The start of a New Year is an opportunity to reflect on what has been and set intentions for what will be. We live in the present moment, but dreams and desires for the future create focus for our lives. Without focus we are usually disappointed with the results of our efforts. If our wish is to experience a greater sense of love and fulfillment, a focus on authentic connection with others will help us create it. Last year around this time, I recognized a desire to communicate in relationships where I had been avoiding a topic because it felt uncomfortable to address. My aim was to notice when I felt resistance to share my feelings, take a look at the discomfort and find a path, however imperfect it may be, to express what I was feeling.
There were a few nagging situations where I was afraid to reveal myself, to show my vulnerability or risk a loved one’s disapproval, in order to express my experience and needs. I knew that withholding this expression was blocking energy flow not just in the relationships but in my life overall. These unspoken feelings subtly prevented me from being at ease with the person. My old way of operating was to think through what I would say in advance. The problem with this approach was that it was based on the past. It didn’t leave room for me to be present for what I was feeling in the moment and it got in the way of true listening. It also built up a big backlog of energy that, however softly delivered, had the potential to make the communication much more intense than it needed to be.
As an empathic person since birth, I had a pattern of reading people’s receptivity, feeling it in my body, and pre-determining whether it was safe to share information. It was a child’s survival mechanism that worked well before I had energy tools that created healthier boundaries. I didn’t want to disturb the peace and therefore withheld my feelings if it seemed that the person would be upset. Over a period of many months this year, opportunities presented themselves to practice a new way of communication. I had to give up believing that I could determine the right thing to say beforehand. I had to let go of the outcome. I had to own my vulnerability and risk being rejected. I had to accept that what I shared may not make the person feel good. But most of all I had to re-train my inner child who was feeling for the other and denying my own feelings. I had to give these intimate relationships a chance to meet the fully revealed me, rather than protect them from it. It wasn’t easy but it was worth the effort. In every case it renewed our relationships, set them on more solid ground.
My 2010 intention was born from desire to authentically relate with others. I have found that true connection, seeing another and being seen, is the most fulfilling aspect in life. We all yearn for this connection and unconsciously choose our actions based on our beliefs of how we can experience it. We can deepen our intimacy with the one’s we love through letting go of the assumptions that we are doing someone a favor by protecting them from the truth of our experience. When our aim is to generate love we can’t fail.