted and strengthened. What we want to do at those charged crossroads is enact new patterns based on wisdom, truth, self- honoring and kindness to our self and to other people. It’s a whole rewiring that’s so preciously important, but it’s not easy to do.
This is the piece of intuition where when we live in a way that we’re honoring who we are, we are permeable to the breezes of inspiration and insight and intuition that we wouldn’t otherwise be. We’re walking down the street and we’re in this place, which I call the gift zone, where we’re connected to the beating heart of our humanity. We don’t have to be right there, but we’re not too far from it, and that’s the magic zone. That’s the zone where amazing things come from. We’re walking down the street and we’re in that zone, and we have an insight about someone we love. We have an insight about our career. We have an insight about our health. In that kind of space where there is space, where we’re somewhat focused but also just in a kind of looser place. There’s just a lot of wisdom that can come at those moments.When we're frightened, our fear masks itself as intuition. Click To Tweet
I actually teach a process in Episode Three, which I call perhaps the greatest practice of all to help you speed your path to love. It’s called the Inner Mentor Process™. It’s a beautiful process to tap into that deeper wisdom, to those kinds of breezes of inspiration. I do it every day and it helps me to get out of struggle focus and into gift focus. Every day, it reminds me of the good things. It reminds me of the through-line of what I’m trying to create. Today, I was thinking that kind of my life is I like to lead it like doing Parkour, which God knows I can’t do, but that experience of kind of having a gap between you and what you want and you have to jump to the nearest ledge of what feels right and good. There’s this leaping that has to happen when you’re creating your own path in the world because there’s not a path marked for you. You have to leap from inspiration to inspiration. I think for me, that’s a wisdom lesson that I learned just today from my inner mentor about how to live my life around certain big professional choices that I’m making now.
I deeply encourage you to listen to Episode Tthree. In a nutshell, what it is, is picturing the person you are born to be like the unfolded you. The you on the other side of all of your inner glass ceilings. This evolved enlightened version of you. You picture that you and then you do a fantasy where you become that you, and then from that place, you look at the you of today and you call out messages of guidance and wisdom from the heart of that place. I can pretty much promise you that you will bypass almost every drop of self-criticism and the streaming messages that you will get will be just beautiful. I do encourage you to check that out if you’d like to do that. All of this is under the category of being able to listen for inspiration, because life is so hard and love is so hard and love is again made up of so many challenges and conundrums, and encounters where you and the person you’re with are speaking very different languages.
This is so much the heart of love. If we can kind of jump in that Parkour kind of way from our moments of inspiration, “I get what was going on there,” or “I see what was in their heart that I didn’t see before,” or “Now, I see why I felt the way I felt. I’m honoring that. I’m understanding it.” These are the messages of inspiration. No matter how good your dating coach might be, no matter how good your therapist might be, and I say this as a dating coach and as a therapist, I don’t think there’s anything to match the native beauty of your inner mentor and your own inner intuition.
When To Distrust Your Intuition
Now, I want to say something about when it’s a little riskier to trust those voices. When it’s riskier to trust those voices is when there is trauma, when there’s really highly, highly charged material. Absolutely, if there are any untreated or undertreated psychiatric conditions and absolutely, where there are addictions. These are places where, as wonderful as our intuition is, it can’t necessarily be trusted. I’ll share one story with you. In the early days of AIDS, I was so worried that I was infected and I was way too afraid to get tested because it was a death sentence then. It was scary and I was young. Of course, it was deeply terrifying, but I was too afraid to get tested
I remember one night having a dream, and in this dream, I saw a bottle that was filled with the HIV virus tipping into my body and I knew that the retrovirus had begun its actions inside my body. I knew this so deeply. I felt it down to my bones. Now, I ended up being HIV negative, but when I woke up that morning I felt like, “Man, this was my intuition. This couldn’t have been anything other than my intuition.” When we’re frightened like that, our fear masks itself as intuition. When we’ve been traumatized, if there’s an arena where there’s trauma, and all of us have been traumatized to different degrees, and they say that there’s ‘small t’ trauma and ‘large T’ Trauma. All of us have had a lot of ‘small t’ small trauma and many of us have had ‘large T’ large Trauma in our lives. One of the hallmarks of trauma is that our thinking is impaired when we’re in the throes of that trauma. It’s like when you hit your funny bone and your entire being is activated. You can’t really think straight for a moment. I mean that’s a very benign example of what PTSD is like or what it’s like to feel the reverberations of trauma because that’s such a deep, deep thing. When we’re experiencing trauma, that’s a place where our intuition will be shut down. One of the hallmarks of trauma is black and white thinking. If you find you’re stuck in a place of deep either/or thinking, there’s probably some trauma there.
In intimacy, so many of us have been sexually abused or violated or had boundaries crossed and so for so many of us, there’s trauma in that way. So many of us have been traumatized by our cultures and attitude towards sex. So many of us have been traumatized around our gender identity, our sexual orientation. These are all the arenas where there’s a lot of trauma and where there’s trauma, our natural capacity to hear real wisdom is dramatically reduced. In the 12-Step Program, they call these areas neighborhoods in your mind where it’s not safe to be alone and that’s what these spaces are. These are spaces where we cannot really trust our own judgment and we know because we’re triggered. When we’re highly triggered, that’s the time not to listen to our gut or our intuition, but to know that in the majority of cases at a time like that, our thinking will be skewed by our trauma. Our thinking will be skewed by an intensity of charge that we have around a particular subject. In psychotherapeutic terms, they call that overdetermined. It’s got extra pressure toward a certain direction.
There’s another arena as well and I’ll talk in a minute about what to do about this, because we all have many areas like this, and it’s an act of wisdom to know, “Maybe here, I can trust my intuition and there, I need to get some help and support.” Another arena is in the arena of addiction. If we have any significant addictions, we will not be able to trust our thinking or our actions until we address that and become sober and not what they call white- knuckling sober, but sober with support. Because what happens in those cases is that every time, we hit a point of rupture, we instantly go back to whatever the substance or behavior is to help kind of medicate our pain and our suffering. When we do that, we rely on that defense instead of having that deeper learning and growth of repair that has to happen.90% of people who try to change an entrenched behavior fail. The people who succeed are the ones who have a community of support. Click To Tweet
For anybody who’s listening to this, who’s been saying, “I think I drank too much. I think I smoked too much weed. I think I have like maybe a porn addiction or a gambling addiction.” I would have to say that the greatest act of love that you could give yourself almost before anything else is to get help. I personally deeply believe in the 12-Step Program. I think they’re incredible and supportive, and I recommend them to my clients all the time, and I’ve used them in my own life. I think they are a beautiful, beautiful wisdom path, but there are many different paths out there. That’s something to be aware of. I say this to people all the time, if you have an active addiction, all of the lessons that I teach here won’t stick. You’ll end up back where you were because your thinking is not and your intuition will not be reliable or trustable. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but I just think these are important, important empowerment principles to really know. For all the places where we are just highly charged, the secret is to find, and there’s research on this that makes this really clear and really explains why this is, but the secret is to find a path around this stuck area that makes sense to you and feels wise and true, and then follow that path, but not alone, with support, with professional support, with peer support. Follow that path with support so that you can fail again and again and again in the company of caring people, and then pick yourself up and rewire again and again and again.
Ninety percent of people who try to change an entrenched behavior fail. The people who succeed are the ones most often who have a template that they believe in and some kind of community of support where they can kind of screw up and explore, screw up and explore. That could be as simple as a buddy that you check in with. In my book, Deeper Dating, and in all of my courses, I always encourage people to have a learning partner because the deeper dating process is a kind of very systematized journey of learning the deeper, wiser approach to finding love, but it’s too hard for most of us to do it alone. I just want to say the vast importance of getting help, even though you just feel like, “Let me try again. This time, I know I can do it with my willpower,” but really, really, really, almost never. Willpower, when it comes to an entrenched pattern, is one of the weakest tools in our toolbox.
As I always say, also for any of you who are experiencing significant psychiatric conditions that, I don’t mean mild anxiety, mild depression, I mean kind of more serious conditions that don’t feel stabilized. Please get the help that you need to stabilize those conditions because whatever path you choose to take because until you do, you’re going to keep reverting back to old patterns and you won’t be able to help that. These were the caveats, but they’re good caveats because they’re all about getting wisdom and support at those junctures where you know you need help. You will know, I think in many cases where your intuition has something really good to say because it’ll fill you with the sense of strength, wholeness. You’ll really sense that you’re not running away from the truth.
There might even be like a salty kind of nitty-gritty quality of reality to it, but there’s a sense of hope and there’s a sense of direction. It gives you a fullness inside but you know it’s not hiding from reality fullness. It’s a fullness that really feels like a gift. When you feel that, it’s that richness. It’s a kind of very dimensional, wonderful feeling of richness inside, of intuition, of inspiration, of a connection to yourself. When you feel that, that is a really great thing and the guidance that you get in most cases will be really, really helpful.
With the things that I described, the addiction, the psychiatric conditions, which are unstabilized or undertreated, the things that you might think are intuition often just feel like fear or defensiveness, or you feel really prickly, or you feel really reactive. Now, it doesn’t mean that you might not be right to feel those things, but what it does mean is that this is a place to get help.
That’s a great thing of wisdom to know when we can trust and connect to this beautiful streaming sense of intuition and where we know that we’re just kind of screwed up and we really, really need the support of the people we love. I think those are the wisdom paths.
I want to encourage all of you to take on this concept of tapping into the wisdom place in you. The place where you’re connected to the warmth and the beating heart of your humanity. Perhaps the inner mentor process where you envision the you that you’re meant to be, and you call out guidance from that place. The more that you trust those breezes of inspiration that you feel like, “My God, I’m getting something here. Something just opened up. I see something new. I have a new sense of hope.” The more you trust those and the more you create processes that allow for those pockets of inspiration, the richer your life will be, the more love there will be, and the more successful that you will be in your intimacy journey. Thanks so much for listening. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.