It’s possible that most of us have never known true intimacy from the moment we came into the world. We’ve been labeled, 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. Rori Gwynne shows you how to communicate your deepest feelings even when we’re afraid of the consequences.
It’s possible that most of us have never known true intimacy from the moment we came into the world. We’ve been labeled, 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 our soulmate because we’ve never done it. We don’t know how.
When I was an actor, I did not have access to my emotions. 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 women how to express themselves. Sometimes, just not saying or doing something can trigger the real stuff. Sometimes, just not saying or doing something you’ve always done in the same situation will change the dynamic of your relationship 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 your man what to do, even though you know how to do it better than he does–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. In a book, it would sound 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, you’re 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 soulmate in record time. And there will be nothing to stop him from grabbing her and running with it.
What Tom Cruise does publicly over Katie Holmes is not bad, or weird, or bizarre. It’s the way men are supposed to behave when they’re in love — only we’ve all forgotten. We’re all embarrassed. We’re all afraid of intimacy. What would happen if we behaved as if we weren’t?