As part of reporting in on some homework (for Fundamentals in Vancouver early Sept) I am pleased to announce that I have gone on my dates, and, naturally, learned a lot about myself, what I do, what I feel, what holds me back, how to overcome that… and I promised to share, so here goes.
I seem to hold back on expressing my full authentic (the big, dynamic, vivacious, sexy, sensual, playful, direct, vulnerable, tender, mischievous) self for one of two reasons.
First case scenario: when I am on a date, feeling myself cutting off my toes and my heels so as to fit into the shoe, being nice (by the way I consider “nice” to be a four letter word) so as not to hurt his feelings.
- He is talking, about whatever, I am bored or irritated, or not engaged and he is not even noticing any of those things.
- The conversation is flat, or one-sided, he is assuming that I don’t know things without even checking in with me whether that is correct or not, he is talking at me like I am an audience rather than this being a dialogue.
- I am working super hard to make it seem smooth and, in fact, be bearable.
- He is too fast or too slow (too slow being more typically the case), too arrogant or too insecure (although those are probably cut from the same cloth, yes?), too distracted or too attentive, but never just right.
Bottom line: We are simply not compatible, and there is no MAGIC. In that moment (well it usually drags on for more than a moment), I feel guilty about feeling that way. Like I am somehow insulting him or being mean if I articulate that. Afraid that he hasn’t noticed that that is what is happening (which in and of itself, that lack of ability to track and say what is so, turns me right off) and so I am bursting a bubble of happy, naïve bliss by speaking my truth.
I think I am being kind (and I am starting to suspect I have a kindness saboteur – one who manipulated me by telling me that a certain action won’t be kind and so I had better not do the self-care that is needed), by bottling up my feelings and not speaking up and protecting him from being hurt by big, bad me. But this kindness is killing me (and killing my love life, in many different ways). And it is pretty insulting to him. But somewhere along the road I learned to cater to a man’s ego, to shore him up, to make sure he leaves the situation feeling better than he came to it, rather than feeling he didn’t measure up or he is not good enough. Perhaps it is a form of kindness, but it is also a disservice.
And that, in fact, is what turned me around on this last date. There I was biting my tongue almost to bleeding point, the usual line of thought running through my head: Maybe I shouldn’t say anything. If I can just hang on a few more minutes it will be over and he won’t need to know that it was painful for me. Smiles everyone!!
And I thought three things, almost simultaneously:
- if I don’t speak my truth, any truth, right now I will regret it and be so freaking mad at myself all day long;
- I am going to be a participant in an authenticity study, it is time to choose IN, and what would I do if she sent me a text right now, what would I try;
- I can be of service to this man, instead of leaving him wondering , I can leave him informed, I can help him and help the next woman who dates him by telling him what I am seeing…
This idea of being of service is so compelling to me (the perceptive shift I needed), that I put my coach hat on, reminded myself why I love the “In The Bones” course so much, and dove in. It turned out well, he was a gracious recipient of the feedback, my tongue didn’t have to bleed and I didn’t go away MAD at myself (so sick of that!!). YAY – a huge win all around.
Second case scenario: I have already done some blogging about this…
There is someone that I want to impress, with whom I am feeling the MAGIC, in front of whom I want to look good, or at least avoid looking bad.
- I want to seem together, not emotional, not vulnerable, not angry (even if it is justified), not sad or scared, not high maintenance or difficult, not demanding, not edgy, not dangerous, not audacious, not needy, not opinionated.
- I want to be not the full range of me. In other words, well, in the words of Brene (yes, I am feeling a bit on a first name basis with her, since I am in love with her), I want to fit in.
- I am selling out the “all” of me, so that this person accepts me. But even if it works, even if they do accept me, they are accepting a small part of me, this narrow little range, this one half (or less) of me. The reasonable me, the sensible me, the logical me, the together me.
And those of you who know and love me – know that this is just the tip of the iceberg . I come with the full package, of feelings and experiences. So in this case, I am protecting myself. Or so I think. So I try to convince myself. That it is safer and wiser. But this strategy backfires, because what I want to protect myself from is getting hurt, and from them thinking that I am not as fabulous as I am. But through employing this technique they can have no idea how fabulous I am, because I don’t show them. And that is the real hurt, that and them not choosing me because I am not me enough (yes, I have gotten feedback to that general effect). Deep Exhale!
And this scenario is where I struggle more to reveal myself, because in this case I already have a vested interested in the outcome. So really I need to find the way to be kinder to myself in this process . The other morning I had a chance to. Came so close. Went half way there. Even had universal prompters. Little gifts to nudge me over the edge to expressing my vulnerability. Still I resisted, still I went only half way. And so the experiment continues. But each time with less shame, and more love.
Where are you going half way with your vulnerability?
What are you doing to prompt and support yourself to express is all?