It’s possible that most of us have never known true intimacy from the moment we came into the world.
We’ve been labelled, taught, cajoled and prodded, been threatened by all forms of authority, told what’s true and what isn’t, and disrespected for everything from our feelings to our thoughts. Our relationships have been more about pleasing others than pleasing ourselves.
More about struggling and using our wits to get what we need and what we think we want than discovering what it is we really want.
Sometimes we need someone else to tell us that it’s okay to want what we want.
Sometimes we only accidentally discover that the person we really are, warts and all, underneath all the masks and games we’ve learned to put between ourselves and others, is truly loveable. It can change our lives forever, or remain a lost opportunity forever.
Someone sees us — really sees us — in a moment of accidental abandon and their heart fills up with love for us. We deny this possibility and push that someone away because we so don’t believe we are loveable.
Does this sound like you? It’s most all of us.
We can’t, or won’t get close enough to someone who may very well be a great partner for us because we’ve never done it.
We don’t know how.
When I was an actor, I did not have access to my emotions (pretty big skill limitation for an actor).
I could pretend fairly well, and it got me far –I could laugh nearly anytime, but I was completely detached from my anger and pain. An actor friend told me — “fake it til you make it.” Meaning, if I pounded the table hard enough and long enough with my fist, I’d feel angry. If I hit my hand with a hammer over and over again, I’d feel pain. I’d probably cry.
I use some of this “fake it til you make it” philosophy in teaching you how to express yourselves (and sharing all the techniques I discovered to find my feelings and dig deeper into the feelings and learn to express them no matter what) — because we’ve all already been pounding the table and hitting ourselves with hammers to feel bad, instead of finding and using new things to do that make us feel good.
Sometimes, just not saying or doing something can trigger the real stuff. Sometimes, just not saying or doing something you’ve always said or done in the same situation will change the pattern of your life forever. Change the dynamic in a relationship you may already be in — forever.
Trust creeps in, in small ways.
Intimacy takes hold in the spaces between words.
Not speaking not from your heart leaves room for speaking from your heart.
The next time you’re tempted to tell a man what to do, even though you know how to do it better than he does, or to even just tell him what you think — stop yourself. Stop talking. See what happens.
So what do you do when you’ve stopped talking?
How do you communicate anything? The simple answer is to use an “I feel” message. This sounds easy. But it’s probably something you don’t really have words for. Starting with “I feel” is the perfect start, but what then?
Go with what’s really there. Feel the floor under your feet. Feel the table in front of you. Feel your heart beat, your stomach gurgle, the tightness in your chest that’s there because you’re mad, or upset, or frustrated, or giddy, and you don’t know what to say.
Feel the most concrete, real, simple thing you can, and say that. Just saying, “I’m hungry” is better than “Let’s go to that little Italian place, okay?”
This is a game, you say. No, it isn’t. It’s the missing link. The missing piece that we never learned as children. We learned how to get along, how to influence others, how to look and do good, but we never learned how to even make contact with what we really feel, much less ever said it simply.
A woman who can say what she feels, simply, directly, passionately, with energy and conviction or matter-of-factness will find her man in record time. And there will be nothing to stop him from grabbing her and running with it.
Remember the public display Tom Cruise did over Katie Holmes? Well, that wasn’t bad, or weird, or bizarre. It’s the way men are supposed to behave when they’re in love — only we’ve all forgotten. They’re supposed to turn cartwheels. And they DO. But we’re all embarrassed. We’re all afraid of intimacy. What would happen if we behaved as if we weren’t?