mindingmybiz

This blog is my shared process in working towards integrating self-awareness with all other aspects of life, while on my way to becoming more authentic and whole.

Archive for the tag “intimacy”

Self-Reflections on Real vs. Fake Confidence, In Relationships

I like who I am.  I genuinely do.  Yes, there are parts of me I feel more comfortable with than others, but they all make up who I am.  They all belong to me.  The sum of all my parts make up who I am; deep, passionate, caring, and completely lovable. Not everyone will see me in this way, at least not all the time. I don’t either, and I’m OK with that. 

Others have parts of themselves they’re uncomfortable with too, and when certain parts or emotions are expressed in me, it may provoke a reaction from others which illuminates how they feel or interact with their own similar parts.  It’s very rarely personal, but almost always revealing of how one holds certain parts of themselves, usually unconsciously.  That’s exactly why it isn’t personal, yet to the degree an individual can make space for all their parts it will impact the degree of intimacy or intimate-capacity they have for another.

In conflict, pivotal opportunity arises.  The opportunity to strengthen a connection by showing up with openness.  When the struggle (and it’s often a struggle, hence the conflict) to do this is self-acknowledged, compassionate curiosity can soften the edges.  

As a type 6 on the Enneagram, I can detect extremely subtle emotional energy, for better or for worse.  You see, emotions tell on us. They reveal what we tell ourselves about ourselves, and what we tell ourselves about others, all at lightning speed. Curiosity engages with this process and slows it down, because it all happens so rapidly. Slowing the speed down serves to prevent defensively disengaging and shutting down the process, or reacting to it by going on the offense against whatever or whomever we feel defensive towards. What often happens when we don’t consciously slow down to reflect, is a missed opportunity at best, and a self-sabotaging repeat of things we’ve later come to regret.

When an individual shows up with a non-defensive presence and can attune, or meet me where I’m at with sincere, non-judgmental engagement i.e. empathy – it is extremely subtle but profound. This is how intimacy is built, and it is also where it is lost if someone cannot engage with this process. The capacity to be intimate and emotionally available with themselves, and therefore with others is what’s illuminated in these moments. And with that, the opportunity to grow. And, there is always room to grow individually and relationally.

When the opportunity is seized, it’s truly a gift.  A gift that’s birthed in imperfection. It’s a privilege to witness this. What I’m witnessing is another sacred human’s strength and profound trust in themselves, and the impact of being trusted by them as well. There’s risk involved. I want to show up as honestly and authentically as I can, there’s little room for perfectionism in this process.

The natural slower rhythms of synchronicity within this level of intimacy spring from doing enough of this on an individual level first. When two individuals mutually cultivate this kind of space between each other there’s a shared protectiveness and enjoyment, and it’s quite nice and quite rare! So, treasure it.

And while enduring the experiences where there’s a lack of synchronicity, I’m learning to not take the misattunements personally.  It’s more than likely a ripple effect of the rapid past-time insecurities, anxieties, and defenses at play. The key word is: rapid. It cannot be overemphasized how important slowing down is, in order to engage in this process productively.

In certain cases you may find yourself in isolation when it comes to having the intention to evolve, and strengthen your own self and the relationship. When another individual (of which you have no control over) is more invested in their ego boosting their self-esteem, they will defend and resist with great effort. It’s hard to believe because it feels so personal, and it is, but it’s not about YOUR personhood, it’s about theirs. Their very own sense of self-esteem is dependent on a false self (ego) to feel secure, and there is rigidity, not flexibility, in the ego. It’s ego-preservation vs. self-preservation.

When the True self is the one fueling self-esteem, there’s an openness that emerges because the True Self, knows itself and all of its parts (the good the bad and the ugly) can belong so clearly to itself regardless of how anyone may react. It’s an integrated Self that is self-accepting.

So when you experience resistance, understand this is where you can also grow. And to be clear, resistance and defensive reactions can range anywhere from avoidance to fleeing to going on the offense by becoming either passive-aggressive or blatantly aggressive. This is indicative of ego-preservation, that results from having a fragile source of self-esteem (the ego).

When (not if, but when) this happens, you’ll have an opportunity with yourself to get very clarifying information around your own ego-preservation activities, which we all have to different degrees, and of different levels of awareness and intensity depending on how your personality operates (read up on Enneagram). The cracks in your own armor around this may likely get exposed.  Ouch. And welcome to the human race, once again. How you respond has impact. Invite yourself to become empowered.

Some of us are more easily duped by our egos than others. To those who have very sophisticated egos when it comes to self-awareness and where we are on our growth maps, you may want to ask yourself some discerning questions:

  • Do you value or dismiss what’s triggering you? 
  • Do you engage in vulnerable and compassionate self-reflection, sharing this with at least one individual who will challenge and vet your narrative?

If not, you’ll stay stuck and your evolution will pass this opportunity by, and will return again and again until you’ve worked this through to completion.  And, may then visit your descendents for the opportunity to evolve in the next generation.

Little by little, (which is the pace that organic life grows) you’ll stretch your window of tolerating discomfort as you receive these Divinely inspired opportunities to say yes to building a sense of genuine self-confidence that stems from grace and truth.

This is how ultimately how I see adult development works, whether I like parts of it or not. 

“But, what good is that?”

We’re currently in the midst of a pandemic. “Normal” isn’t happening. In times like these, I find there to be an “illumination effect” in revealing what lurks in the shadows of everyday distractions. Take away the distractions, the daily routines and “normalcy” – you’ll find things you didn’t see or feel so clearly. Or, at least it was more conveniently overlooked. It’s in this space, I wrote this poem regarding my own intimate relationship and taking its pulse, within me.

“But, what good is that?”

I want to share myself as authentically as I can, being fully who I know I am. – With him.

But, what good is that?

I want adventure! I want to be fully awake and alive; spiritually and emotionally, not just physically! – With him.

But, what good is that?

I want to be challenged and stretched graciously yet persistently, to reach for new heights and new depths! – With him.

But, what good is that?

I want to bust free from this goddamn smothering straight-jacket of “status quo” and “fitting in” for crumbs of superficial validation. – With him.

But, what good is that?

I want us to become who we were divinely created to be, not merely who we’ve been “tamed”, “conditioned”, or “raised” to be. – With him.

But, what good is that?

I want to be wildly free, from this cage of mediocrity. – With him.

But, what good is that?

What my heart and soul long for is closeness, beyond merely physicality. – With him.

But, what good is that?

My pursuit and fight for intimacy is a result of an ongoing experience of a partner who resists intimacy, and me resisting his resistance. This is resulting in regression and degeneration – the opposite of what my heart longs for. – With him.

But, what good is that?

Why, do you keep asking me this? I’m trying to have intimacy!

But, what good is that?

The merry-go-round of resistance keeps me from what I’ve been terrified of – acceptance and the grieving through accepting what is. There is shame wrapped up in the grief. This is my inner work of healing, which I’ve been unconsciously avoiding because it’s so damn painful and uncomfortable. We are apart, together. And together, apart.

Go in peace my dear child, grieve. – With me.

Soul Gardening

my writing inspirator

Relationships are like soul-gardens.  What’s lurking beneath the surface within the soil of the relationship will in time, be revealed in both people, in different ways and will impact and manifest in both individuals according to the uniqueness of each individual soul. 

Depending on how conscious both people are about which seeds are planted in their garden, you’ll either harvest something very close to your desires or, far from them. But, you will harvest whatever seeds have been planted and nurtured consistently. 

What do you want to harvest from your soul-garden? 

Think of this carefully…for the seeds you sow into your soul-garden (relationship) will also be what you reap within your own individual souls to varying degrees.  We are impacted by our relationships, and our relationships are impacted by how we perceive ourselves which in turn impacts how we show up in our relationships and treat one another. These perceptions seem small and insignificant (like seeds) but produce significant things. Think of an acorn.

Seeds have invisible power, naked to the physical eye. They hold immense energy though. Seeds are mini power-houses. What kinds of seeds are you planting into your soul-garden?  Let me say it again: Every seed will produce something, depending on the type of seed you sow.

Plant consciously.

These are some of the seeds we can plant in our soul-gardens (aka – relationships):

  • kindness
  • grace
  • patience
  • respect
  • compassion
  • vulnerability
  • authenticity
  • understanding
  • honesty
  • generosity
  • mutuality
  • passion
  • warmth
  • tenderness
  • sensitivity
  • affection
  • humility
  • freedom
  • responsiveness
  • awareness
  • openness/receptivity
  • curiosity
  • encouragement
  • inspiration

These are weeds we can also plant into our soul-gardens, which all start out in seed form:

  • judgmentalism
  • ridicule
  • defensiveness
  • competition
  • criticism
  • blame
  • withholding
  • distrust
  • shame
  • violation 
  • doubt
  • aggression
  • coldness
  • cruelty
  • secrecy
  • insensitivity
  • deception
  • apathy
  • unforgiving
  • hiding/inauthenticity
  • selfishness
  • control
  • diminishment
  • ignorance
  • resentment

What are you planting in your soul garden?  Get conscious about this, because your significant/intimate relationship is a soul garden. We are shaped by our relationships, and we can also shape our relationships by the seeds we plant. Seeds are powerful, and the more conscious you are of the seeds you plant, the more empowered you will feel as a co-soul-gardner.

Within your most intimate relationships – you have power which impacts how you experience your soul. We live in a soul-making universe, and it is my belief that the gardens of souls are intimate relationships.

Wanna Tango?

tangoIf you ever want to evolve and grow into your most authentic self — show up in your intimate adult relationship and highly VALUE the relationship and the other person, while valuing yourself all at the same time.  If you devalue yourself, your partner, or the relationship when you face adversity, it won’t grow you much, it will only stunt and restrict your growth.  If you’re OK with THAT- then be OK with not valuing this process enough to jump into the puddle when it rains and pours.  And then at least have the decency to communicate this to your partner – that you are signing up as a casual partner, not an intimate one.  If you want more – then jump in, the rainbow will come.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a romantic relationship either, as I’ve experienced deep growth in reciprocal friendships with my closest female friends, but romantic relationships sure heighten the intensity and turn up the heat like no other.  It may feel like an excavation and demolition project at times, but that’s when you know…you KNOW you’re dealing with REAL potential for true healing and growth if you and your partner can hang in there while staying emotionally present and honest, albeit doing it imperfectly along the way, yet not giving up on the relationship.  It’s worth it, but it ain’t for the faint at heart.

This is where iron sharpens iron like no other.  I cannot do this while being in a relationship where there is little to no reciprocity, or where there is inequality, because that is not much of a partnership.  There isn’t a superior or inferior position in the relationship, both partners and their experiences are equally valued.  An intimate relationship is much like an intimate dance between two partners, like the Tango, and it takes two – not one – to Tango, or it’s not a Tango, it’s a solo dance with a passive spectator.

As much as I like to dance solo from time to time, to feel free to move to the music in the way my body feels compelled to do without anyone else disrupting my flow, that is not what I want my intimate relationship with my romantic partner to resemble.  That is not an intimate relationship to me, though it doesn’t mean solo dancing never happens either.  Tango dancing is different from line-dancing, they both involve more than one person, but the interpersonal dynamics are much more riveting because you are vulnerable and so is your partner because of the interdependence involved in Tango dancing.  I am not a dance expert, but it doesn’t take an expert to notice how intimate the Tango dance is.  Line-dancing is two or more people dancing without deep interdependence, synchronicity -yes, interdependence, not so much.  When I think of Tango dancing, I think of integration that involves each individual’s uniqueness.  I don’t think you lose your uniqueness or distinct person-hood, you own it and incorporate it.  There is a unique type of unity in the Tango that shouldn’t be confused with conformity, which is what line-dancing is about – conformity, which is beautiful and takes skills to achieve, but it achieves conformity, not intimate interdependence.  In line-dancing, the other person can mess-up without it hugely impacting YOUR own dance moves, but in a dance such as the Tango, it will to varying degrees, impact YOUR dance moves, YOUR rhythm, YOUR groove and balance because there is up-close interdependence involved.  You cannot get away with playing the cavalier avoidant without courting disaster.

I’ve heard that good couples therapy can be as simple as taking Tango dance lessons with your partner.  The body talks without mincing words and it’s all about trusting your partner and yourself with both the right and left hemispheres of the brain (intellectually AND somatically/intuitively).  An intimate romantic relationship is all about giving and receiving, and the ripple effects of BOTH partners either moving or standing still.  This requires trust and repairing ruptures on a continual basis, while growing closer and closer together in the process.  It’s when this doesn’t happen for an extended period of time that the big betrayals are more likely to take place.  I personally don’t believe that major betrayals are immune from being repaired, but I think it’s in the “minor” or every day accumulative interactions that built, protect, and restore trust with major ruptures needing much more intensive actions and care than smaller ones of course, because the wound is much deeper.

A Tango dance – this is what mirrors an intimate relationship to me, a healthy one at least or the kind that I want.  Where I see and FEEL highly valued and relevant and so does my partner.  The relationship gets attention and nurturing or we lose track of each other and start stepping on one another’s feet, dropping one another when they need to be securely held, or leaving each other hanging.

I am learning all these things, sometimes painstakingly, because I have the gift of being in love and being loved in return where it looks like we are doing the figurative Tango with one another in how we relate or dance with each other day in and day out.  Being in tune with each other, and being conscious about nurturing and protecting this relationship while not having to carry the load on my own because it is a shared responsibility (not an obligated one) with my partner.  This is what makes adult romantically committed relationships work for me.  It is a gift that I thank god for every day – I have a partner to “Tango” with.

Post Navigation