More Intimacy In Relationship
I don’t know anyone who would not want more intimacy in relationship. I often write (and preach…) about how our unconscious is running the show most of the time.
Understanding how it is constantly nipping at your heals reveals a hidden secret to making relationship work better.
One evening while in dance class dancing with my partner I had an experience that perfectly illustrates how the unconscious mind or implicit memory system can communicate hidden beliefs that interfere with healthy relationship communication and blocks more intimacy.
I want to share that experience with you in hopes of shedding some light on why we, as human beings, end up in conflict and don't understand why.
Here is the situation. We were practicing a pretty complex west coast swing move at the time. It was the type of move where I had to rotate my partner a certain direction and ideally we keep a certain amount of tension between us to make us spin easier.
What I noticed was she was rushing the spin. (This is the important part of the lesson.) In that moment I blurted out with a tone "you're rushing it" and she blurted back "you're turning me!"
Well in that moment I said to myself, "that was interesting" and realized it was the first time we actually had some emotional tension between us since we started dancing together a month or so ago. I knew there was a "charge" behind my communication and she picked up on it.
As a side note realize it doesn’t matter who said what in any argument or fight. What matters it where you want to go with the conversation after you’ve been triggered.
The next day, in my meditation practice I played it back over and over again – feeling into what was going on for me in that moment.
I came to the conclusion that I have a belief that I won't get my needs met unless I communicate what I want in a "tough guy" or "I'm right you're wrong" tone.
This style was pretty typical as a youngster in my family growing up so this awareness didn't surprise me. Not a great way to induce more intimacy in any relationship!
Now, day-to-day when I'm relaxed and conscious, I don't speak that way to people. But in the moment of this challenge or stress I was facing, my unconscious belief leaked out from long ago.
"It doesn’t matter who said what in any argument. What matters it where you want to go with the conversation after you’ve been triggered."
The beauty of noticing my reaction and "owning" my belief around how to get my needs met, I can now bring awareness to the moment when I'm a little more stressed and change that unconscious mental model.
In the future, I can try different ways of communicating to see if my needs get met and invalidate the old belief. (My experience also tells me it may take several times before you get it right so don't be too hard on yourself if you make the same mistake a few times)
To summarize the key points for more daily intimacy:
- Unconscious beliefs will "leak out" under moments of stress and are the beginning of why we lose more intimacy
- It's up to each of us to notice them, reflect on the related needs trying to be met, then create new mental models for the future that are more effective
Homework For More Intimacy (If your willing)
- Today, or over the next few days notice how you respond to people.
- Notice your tone, notice your bodily sensations that offer clues that something may be going on out of your awareness.
- Then reflect on moments where you responded less than optimal.
- Ask yourself "what needs are trying to get met?" and is there a better way of communicating my needs that will serve me and other better?
The payoff for becoming aware of our unconscious beliefs or habituated patterns is monumental.
The more your practice it will become second nature then you'll wonder how you ever operated without the practice. My goal is for you and your closest friends and family to live a life full of love and fantastic relationships so please share these articles with them so they can benefit as well.
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Also, please post your comments below and ask what questions you may have so you and others are encouraged to learn from each other.