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  • How to Make Your Sex Life Full of Depth and Meaning [EP030]
    There's a way to infuse your sex life with depth and meaning; with sweetness and heat. –and the results can radiate out and enrich your entire life. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating podcast to learn how.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Embracing Your Shadow Self
    Hello, and welcome to The Deeper Dating Podcast. I'm Ken Page, and today we're going to be talking about how you can make your sex life, whether you're single, coupled, or anything in between, more meaningful, richer, more emotionally powerful, and more sexually hot. Every week, I'm going to share with you the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. The skills of love are the greatest skills of all for happy life.

    Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Leave Ken a Review

    Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review
    You can also find the whole transcript to this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com. And if you're more interested in applying these ideas and this approach to your intimacy journey in a deeper, richer way, you can learn more about this by going to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You'll receive a free ebook, learn lots more about what I'm doing and what other people whose work I really respect are doing, as well. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational, not medical or psychiatric advice, and not treatment for any emotional, physical, or psychological condition. And if you're experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you're hearing here, it would be a fabulous thank you if you subscribe on Apple Podcast and left me a review. People are leaving such beautiful reviews that are just incredibly meaningful. I thank everyone who's done that. Thank you everyone who plans on doing that in the future.

    The Questions We Should Ask

    The Questions We Should Ask to Have Depth and Meaning in Our Sex Life
    Photographer: Dan Gold | Source: Unsplash
    Often, the questions that we ask of ourselves about our lives are what finally carve the shape of our futures. A really great question excites us, opens new doors, and invites compassion and curiosity. I've got two questions like that about sex. And your answers will teach you rich, rich lessons about your own sex life. This is for everybody, single, coupled, any relationship status at all, including asexual and anybody kind of wherever you are. These are rich questions about eros, for you, whatever that means. Because our sexuality is like an x-ray of our being, it teaches us so much about how we're organized. It teaches us so much about our mystery spots, our points of depth, the things that touch us and move us. Our sex life is kind of like a metaphor for our whole life, and we'll talk about that more. But, these two questions are simple. In fact, they're obvious. They're gentle. But like a lot of gentle things, they have the power to change us deeply. I think that's why we spend so much time avoiding questions like these. But, what I want to say is, just like with any adventure, the first consideration is safety. What I want to say to everyone is these are fabulous questions, but there's a primary foundational question. And that question is, "do I feel safe?" For people that have experienced sexual trauma, as you listen to these kind of really deep questions, be aware if there's a trauma kind of reaction and take care of yourself. You might want to stop listening if too much is triggered. You might want to get support if too much is triggered. I just want you to kind of honor the importance of safety.

    Inherent Safety Is Important

    Because without an inherent foundational sense of safety, nothing really works in deep intimacy, and nothing really works in really truly wonderful sex. So, here's the first question that I want to ask. The first question is, assuming that there is a sense of safety in the relationship, which means that you know you're not going to be forced to do things that you don't want to do. You know that you're going to be able to speak up and that there'll be space for you to speak up – during sex, after sex, or before sex, you know that there'll be space for that. You know that you won't be forced to do things that don't feel right to you and don't feel safe to you. Those are some of the prerequisites to a safe connection. Of course, the other one is just a general sense of safety, of deep safety with the other person. So these are really the foundational prerequisites to truly rich, wonderful, fabulous sex. You can have recreational sex that doesn't necessarily have those things, although I would absolutely say don't have sex unless you feel inherently and basically safe. But, those deep kind of safety things are not necessarily essential for recreational sex, and many people like to have recreational sex. I just want to make that clear and just say that inherent safety still is important. But for those of you who want depth and meaning, deeper emotional safety is necessary. So, here's one question, assuming this safety that is very powerful, and it's this: What touches you most deeply in sex? When I say what touches you, I mean what fills your heart? What makes you feel peaceful? What makes you feel full of love? What makes you feel loved?

    The Kind of Sex That Makes You Vulnerable

    What makes this mysterious thing happen in sex just has no words where you feel like your heart is filling. They are these deep emotions that don't have names or even words but you know you're deeply touched. Those fabulous things that you can experience in sex. I think that this question about what touches you most deeply in sex is one that every sexual adult should think about, reflect on, and relish. Interestingly, for reasons that I talk about in some greater detail in my book Deeper Dating, often the question of what touches us with depth and meaning in sex makes us more vulnerable than anything. Have you been emotionally touched during sex in a way that took you by surprise? Or have you been moved in sex to the point of tears or almost tears, or felt like a kind of sense of love that just overtook you?
    Have you ever had the feeling of lust and love fused together? Have you ever had the experience of sex leaving sex far behind?
    If you haven't experienced these things, imagine what it might be like. If you have, let yourself hold onto those memories because they're portals into what touches you most deeply. What allows that incredible synergy where you feel like something vast and deep is being touched in you, something really big. Your heart's being touched, you're also very turned on and in the moment with your partner. Try to think back. What happened to create those experiences? What could happen to create experiences like that? When you let yourself reflect on that, it's going to tell you worlds about who you are, what your deepest sexual gifts are. In another episode, we're going to use these questions to help you find out what your sexual core gifts are.

    Sex That Has Depth and Meaning

    Sex That Has Depth and Meaning
    Photographer: Marcelo Matarazzo | Source: Unsplash
    Are there parts of your body which when they're touched in a certain way just trigger very deep emotions for you? Is there a pacing in sex that moves you deeply, that touches you? And if you're partnered, what touches your partner, that you've noticed, most deeply in sex? These are all, as I said, questions to be relished. I'll share a story with you of a couple who are married now and at the time were boyfriend and girlfriend. The first time they had sex, the guy did something which felt really odd to the woman, which was they were having very enthusiastic sex. And in the middle of that really enthusiastic sex, he started slowing down, and then he stopped moving altogether. He just wrapped her in his arms, and he lay on top of her perfectly still. She was pretty sure that he hadn't climaxed, so she was confused, but she kind of went with the moment and they just lay motionless. Then, she felt something begin to kind of shake inside her, and she felt moved to tears. They held each other without kind of really knowing what hit them. That became like a hallmark that they had in their sex life for a lot of years to come. I think that in sex, just like in life, most of us are more wild and more tender than we really feel comfortable with. We're crazier. We color outside of the lines more than we're comfortable with, and we're tender and soft way more than we might want to admit. Those parts of us are where our glory lies. Both aspects of your sexuality are portals to your deepest self, your wildness, and your vulnerability, and tenderness.

    What Turns You On?

    The other question that I encourage you to ask is …
    What turns you on the most fully in sex?
    This is a wonderful and powerful self-discovery question. I think that the first kind of ring of this is just what turns you on, and you kind of know that already. The activities that turn you on, the things that excite you. We all know that to some degree. But then there's a deeper honesty about what would be the next step in exploring what would really turn us on. What ways of touching, of being touched, what kind of things? That takes a deeper level of bravery and self-truth. What is it that super excites me? That's something to think about even right now. What's the next level of richer, deeper turn-on? Does that have like a kind of forbidden fruit quality for you? Often, our sexual turn-ons don't match our self-image. We might fantasize about being sexually submissive, but that doesn't match who we think we should be, or maybe we feel humiliated by that desire. Maybe we think about being sexually dominant, but we feel afraid of who that makes us. Maybe the things that really excite us are a little embarrassing because we feel like they're just so vanilla, so universal, uninventive, and basic. We have these kind of shames around this stuff that really is the most deep turn-on for us. The thing is, when you're with someone and you can enact the things that turn you on the most in an atmosphere of love and care, and you know that that stuff excites the other person, too, it's just such a wild mutual gift. Whether our deep turn-ons are exotic or vanilla, it doesn't matter because they're portals to a deeper experience of sex and of self.

    Embracing Our Wild Side

    Embracing Our Wild Side
    Photographer: Andrik Langfield | Source: Unsplash
    The thing about sex is it captures our shadow self. So often, the things that really turn us on are poetic depictions of shadow parts of ourselves, parts of us that we haven't claimed yet. Very few of us have really been taught how to handle our most evocative sexual fantasies in a celebratory, nondestructive, sober, creative way. Often, we judge our colorful desires as odd or even perverse. My dear friend, David Schechter, who's a theater director and the lyricist for the Broadway musical Soul Doctor, kind of rescued the word perverse because he proposed a kind of twist to it. He said,
    "What if perverse means per verse, or through poetry? Because when we explore our wild side, we play in a landscape of sexual poetry. It's a world of inner personal symbolism that might never make conscious sense, but it still feels gratifying and it still feels meaningful."
    And the majority of us need help in embracing our wild side in sex like we need help embracing our most tender self in sex, and also in distinguishing between behaviors which are really harmful to us or our partner and those which are simply and wonderfully perverse. Take a moment to think about this. What kind of sex excites you the most? What actions? What body parts? What behaviors? What outfits? I always have had this fantasy that somebody could go to all different parts of the world, people of all ages, all backgrounds, the most traditional people, the most wild people, and ask them, on camera, which of course they wouldn't answer the truth, but in my fantasy they do, what really excites them and turns them on.

    An Experience of Mutual Delight

    I feel like you would see elderly people and people who seem like you would never expect this to come out of their mouth saying the most wild, fascinating, poetic, and crazy things because sex is built for that. Sex is built to hold our shadow side and kind of turn it into something. Just really want to make space for the beautiful juiciness of all the things that are kind of your colorful, sexual loves. As you do that, as you allow yourself the freedom of play in your reflections, you're probably going to hit some waves of discomfort. When you do, just track them. And if they're too disturbing, it's really best to get help and support from a skilled, credentialed, nonjudgmental psychotherapist or from a coach who's highly trained, safe, and skilled. If your fantasies just feel kind of embarrassing, surprising, or out of the pale, see if you could just imagine embracing them. I promise you, whatever they are, there are other people who share those turn-ons and with whom sharing those turn-ons would be an experience of mutual delight. Definitely our partner, and if we're single, our future partner, has hidden desires of his, or her own. When we follow our deeper turn-ons and let ourselves put words on them, including ones we've been timid about exploring, we not only deepen and enrich our sexual experience, but we give permission to our partner to do so also. When you take the most tender desires, the most emotional desires, the hottest, sexiest desires, and you let them blend, that's just such joy. And you know what it feels like with someone you're in a relationship with, if it's a safe good relationship, what it feels like is love. So, I encourage all of you.

    Embracing Your Shadow Self

    Embracing Your Shadow Self
    Photographer: Martino Pietropoli | Source: Unsplash
    I'll say something else, too. When you embrace the stuff that you have had as shadow self, because of its vulnerability, its tenderness, its originality, its difference, and I'm talking in both of these questions what moves you and turns you on the most, when you claim those parts of yourself, something amazing happens. A completion of self that makes you more desirable, more attractive, more embracing of the world. It gives you this feeling of, "Oh, yeah, that is who I am." Then when you do that, you get to be that in love and you get to be that in sex, as well. This is something that I've seen in my work as a psychotherapist. When you begin to own your answers to these two questions, you go into the inner sanctum space about this stuff. When you admit and acknowledge it, a wholeness of self emerges that is fabulous and radiates to the other parts of your life and makes you more romantically, sexually, humanly, creatively desirable, generous, and somehow calls in the right people for you. In physics, the more mass there is, the more gravity there is. The more you own and embrace the mass of yourself, the more self there is. It's like the more mass there is, more authentic self. What gravity does is it pulls outside objects into the center of the object that has the gravity. So as you embrace these secret parts of who you are, you will have more gravity pilling in other beings who kind of unconsciously hear this call closer to the center of your being. It's just something that's true, something that happens, and is part of what I call the deeper physics of dating.

    Ask Ken

    Once again, if you enjoyed this episode, I encourage you to please leave a review in Apple Podcast. Go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and sign up for my mailing list. Like my posts on Facebook. All of those are wonderful gifts. Thank you so much. I'm excited to hear your adventures with these actions. And if you want, you can go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, go to Ask Ken, and you'll be able to actually record any thoughts, questions, or experiences you have, which I will respond to on the show to the best of my ability. Thank you all, and I'll see you next week on The Deeper Dating Podcast.
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
  • Psychology Today’s Hara Marano: What We Need To Know About Love [EP029]
    Take the greatest insights from the world's top relationship experts, blend them with the struggles of everyone in the dating trenches, and filter all that through a truly extraordinary mind. That's what happened when I interviewed Hara Marano, the Editor at Large of Psychology Today, and the author of Unconventional Wisdom, Psychology Today's advice column.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Hara Marano

    Here's a chance to hear the greatest insights from the world's top thinkers on intimacy and relationships, blend them with the struggles of everyone who's in the trenches, trying to work it out in their dating lives and their relationship lives, and put these together and sift them through a very incredible mind. Then this is the chance to do that. Hello and welcome to The Deeper Dating Podcast. I'm Ken Page and today I'm going to be interviewing Hara Marano, the editor-at-large of Psychology Today, and the author of Psychology Today's advice column. And she's got tons of fascinating information for everybody interested in the subject of intimacy, dating and love.

    Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Leave Ken a Review

    Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review
    Every week I'm going to share with you the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. And the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. You can also find the whole transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com. And if you're interested in learning more about my work and applying these ideas to your own intimacy journey, you can learn lots more by going to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You'll get a free gift of an Ebook of mine and you'll learn more about all the things I'm doing, the work that I think other people are doing that might inspire you as well, and you'll be on my mailing list. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational. It's not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment for any emotional, physical, or psychological condition. And if you're experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help. And by the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a fabulous gift if you could subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. Thanks to everyone who's left such amazing reviews, and thank you for doing that too, if you haven't yet.

    A Warm Welcome to Our Guest: Hara Marano

    Ken: So, Hara, welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I'm just so delighted to have you here. Hara Marano: And I am always delighted to talk to you. Well, you have such a deep understanding of issues and such a thoughtful take on everything that it's always a pleasure to chat with you. Ken: Oh, thank you so much. Thank you so much. And your role, and why I'm super excited about having you on this podcast, is because there are very, very few people to talk about intimacy in a way that who are positioned like you are, because you are the editor at large of Psychology Today, and you write consistently some of the most important features on relationships and intimacy and you're speaking with the most thoughtful, insightful, brilliant thought leaders around, about all aspects of relationships, sexuality, and intimacy. That's one level. Ken: On another level, you are the advice columnist for Psychology Today with your column Unconventional Wisdom. So you are hearing from the trenches, and have for 15 years, about what people go through in their intimacy journeys. And then finally, you are someone who is in a wonderful relationship yourself, and you have many friends and people you love who are at all different phases of relationship. So there's the personal as well. And I want to tap you on all those different levels in this podcast. Hara Marano: Well, I'll be happy to report from all of them. You know they all come out of one mouth, so I see with one set of eyes on all the, in all those different domains, and all my thoughts come out of one mouth, so you'll be hearing from me on all of those rolled into one ball.

    Key Struggles of Single People in the Search for Love

    Key Struggles of Single People In The Search For Love
    Photographer: Martin Péchy | Source: Unsplash
    Ken: That's right. Filtered and synthesized – through your heart, your mind and your eyes. So, great. Can I ask you the first question then? Hara Marano: Please. Jump in. Ken: Great. I guess the first thing that I want to ask you is, what are you noticing from the trenches as the kind of key struggles that single people who are looking for a relationship are experiencing? Hara Marano: Well, so many thoughts come to mind. I think that there are at least two that I'd like to talk about. Ken: Great. Hara Marano: One of them is, and I'm getting this primarily from the questions that come into my column and conversations directly with all kinds of other people in my life. Direct conversations, that increasingly, people aren't really clear on what a relationship is. And they don't understand that
    A relationship first and foremost, must be mutual.
    Hara Marano: There must be a mutuality of respect, of consideration of needs. I hear from so many people who simply like another person, and assume from that, that they're going to be paid attention to in the way that they want. They're not. They’re frustrated. It sets up a really bad dynamic in a relationship. And I just hear this from so many people. Hara Marano: Now, I suspect, because it's so much more common among young people that it has something to do with the development of social media and online contact. They’ve lost some basic threads of relationships. But the other thing I see, and this is, I can guarantee you a very direct result of social media, is that there are people who are really struggling with a lot of ambiguity in relationships.

    Cowardice: A Decency Without Back Bone

    Hara Marano: Ambiguous signals, and this is definitely a result of the fact that online media makes it very easy to avoid the real emotional labor that has to go on in a relationship. So, people just cut their losses and they end a relationship by ghosting, and you have no idea why a relationship ended. Hara Marano: Which creates all kinds of ambiguity, anxiety. You have no way to grow for the next relationship. And you never learn how to handle all the difficulties that come up in relationships, because you just hit the off button. Ken: That's right. It makes it so easy to flee. Just be out of there, like it never happened. Hara Marano: Right. Or, to just avoid anything in any way through electronic communication. So that's a real problem that people are struggling with and it consumes a huge amount of emotional energy. Ken: I think that's so true. Energy that could be used elsewhere. Hara Marano: Could be use elsewhere for a million things in one's life, and for the relationship itself. Ken: Yes. Exactly. I mean the whole thing of like ending a relationship by texting. You brought up such a huge point and I think that a lot of that cowardice is just decency without a backbone. Ken: Because people run and they flee, because they don't want to hurt people. They don't want to be the one doing damage. But they do more damage by not crafting the words to explain what's going on for them. It's a kind of betrayal to just leave like that. And you're right. It's absolutely rampant.

    Dating: A Trial and Error Process

    Ken: But it's betrayal and it shuts people's hearts down and makes them go into the game of dating with very shutdown hearts. With a lot of self-protection which is not the greatest way to enter into a new relationship. Hara Marano: No. And I think that …
    If you like or love someone, you owe it to them to explain why a relationship isn't working for you. One, it gives the person the opportunity to repair. But, it also gives the person the opportunity to do whatever they need to do for themselves or look out for certain problems in their next relationship.
    Ken: That's so true. Ken: That's a grave concern. Hara Marano: Definitely. I just think that everyone at the end of a relationship……. Here's the thing about dating. Dating is by definition, a trial and error process. Hara Marano: You're trying to find a good fit. There's never going to be a perfect fit. But you're trying to find a good fit where lots of things work together. And what that means is that there are going to be a lot of breakups. You know that, intellectually, before you even enter the process. Hara Marano: So people ought to have enough respect for each other, and especially someone they liked or loved and at the end of the relationship, after the immediate pain is gone, sit down with each other and explain why it didn't work. What needs weren't met? What feelings arose? What developments in life intervened? Hara Marano: I just think it's so necessary to know what's happening instead of spending eons guessing, being confused about,

    The Least Attractive Element in a Relationship

    Hara Marano: Worrying over and destroying before it even begins, another relationship because it creates so much anxiety. Often, people are walking on eggshells, afraid they're going to get rejected again because there was no clarity in leaving the prior relationship. Ken: Yeah. And that's a really hard place and I know it personally, really well. It's that place where on one hand, you're judging yourself and thinking, "I must be really screwed up that someone like this just couldn't even like talk to me. Couldn't be with me. Had to leave me. Rejected me." And then on the other hand, there's so much anger. Like what an asshole that this person did it this way! And neither of those are particularly… they're both understandable, but they're not particularly generative. Hara Marano: Not at all. Ken: So yeah, you leave everyone stuck. You leave everyone stuck. Hara Marano: And then, what happens with that anger is that it generalizes to like the whole class. Hara Marano: Yeah, right, right. Ken:Of that gender, or that age group, or that profession. Yeah. Hara Marano: Right. And then
    The wondering about one's self turns into insecurity, which is just the least attractive element in a relationship.
    Ken: I think that is so true and I just have to kind of make a call out here and that is this is a call out to maturity that we're talking about for everyone who wants to end a relationship, to do it in a way that's kind and caring and honest and authentic. Taking the time to craft those really difficult words, and then doing it not by text.

    Out in the Open

    Out In The Open
    Photographer: Joshua Ness | Source: Unsplash
    Ken: The other piece that I just want to say to everybody who has had this done to them, you have a right to get the other person. To say to them, "I really want you to sit down with me and talk to me. I really feel like I deserve that. I want a clear understanding of what happened. I deserve that after this time together." Ken: People are afraid to do that but in this world, and in this culture, you have a right to do that. You may not get it, but you have a right to ask for that strongly. Hara Marano: You know, I actually did that in a relationship. Ken: Did you? Hara Marano: This goes back I would say about 17 years. I was dating someone casually. I knew he was not going to be a permanent feature of my life. He persuaded me to go out with him. He was 10 years younger than I was. A lovely guy. We had some wonderful times together. And then abruptly broke it off and I never heard from him. Hara Marano: And then, about six or seven years later, I got an e-mail from him. He was in his dentist's office. He picked up the Daily News. My advice column was then carried by the Daily News, and he used that, seeing that as an occasion to shoot me an e-mail. And I wrote him back and I said, "You know what? Before we exchange another word." Ken: Yes. Hara Marano: "We really liked each other. We had some good times. We knew it was never going to go anywhere. You owe me an explanation." Ken: I love it. Hara Marano: And we've been good friends ever since.

    How Gender Plays a Role in Relationships

    Ken: Oh, so fabulous. And yes, we do have a right to do that. Hara, I'm going to move on because I'm going to hit a number of different points and hopefully in the future, I can have you on again so we could drill the hell down into these different things. But I'm going to move on to my next question for you. Ken: And that is it's the same question and it's for people who are in relationships. What do you see as being the biggest struggles from the trenches that people are experiencing and reporting on and asking for help with these days? Hara Marano: Well, well, I think that one of the big things everyone is struggling with is gender roles. I don't care what gender you are, what gender you want to be, where you are on gender identity, the culture's in transition. Everybody's in transition. Everybody's got different templates of what they learned, what they need, and everyone is just struggling. Ken: It's so true. Yes. Hara Marano: And one of the ways it comes out is exemplified in this article I just published in Psychology Today on affairs, and in this article, I talk to a psychologist and a leading divorce lawyer in New York who are seeing like the cutting edge of "splitsdom" in couples. And one of the things they're seeing is that … and New York may be a little unusual and maybe a little ahead of the rest of the country, but here's a phenomenon. We all know that women, maybe at least 50% of women are making as much as or more than men are these days. And in New York, there are really some very high power, high earning women.

    Transitional Templates of Gender

    Hara Marano: And they're in relationships, in marriages, where they've made a conscious decision with their partner based on needs and every day needs and every day realities where the woman is an even higher earner than her high earning husband. Hara Marano: So they together make the decision where he's going to stay home with the kids, and she's going to go out there and conquer the universe. And, so these couples are making a decision based on their own every day needs, and what happens is that the women wind up in affairs that destroy the marriage, and it turns out that the women lose interest in their partners because they're not fulfilling the template of what a man is that ingrained template that they got growing up, that the culture gives all of us before we're even aware that we're receiving all these messages. Hara Marano: And so, these women, these couples founder on sort of the transitional templates of gender. And in the many couples where that's not the extreme case, couples are just having arguments over and over again about gender roles, and what each person does and how they contribute and every couple is reinventing the wheel and devoting enormous amounts of energy to solving this problem in their own households. Ken: Yeah. There's just so, so much in this. One thing I just want to jump in and say kind of on a high level is that something I see again, and again in dating, in relationships, in my own relationship in my own life, is that there's an ongoing necessity for rewiring. And that is hard work.

    A Giant Cultural Rewiring

    A Giant Cultural Rewiring
    Photographer: freestocks.org | Source: Unsplash
    Ken: Rewiring the ways you've been built to be attracted, engage, relate and that rewiring that becomes necessary as you grow is really hard work and now you're talking about a giant cultural rewiring. Ken: It's so sad because these women, and these men in these relationships are being heroes. They're letting go of old gender roles, and they're going with what's new, what's wise, makes sense, and then it bites them in the butt. And that's just so poignant, and of course it doesn't mean that the toothpaste has to go back in the tube, but it means that like as a culture, we are on the edge of this incredibly difficult process. Hara Marano: I know. How do you envision couples doing the necessary rewiring? Ken: I think that it's all about hard conversations done in a loving way. Because I just think again, and again, and I'm going to talk about my relationship with Greg, my husband. Again and again, we come to junctures that just seem like well, the Earth is going to end here. Like, we're are on a precipice. We aren't going to figure this one out. And Greg's so good. He always says we always figure these things out. We'll figure this one out. Ken: And somehow, in the act of communicating and this is something you've talked about with me personally, Hara. Your belief about the importance of bringing goodwill into a relationship. In the presence of that kind of goodwill, somehow new worlds open up. The rewiring happens by both parties getting vulnerable and saying, "I love you. I care. And I am stuck as all hell. What do we do?" And we rewire in real time in those conversations.

    Demystifying the Mythology of Romance

    Ken: Not alone in our heads, but in real time, in the context of the relationship. But man, it's hard. And I wonder in those relationships, like do you feel in those relationships if you can comment on this, that the husband and wife were too shy and too embarrassed to talk about this, particularly the wife? Or, did they have extensive conversations where they tried to work this through? Or somewhere in between? Hara Marano: In the couples of which I was made aware, the partners did not have the extensive conversations. They acted to create an inevitability, the end of the relationship, on their own without having the conversation. In other words, they avoided the conversation. And what I think happens is that there's just this general avoidance of the difficult conversations partly because of the mythology of romance that everything should fall into place. Ken: Yes. Yes. And this is so interesting, Hara, because now we're talking about the same theme in dating that we're talking about in relationships. We came to the same place. The person saying, "I can't do that hard thing because it will make the other person feel too bad. It'll make me feel too bad about myself, so I'm not going to do it." We're talking about the same theme, interestingly enough in both places. Hara Marano: And I think there's another aspect to it, and absolutely goodwill is important. But so is commitment. Having a sense of commitment to the very end, which means trying every remedy to repair the relationship.

    The Avoidance Method

    Hara Marano: So sitting down and having that hard conversation but instead what happens is, you're home or you're in your office, and you've had a miserable night and a miserable argument, and you go online and it's so easy to just flip the switch onto a dating site and begin a conversation that's so easy and takes you down a path and before you know it, you're out of the relationship. Ken: I have chills hearing you say that because you're just speaking those words step by step of what happens for so many people. Hara Marano: Yeah. And people don't intend it, but there's an emotional ease in online relationships. People don't in a sense really understand how emotions are operating in a vacuum there and all of a sudden, that becomes more rewarding than one's home life. Ken: Absolutely! It's kind of like porn. Ken: An idealized version of something that just doesn't carry any of the weight, the burden, the work, the challenge. Hara Marano: Right. When porn is often used as another one of those escapes from doing the work of a relationship. Well, here I can get what I want. I don't have to bother with the messy interaction with another human being. I'll just look, take care of my own needs and I'll be a happier person in the morning. Ken: Right. Exactly. Hara Marano: But it's all the same thing, and it's avoiding the difficulties and side stepping them. And that's not really respectful of a partner. Ken: No. And it's so interesting because in the case of dating that you talked about, and in the case of relationships, both of the escapes were online. All those escapes that you described in these particular cases were all online.

    Let's Talk About S.E.X

    Let‘s Talk About S.E.X
    Photographer: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen | Source: Unsplash
    Hara Marano: And I think that becomes sort of the basic exit ramp for relationships these days. Ken: Well said! That's great. Yes. Yes. Hara Marano: Not that work, and being at work every day doesn't also create opportunities. It creates lots of opportunities. Ken: Absolutely true. Absolutely. Hara Marano: Yeah. But, if you have a commitment to a partner, where I'm going to work on this thing until I have no more energy left.
    If you have that commitment, you don't even see alternatives.
    Hara Marano: I mean, there are studies done that show that you're just not interested. People who have a commitment to a partner, don't even notice when other people are coming onto them. It's really kind of interesting. Ken: I love that. I love that. I'm in deep agreement. And now I'm thinking of two different things. I'm thinking of the issue with monogamy versus polyamory. But I'm also just thinking about sex, and I think I'm going to talk about like I'm going to ask you some questions about sex first. Ken: Yeah. So I know that you have talked to the top experts. You've talked to so many people who are in the trenches in dealing with these things. But I think another area of hard conversation is around sex. And I think that online, people can share and these are always the two questions that I ask people to consider. What turns you on the most in sex? Really, honestly admitting that. And also, what touches your heart most deeply and makes you feel the most safe in sex?

    Do It to Me in Loving Ways and Guiding Hands

    Ken: Those are the big, big questions and often, it just feels too mortifying to talk about those things with our partners. But when we don't, we're headed down a ramp, away from our extraordinariness as a couple. Ken: But those conversations are so hard and I just would love to hear your thoughts about that issue. Couples finding a way to talk about sex in ways that allow them to really be authentic, vulnerable and safe in bed. Hara Marano: Well, as you're talking, I'm sitting here thinking about a woman who wrote to me in my advice column who was not married, but was in a long standing relationship of a couple of years and was no longer attracted to her partner and couldn't tell him because his hygiene was awful. Hara Marano: And she was ashamed to tell him. Hara Marano: I mean, shame permeates everyone's sexual needs, as if there's something weird and wrong with saying to someone. So imagine, you're sleeping with someone for two years and you can't tell them to brush their teeth. I mean, what kind of weird universe is that? Ken: Yes. It's so true. Or please touch me in this way. Or don't touch me in this way. It's so explicitly hard and then when we don't do it, there's this kind of decline in magnificence in the couplehood. Hara Marano: Right. And it's, admittedly, it's hard to do it in the heat of passion because there's the danger it's going to turn someone off if you start giving them directions. Hara Marano: But it can be done in loving ways by guiding hands. By touching places. And touching tentatively, and gauging response. I mean, again-

    Be Tender: In and Out of the Bedroom

    Hara Marano: … it's kind of trial and error. You want to try everything and be sensitive to what the response is, both verbally and non-verbally and nerve endings and how someone jumps and positive reaction to it. There are a lot of ways to do it, and also, I mean, one can have an out of bed conversation too. But here's the other thing, I think that …
    What goes on outside the bedroom reflects what goes on inside the bedroom.
    Hara Marano: And people have to be tender outside the bedroom, otherwise they can't be tender and receptive inside the bedroom. So, it's not like, oh there's one set of operating instructions for the kitchen and another set of operating instructions for the bedroom. Ken: I love that. Hara Marano: Yeah. Life doesn't work that way. Hara Marano: And so, here's what happens. So, when there's tenderness in all areas, you create a bank of goodwill, and a partner is willing to hear. I wouldn't frame it as a correction but as gentle guidance as to what you need, and here's the message that everybody should have. Nothing, but absolutely nothing is taboo, if it doesn't hurt one's self or a partner. Hara Marano: I mean, and there should be no shame about what one likes, or what one wants. Sexual needs and interests are just so globally varied, that I just wish everybody could drop their shame about what they want, and say, "Hey, you know what? I really like this. Would you mind if we tried it?" Hara Marano: I mean two people may not like the same thing, but it's certainly worth bringing up.

    Dancing Around the Volcano

    Dancing Around the Volcano 100%
    Photographer: Radek Pestka | Source: Unsplash
    Ken: One of the most wonderful stories that I remember around this exact subject, and what you said about creating that bank of goodwill was just stunning. It was great. So, there's an author named Guy Kettelhack who's work I really love. He wrote a book called Dancing Around the Volcano and it's about gay men's sexual lives. The story just touched my heart so much. Ken: It was a guy who had a fetish for thin, black dress socks. He would not get turned on by guys unless they were wearing thin, black, dress socks. He felt like a freak, like a mutant. Like he could never have a normal life in this world. He talked about the person who kind of saved his life around that. It was someone he dated that he didn't end up staying with. He just couldn't help himself because he loved this guy. The guy loved him. Ken: Everything was sinking because the guy didn't know about the socks. So in a state of complete mortification, because he didn't want to lose this opportunity, he told the guy that this is something that is essential for him, and really turns him on. He said, "I can never, for the rest of my life, thank this guy enough. Because he just said, 'Sure. Let's get some!'" It was not a big deal. It wasn't his turn on. Ken: That allowed them to be a couple and allowed him to do two things. One, embrace that part of himself. Two, because he didn't have to hold on so tight, that part could loosen up a little bit and became less absolutely required. I just thought that was the most precious story that kind of captures this.

    Celebration of a Potential Banquet

    Hara Marano: That is lovely. I also happen to know Guy Kettelhack. He worked for my late husband years ago. Ken: Oh my gosh. Hara Marano: Yeah. The world is small. Ken: That's amazing. Hara Marano: And what shame could there possibly be in thin, black socks? I ask you. Ken: Yes, yes. Such a metaphor. Such a metaphor. Hara Marano: Right. Yeah. I'm going to have to remember that one. Thin, black socks as a metaphor. Ken: Thin, black dress socks. Hara Marano: Yeah. Right. For all those kinds of things. Ken: Right. And then for us too is kind of like just being more open and flexible with the things that our partner secret wants as well. Hara Marano: Oh, yeah. And, they're can be conversations. Even in the heat of things, of okay, tell me what you most want. Tell me what you've never told anyone before. I want to do what you most want to do. I mean, that's such a loving gift to give to somebody. How could it not be received wonderfully? Embraced? Ken: Yes. Yes. And this is why Gandhi said,
    "Love is the prerogative of the brave."
    Because it's hard and it's beautiful and it's love. Hara Marano: Right. And it may be something that you are, for whatever reason, uncomfortable doing. It may not be. But if it is something you're uncomfortable doing, it's possible to have that conversation and say, "You know, I know you like that. I'm not crazy about doing that." You can switch it off with other things that you like or that you both like. But you need to open up that area. Ken: Beautiful. Beautiful. It's a celebration. It's an invitation to a potential banquet that is also a metaphor for everything in relationships, right?

    Effects of Emotional Affairs

    Hara Marano: Everything in relationships at every age because if you're like me, and you are dating after widowhood, you're meeting new people and new people have new interests and new likes and desires and wants and needs, and so it's an eternally ongoing conversation in life. And even if you're in one relationship for 60 years, needs and wants evolve. And there are just always new paths to intimacy. Ken: Beautiful. So, Hara, I want to jump into something else now that feels like to me, and I don't know if you've experienced the same thing in the last 15 years, it seems like couples are wrestling more with emotional affairs now than in the past. I don't know if you're experiencing that too, but whether you are or not, I do want to talk about emotional affairs. Ken: And how those, what is the effect emotional affairs on relationships? Hara Marano: Tell me what you literally mean by emotional affairs. Ken: Well, in my work, I have seen more and more people talking about a profound sense of betrayal because people are engaging in non-sexual, almost kind of romantic intimacy, but not directly romantic, and definitely not sexual. A deep sense of intimacy with other people of the gender that that person is attracted to. The kind of betrayal that people feel and I've seen so many relationships break up because of emotional affairs. Hara Marano: Are you referring to emotional affairs that are happening online or in person, in real life? Or all of the above? Ken: All of the above. Yeah. Relationships in which eros, in its most general form, like romance in its most general and non-specific form is kind of cultivated and there's a sense of deep, unique specialness between those two people that leaves the partner out.

    Dealing with Speed Bumps

    Hara Marano: Yeah. I think a lot of things are going on. I definitely agree that there's lots of this happening. I think part of it is the ease of going online when there's a speed bump in a relationship. It's like, okay, I'm going to go online and look for something that's going to be rewarding. Or I'm just going to fool around and you fall into something that's erotic, and arousing and it's just much easier than facing the issues in your relationship. I also think that things are happening in person and it's not all acts of commission because I do think that there are really two sides of what's going on. Hara Marano: I do think that people have unreal expectations of what love is and there's almost a narcissistic need to have all the attention of one's partner, and that's really too demanding and unrealistic and can drive away a partner. Hara Marano: I think that one's definition is part of the problem. I also agree that you hit a speed bump in a relationship, and you begin to invest a little bit too much. Maybe don't draw the right boundary around your other relationships. And again, Ken, it's really all part of this general opportunity to avoid the difficult parts without obvious penalty at first. Ken: Yes. So true. I'm thinking of my training as a therapist and the definition of crisis is where you hit a challenge that you don't have the tools to handle. And what's amazing about crisis is we build the tools that we didn't have before. In a way, relationships experience constant crises. Those are opportunity points to build a new set of skills. When we take the exit ramp, we don't get to build those new skills.

    Monogamy vs Polyamory

    Monogamy vs Polyamory
    Photographer: Sharon McCutcheon | Source: Unsplash
    Ken: Now I want to jump into the issue of polyamory and just hear your thoughts about monogamy versus polyamory, and I'll share my thoughts too. But I just love to hear your thoughts from the broad perspective on all different levels that you get to see. Hara Marano: Well, I certainly have been asked a lot more questions about polyamory in the past couple of years. I can't speak from personal experience on this one, because I'm the last person to even want to be involved in a polyamorous relationship. It's just my nature. I just jump in. I'm a 200 percenter. Hara Marano: I jump into a relationship and fight for it to the end. And I'm happy to be in a relationship now as I have been for the past couple of years. And polyamory just wouldn't even enter my mind. That said,
    It is entirely possible to love more than one person at a time. I mean, there's just no doubt in my mind.
    Hara Marano: What one does with that love is a totally different thing. So, here's what I'm hearing from people on the front lines. From relationship experts who really understand it, talk to people about it, and people in polyamorous relationships claim no jealousy. But jealousy winds up being a problem. Hara Marano: I think ultimately. I think there are a lot of people in polyamorous relationships where one partner wants it more than another. Ken: Yes. Hara Marano: So you have that asymmetry to start with. One tolerates it. One enjoys it or needs it. And the other thing is that there is a constant conversation going on in couples in polyamorous relationships that would exhaust the hell out of me. I just couldn't do it.

    Peering into the Statistics

    Hara Marano: Where they're constantly talking about their feelings and their feelings for this, and their feelings for that and rebalancing it. I just could not be that self-absorbed, honestly, in a relationship. I would just throw up my hands and walk away from the whole thing, because there are just other things that I need to get on with in life, than spend all that time being so self-absorbed and negotiating the boundaries of all and juggling all these different relationships. So what I hear is that there is a lot of talk that goes on, a lot of energy and while lots of people are thinking about polyamory, only 6% of people, at least in the US engage in it. Hara Marano: So, as one of my sources told me recently for an article that I'm doing, the fact that lots of people are thinking about and have a positive attitude towards it, are willing to accept it in others without censure, means that we're all kind of liberalizing our ideas about sex, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we want to choose that form of relationship for ourselves. Ken: Very interesting. Hara Marano: What's your take? Ken: Well I have another question for you and then I'll share with you my thoughts, but my other question is, so you said 6% of people in the states are engaging in polyamorous relationships, is that right? Ken: Yeah. What percent of people are having affairs? Hara Marano: Oh my gosh. That's the statistic that's unknowable. Ken: Right. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. What are the best guesses? Hara Marano: Well, it's really the unknowable because few people will confess to it. Ken: Right. How about at the least?

    We Are Like Steel

    Hara Marano: Gee. I don't have the number off the top of my head, but at the very least, 20% of women and the number of women is going up. Let me put it this way, under like age 35, the number of women and the number of men having affairs is the same. In fact, there's some evidence that more women than men are having affairs among the younger cohort. Hara Marano: Among older ones, more men than women. But it's still about at least 20% of women, and I don't want to put my foot in my mouth and put a number on the number of men. Somewhere there's data but as I said, the data is totally unreliable on that topic. Ken: Yes. That makes perfect sense. But it's a lot more than 6%. Hara Marano: Oh, a lot more than 6%. Ken: Yeah. You know, for me, Dr.David Schnarch's thought about the cauldron concept is one that I really adore. It is that crucible concept that you can actually bend steel because of the incredible amount of heat that it contains without leaking it out. And we are like steel that is not necessarily structured in the best way. Ken: And in a relationship, as Harville Hendrix says, you end up in a place where the things you most need from your partner are the things they're least able to give you. And that's actually the beginning of deeper intimacy. Ken: But that means bending the steel of our characterological traits. If the heat is leaking out by other relationships and other affairs, you don't have to because you're getting those needs met that your partner can't meet in another place. You will never have the contained heat to bend that steel.

    Coming Up Against the Limits of Yourself

    Ken: But that's an extraordinary couple that's willing to do that work. But that's an ideal that I aspire to. Hara Marano: Right. And David also talks about wall-socket sex, and sex with your eyes open, and these really all important elements of a relationship when you're really willing to do that work in the crucible and contain it in the relationship. And I think there's something about love, and here, I'm really being driven by thoughts, personal thoughts. I think that when you come up against the limits of yourself, and of another person, and can love and respect someone in spite of it, that is when the sex gets electrifying. Hara Marano: Or can get. It's not going to be … sex isn't going to be electrifying every time out. Sometimes, it's just going to be you're doing it for relief. You're doing it to make your partner happy. But there are times when it's really electrifying for both, and you both know it. Ken: Beautiful. Hara Marano: And it's when you really can accept the limits of the other person grow within them and give liberally and freely to each other. Ken: And that's the magnificent… Hara Marano: Thinking about that. Right. Ken: That is just wonderful. That's wonderful. And Hara, in closing, I just want to ask you a question or two. One question I want to ask you is, if you could just … You've spoken with all of the top experts. What's one thing that someone said in all of these decades of interviewing people that kind of at this moment you would say touches you most deeply? The insight that was given to you by a particular relationship expert that kind of went the deepest or hit you the hardest?

    Mindless Moments of Relationship

    Mindless Moments of Relationship
    Photographer: Alvin Mahmudov | Source: Unsplash
    Hara Marano: I think John Gottman's work has always been pretty important. One of the things I've always liked about John's study of couples in a home-like laboratory, wired them up for days on end and watched them interact, is this idea of the so called mindless moments of relationship. In that, there are times when two people are together doing maybe their own separate thing. Hara Marano: It's no special time. And one of them just calls to another person's attention to something, "Hey, look at that boat outside the window." And it sounds like nothing, but these mindless moments really are a kind of glue that holds couples together. Hara Marano: And the other thing that John talks about and you and I have talked about this a lot is repair, repair, repair. Everybody screws things up and you just stop and you say, "You know? I'm sorry." And you repair the damage before it gets in and hardens the heart, or turns someone's gaze elsewhere. Ken: So beautifully said. Hara, thank you so much. This was just such an exciting journey and such a rich journey. You’re such an extraordinary person because of all the dimensions that you bring to this, including your own heart and your own life and your own story, and your own experience. Is there anything that you want to say in closing? Hara Marano: Yeah. I think there's one thing I do want to say. This really goes for everybody dating, and looking for a partner and people always ask me what's the most important thing to look for in a partner. I'm going to say, the three most important things to look for in a partner are character, character, and character.

    Save Yourself Some Heartache

    Hara Marano: Is someone honest? Is someone kind? These are things that are going to affect the nature of your relationship far more than you can imagine. They're not sexy. But they are critically important. And if your partner is unkind to anyone, gratuitously unkind to anyone, dishonest to anyone, that's going to work its way into the marriage because those are character traits. And you're going to suffer terribly as a result. So save yourself some heartache. You're not going to change your partner on those things, or in most other things, either. And check out someone's values. Check out their kindness, their courage, their honesty. They're really important. Ken: You are not kidding. Ain't that the truth. That is a fabulous note to leave with everybody. It's sobering, it's clarifying and it's the bottom line. It's the highest, and it's also the ground. So, thank you for that and thank you for everything you've shared and I hope to have you back here again. Hara Marano: Oh, it's always so much fun talking to you. Ken: Thank you, Hara. Hara Marano: You ask the best questions. Ken: That's great. That's great. So thank you so much, Hara, and everyone, thank you for listening and stay tuned for the next episode of The Deeper Dating Podcast. Hara Marano: Thank you.

    About Our Guest

    Hara Estroff Marano is the Editor-at-Large of Psychology Today, and the author of Psychology Today's advice column called Unconventional Wisdom. In addition to writing for many other publications such as The New York Times and The Smithsonian, she is the author of A Nation of Wimps and two previous books, the most recent on the social development of children, Why Doesn't Anybody Like Me?: A Guide to Raising Socially Confident Kids (1998). Hara has written scores of feature articles for Psychology Today about love, romance, sex and relationships, and regularly taps the wisdom of the world's top thinkers in these fields. Concurrently, she hears from countless readers struggling with every aspect of love and intimacy. Seeing the world of love from all these angles, her vantage point is unique. In addition, she's wise, warm, practical and deeply insightful.

    Ken's Book

    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
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  • How To Find Your Unique Intimacy Magic [EP028]
    Your gift zone is your springboard to love. The more you live in your gift zone, the more love you'll have in your life, and the more skilled you'll become at nurturing that love. In this episode, I'll teach you how to access your gift zone, and how to use it to find new love and to enrich all the relationships you have already, including your relationship with yourself! So, stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Intimacy Magic

    Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I'm Ken Page, and today we're going to talk about accessing your gift zone and awaken your intimacy magic. That's the place where you feel most deeply connected to your own humanity and it's where you become most beautiful to the people who are really looking for someone like you. I'm going to teach you how to get there and how to use the knowledge of how to get there to change your future in intimacy. Every week, I'm going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. And the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Leave Ken a Review

    Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review
    You can also find the whole transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com. And if you're interested in this work, you can sign up for my mailing list and get a free gift of an eBook from me and learn more about all the work I'm doing and the work of other people who I really respect in the field of intimacy and relationships. I also want to say that everything I share on this podcast is educational in nature. It's not medical or psychiatric advice and it's not treatment for any emotional, physical, or psychological condition. And if you're experiencing serious psychological problems, please seek professional help. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Leave Ken a Review here, it would be a tremendous thank you if you subscribed on Apple Podcasts or wherever and left me a review. So thank you for all the people who've left amazing reviews and to everyone who is still going to do that.

    Discovering Your Intimacy Magic

    Discovering Your Intimacy Magic
    Photographer: Denise Johnson | Source: Unsplash
    Your gift zone is really your magic land. It's the place where the beauty of you shines through. An ex of mine used to say that, you know that time of day when it's so beautiful, it's almost sunset, and everything is golden colored. He used to say, this is the time everybody looks beautiful because this luminosity just hits us. And when you're in your gift zone, you are luminous. You are lit from within, by equality of the beauty of your humanity. You shine when you're in that space. Your gift zone is the place when you're in your realest authenticity and there's a quality of compassion, you're somehow holding your heart and your humanity in a kind and full way, and you are beautiful then. And when you are there, you will feel your magic and other people will feel your magic too.

    What Is Our Task

    It's hard to live there for a number of reasons I'm going to talk about. But when we make it our task to spend as much of our time as we can living in the center of our gift zone, our lives become holier. They fill with love. The more we're in our gift zone, the more we'll be able to have intimacy magic, the more we'll be able to feel intimacy magic, feel gratitude for it. And the more we'll generate it. And the more we will be able to develop the tools and the skills to handle the so many challenges of intimacy. So what's your gift zone? How do you get there? How can you use it to further yourself in your intimacy journey? We're going to have a lot of fun with that. But I just want to start out with a quote by William Blake that I really love. He said,
    "And we are put on earth a little space that we may learn to bear the beams of love."
    When you're in your gift zone, you are bearing, and feeling, and experiencing the beams of love. And it's a sacred place. And when you're there, you become more grounded, more empowered, more soulful, more kind, more powerful, all those kind of things that you're meant to be.

    Where Is Your Gift Zone

    So the easiest way to explain where your gift zone is and what it is, is to start with the image of a target. So picture a target and it has in it just three circles. And let's just imagine that the closer you are to the center of that target, the closer you come to your most authentic self. To the exquisite core of your humanity, to the beating heart of your real self. The inner circle, that first inner circle of the target is your gift zone. And it is the seat of true intimacy. And in fact the word intimate comes from the Latin word "intimus" which means inner most. That's where your core gifts live. As I've described the beauty of this place, you might be asking, well if it's so beautiful, if it's so fabulous, why don't we just live there? And there are so many reasons why we don't just live there. The biggest one I would say in some ways is that we haven't been given the tools to understand that this is just simply one of our absolute greatest, if not our greatest life task is to learn to live in the luminosity and warmth, and humanity of that place. But it's challenging, because our authenticity can scare us. It takes work to handle its complexity, its existential vulnerability, and its power. And as worthy as these parts of ourselves are, they are not hall passes to happiness. Our core gifts, the central parts of us get us into trouble again and again.

    Defense Mechanism

    We get the most prickly, the most defensive, the most naive, the most troubled around these parts of ourselves. Because they're so close to our soul and we haven't necessarily built up adult protections for these sacred parts of ourselves. So we use child-like protections until we learn more and more to bear the beams that live in that place and develop adult skills so that we can live there more and more. And that's the gold work of being a human being. These parts of you will challenge you, and they will challenge the people you love. And they're going to ask more of you than you might want to give. And also, we can feel devastated when we feel betrayed in those most tender parts of ourselves. So since the heat of our core self is so hard to handle, we protect ourselves by moving further out from the center. And every step you take away from the gift zone, from the center of that circle, represents a more airbrushed version of you. Every zone outward makes you feel safer. It puts you at less risk of embarrassment and standing out, less risk of failure and rejection ostensibly. But every zone outward also moves you one step further from your soul, from your authenticity, and from your sense of meaning.

    Zoning Beyond Our Protective Layers

    Zoning Beyond Our Protective Layers
    Photographer: Yves Alarie | Source: Unsplash
    The further you get away from your gift zone, the more alone you will feel, the more adrift we feel. And when we get too far from the warmth and the humanity of that core self, we start to experience very painful despair. So most of us set up stop at a point where we're close enough to the warmth of our core self, but far enough away that we don't get burnt by the heat and challenges, and demands of that self. We create safer versions of ourselves in order to get through our lives without having to face the existential risk of our humanity. So the next zone out is the zone of protection. And that's the zone where we protect ourselves with compulsions and food, and not telling the whole truth, and living a numbed life. The further out you get, the more deeply that becomes true. And the third stage is the zone of disconnection. This is where addiction lives. This is where terrible, terrible emptiness lives. In this zone of disconnection, we turn against ourselves and others. And all of us have been there. There's no shame in being there. But our journey, our journey is more and more to live from as close as we can to the beauty and the power, because it's powerful there, of our gift zone.

    The Bull's Eye Zone

    So now we're going to spend the rest of the time talking about our gift zone. So the gift zone's the bull's eye zone. Whenever you feel the warmth of your humanity and you hold it with a sense of compassion or care, you're in your gift zone. Whenever you feel a stream of gratitude, whenever you feel a sense of humility, a wave of compassion. When art touches you deeply, when nature touches you deeply, you are in your gift zone. Many of us use spiritual practices so that we can get there consciously every day. The inner mentor process that I teach in episode three and elsewhere helps people get to their core gifts and their gift zone. The great Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart said that,
    "The way to create a perfect circle is to always begin at the center." And your gift zone is your center.
    And if the entire work that I teach in this world had to be reduced to one lesson, it would be to live more from our gift zone. When you're in this place, you find your greatest capacity to connect with other people. So what are some examples of being in your gift zone? Think about these things. Just let yourself reflect and remember, and you will get there, and you will know just what I mean if you don't already.

    Tapping Into Your Gift Zone

    Tapping Into Your Gift Zone
    Photographer: young rc | Source: Unsplash
    So remember a time that you felt really moved by a story, or an insight, or a piece of art, or music? Maybe a time that you felt a wordless ache in your heart, a time you were touched by something beautiful in nature. A time that you felt a wave of longing for something or someone. The feeling of pleasure in helping someone vulnerable, that joy. Feeling love for someone who loves you back or for a pet. So I imagine that some of these things hit home for you. We're now going to do a fabulous little micro meditation to help you connect just a little more deeply to your gift zone. So you'll be in the viscera of it. And that'll help you understand the next steps that we talk about. So close your eyes if you can, not if you're driving. And you don't have to close your eyes, but if you can, it might be nice. And just get comfortable, and think back to a time when you experienced a rich sense of connection to the warmth of your own humanity.

    Reliving the Memories

    Maybe some of the things I mentioned triggered memories for you. So just choose one memory that stands out of when you felt connected to the warmth of your humanity. Doesn't have to be big, it doesn't have to be dramatic. And just go back and gently and easily with no force, just remember that experience. Where were you at the time, what was happening? Just recall gently how the event unfolded, and the feelings it evoked in you.And remember how that experience touched you. Now just savor that memory of being in your gift zone, and just take a gentle breath in and out and just hold the feeling close. And see if you can just let it ripple inside of you in a very gentle way. And now I'm going to continue sharing about this, but see if you can hold it in your heart. I mean, it feels so good, right? There's a feeling of being connected to your own meaning. There's a sense of knowing who you are. An existential sense of your humanity, of rightness.

    Basking in the Beauty of Your Intimacy Magic

    It's a fabulous place. And if somebody could have seen your face while you did this, they would see an imprint of beauty on your face that is very much you. So, your gift zone. Your gift zone is your springboard to intimacy and to the love that you're looking for. The more you live in your gift zone and the more that you act on its promptings, the more love that you're going to have in your life. And the closer you're going to come for those people who are single to your future relationship. Because in this zone, your unique magic comes alive and it begins to influence your world. So how do you access the gift zone? By noticing whatever you're feeling, by whenever you're feeling a kind of thrill of meaning or your humanity, not leaving it so quickly, but letting it seep into you a little more deeply and a little more richly. In the course of your day when you feel that, no matter what it is, no matter how little it is, if you actually let yourself stay with it longer, let it imprint, there's going to be a download that happens, and you just want to stay for the course of the download because it's going to change your circuitry. It will make you more into the being which I assume you desire to be, which is a being who lives from this place capably, and with skill, and with kindness, and with adulthood more and more.

    The Key to the Portal

    The Key To The Portal
    Photographer: Marc-Olivier Jodoin | Source: Unsplash
    So the more you feel your authentic experience with a sense of compassion and honor, because honor is the key. The closer you are to your gift zone. And the easiest way to get to your gift zone, as I said, is through the moments in your life when your heart feels touched or you feel inspired. We all have those moments, but we pass through them and get to the next thing on our to do list. But in fact, if we see them as portals to our truest self. As portals to a zone where love springs from, we'll be able to stay with them for a few extra beats, savoring them, and then as we savor them, we get to know ourselves more. Authenticity is your key to enter the gift zone, the noticing of whatever it is you're feeling. And compassion for yourself and the world is what turns the lights on to see the gifts that lie there.

    Breaking the Walls Blocking Your Gift Zone

    Now it's harder to stay in the gift zone if you're feeling angry, or in pain, or stressed. This is something I think about all the time because after years of practice, I can go into the gift zone pretty quickly, but I can leave it so quickly too. If I'm feeling irritated. If I'm feeling stressed, if I'm feeling overwhelmed by my to do list or my ADHD tendencies that are spinning me in circles, or if someone's troubling me, or I'm feeling in pain about something. It's much easier to shut my heart to the hurt and run to the refrigerator, or to want to get someone back or get them to get what they're doing wrong or to become angry at myself. But it is possible to remain in the gift zone, even in pain, sadness, or anger. It just requires a greater amount of skill and compassion. As a vehicle for that, I use tapping, which helps me move out of my primitive defenses and come back to my heart and my adulthood.

    The Source of Self

    So I want to read a quote from my Deeper Dating book, which describes this space, I think in a beautiful way, if I do say so myself.
    "Your gift zone isn't static. It is constantly generating a living stream of impulses toward intimacy and authentic self-expression. It wants things. It reaches for life. It needs to connect, and it tells you how."
    When you're in your gift zone, you might feel a desire to listen to a piece of music, or to go for a walk, or to call somebody, to reach out to somebody, or to be alone. But your intimacy journey becomes an adventure. When you act on the promptings of your beautiful gift zone and doing so will change your love life from the inside out. It will begin a wave of unknotting and self-expression that'll ripple into the ways you love and the ways you live. As you get closer and closer to the center of the target and the center of the gift zone, and you follow it inward ever deeper to the core of your being, you come to the very, very, very center of the circle. And I call that the source of self.

    The Reflection That Attracts Love

    And because it's the source of our very being, it's precious, and it's life filled. And that's the state where your personal touches something greater, where you feel a sense of awe or an indescribable kind of connection to something vast. Everyone has their own language for this. So whether you're atheist, agnostic, spiritual, religious, this place, the source of yourself, is part of the gift of being human and your gift zone is your portal to this magnificent state. And when you're in your gift zone as I said, you hold a luminosity. Even in your sadness, you will be lit from within because of the compassion and the humanity. And this is the zone that attracts love. And when you see someone in their gift zone, you see not only beautiful feelings, but there's a dignity. There's a dignity when we say, "I'm going to be the person who allows this and lives this." There's a dignity, there's a grace, there's a spine inherent in making the choice to live from this place. And like anything that precious, the stakes get raised when we want to claim it. And claiming your gift zone is one of the most heroic things that you can do. Because in your gift zone, there's an aliveness, there's a sense of self. And even if that self doesn't feel as secure or happy as we think it should, it's always going to be original. It's always going to be different. It's not going to be bad in this zone. It's a living, rippling state. So we brave a new frontier when we enter the risk of our gift zone. But here's something really interesting that's research backed.

    Love on a Suspension Bridge

    The Correlation Between Risk and Love
    Photographer: Mark Fletcher-Brown | Source: Unsplash
    That very sense of risk heightens your ability to love.
    So now I want to tell you about a fascinating study. It's sometimes called love on a suspension bridge. And Donald G. Dutton and Arthur Aron, whose work I adore, did this study. And it shows how risk and sexual attraction and aliveness are all linked up. So in this study, female interviewers approached men who were walking across two different bridges. So one bridge was this peaceful, tiny little bridge that was just over a tiny stream. The other bridge was this wobbly wooden suspension bridge swaying about 230 feet above a raging river. So the people, the men on the scary high bridge and the men on the low safe bridge were both connected with female interviewers who had a range of questions that they had to ask them. So the men on the scary high bridge were more likely in the study had found, that the guys on the high, scary bridge were more likely to be turned onto the female interviewers, and they were more likely to contact them after the experiment than the men on the low bridge who were less likely to be attracted, less likely to contact the people, the women that they met. These are the men that were in the lower bridge. So the researchers surmise that this was because the men on the high bridge associated the heightened arousal with being on that bridge and being in a risky situation. They associated that with the person they were meeting.

    The Art of Just Being There

    And they also believed that the experience might've triggered a desire for self expansion, a kind of broadening of self. And in my opinion, there's another piece here. It's that when we are in the presence of existential risk, or thrill, or inspiration, we're closer to the existential aliveness of our gift zone. And in that zone, we're perched between fear and exhilaration. And in that zone, we're more likely to remember the urgent importance of love. So every one of us has a suspension bridge inside us that we can visit any time we want. And it's the challenge of living in our gift zone. So I just want to say one more thing here about this, which is there is a challenge here. And Gene Gendlin, a very brilliant psychotherapist who developed an amazing technique called focusing. He said,
    "Don't let yourself get too freaked out by going too deeply into these feelings if you can't bear them."
    And he said,
    "If you want to smell the soup, you don't stick your head in it."
    So the minute you are touching the ripples of your gift zone, you don't have to barrel through into a deeper state. You could just be there. It's like being in bed with someone you love and your shoulders are just touching. And you're half asleep, but you know that your shoulders are touching. You know there's a connection. As long as you're feeling that kind of connection to your gift zone, you will be enlivened, you will be more beautiful. You will be in connection with the impulses of your core self, and that is where your magic is.

    Living Within the Realms of Your Gift Zone

    So I want to share one last thought and then I want to give you a fabulous exercise to help you live this stuff. And here's what I want to say. The more you live from your gift zone, the more you will meet people you wouldn't have met. The more you will create things with your signature in them. The more you will inspire people. You may feel strange and scared at some times, but you will be claiming new ground of your personal goodness. And I promise you that is ground that other people will want to stand on. When you live in your gift zone, you will shine. A lot of people won't notice it and that's just fine. But the people who have been hungry for someone like that you, will feel thankful that they finally found you. Live in your gift zone and you will be beaming out some kind of something that calls to the people who are made for you. So now I finally in closing, want to teach you a fabulous process that I call the intimacy fix. And it's a process to help you move into your gift zone at any given moment. It's humbling, it's fabulous, it works. And it's you creating your own recipes for deeper intimacy. So here's all it is, and you can do this right now with me.

    The Intimacy Fix

    The Intimacy Fix
    Photographer: Simon Wijers | Source: Unsplash
    So picture this target, right? And the inside circle of the target is your gift zone. The next ring out is the zone of protection. That numb place. And the final ring out is the zone of disconnection, which is that place of deep, deep emptiness. With no judgment of yourself, if you took a pencil and were going to put where you feel right at this moment, where would you place the pencil? Is it in the gift zone? Is it in the zone of protection? Is it in the zone of disconnection? So here's what I want to say. If you are in the zone of disconnection, I have a big suggestion. Don't try to get out of it yourself. Be in connection with someone who you care about and feel safe with and who supports you, because it's really hard to get out of the zone of disconnection alone. Because in the scariness and un-safety of this state, we revert to our deepest, most reactive reflexive defenses to protect ourselves. And it's hard or impossible to get out of those alone. So if you're in the zone of disconnection, there's no shame there. We have all been there. Seek help.

    Listen and Respond

    If you're in the zone of protection or you're in the zone of your gift zone, the same next step will apply to you. Feel what it's like to be there, and imagine what it would be like to just sidle a micron or two over to your gift zone. Or if you're in your gift zone, deeper to the core of your gift zone, deeper in toward the center. It might be a micro shift inside you. It might be asking for someone you love for a hug. It might be taking time alone. Whatever it is though, just take a minute to think what would help move you just a squeak closer to the center of your being. And see if you can do that and give that to yourself. And I just want to share an example of this from my own life. So here's what it is. I am with my husband, and I am not in my gift zone. I'm in my zone of protection, and I'm not feeling as connected as I would like to feel. So what do I do? I could either just stay there and act like a normal human adult who has to bear those things and live with them, and is fine, and is just totally cool. And God knows I am often tempted to do that. Or I could ask, I could ask for something. I could ask for time to share deeper feelings. I could ask for a hug.

    Simple Acts of Giving in to Your Gift Zone

    Today we were in the supermarket and an elderly woman fell. It was really, really scary and we helped her until the ambulance came. But I was so shaken. So there I was in the supermarket and I just said to him, "I need a hug." That was a moment of saying I'm not in my gift zone. I am shaken. And that hug helped. Another example is when I need something, and this I think is true for all of us. When you need something but you feel embarrassed that you need it. So you distance yourself. But a way into the gift zone is actually making an ask. Whatever that ask is. "Can we have some time together? Can I talk to you about something? Could we just have some dumb time watching TV together on the couch tonight?" Whatever it is that the need is, but this is an intimacy fix exercise. It is that you think, where am I on the target? What would move me closer? And if you're in a relationship at that point with someone, what would move you closer in terms of your communication with that person? It's a sweet process. It's humbling, like I said. But it's glorious because when you do that, your reverb, the beautiful reverb of your being is going to be louder. Your vibration will be stronger. And in physics, something I've said before, in physics, the definition of gravity – The more mass something has, the more gravity it has.

    Letting the Gravity Pull Love into Your Life

    The more you're in your gift zone, the more mass of self, of authentic living self you embody. Hence the more gravity you have. And gravity is defined as a force that pulls things from the outside into the center of the object that has the gravity. The more you live from your gift zone, the more beautiful gravity you will have to pull love into your life. So thank you for listening to this important episode of Deeper Dating. I look forward to seeing you next week. And if you like what you heard, please join my mailing list at deeperdatingpodcast.com, or leave me a review on iTunes or anywhere else. Thank you all so much.
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
  • A Simple Question That Will Change Your Search for Love [EP027]
    In this episode, you'll learn one question that's just about guaranteed to open up your world, your heart, and your romantic future so you can change your search for love. You'll also hear the story of the extraordinary couple who taught it to me. This is one not to be missed.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Change Your Search for Love

    Change Your Search for Love
    There's one question we can ask ourselves that will change our intimacy lives in powerful and wonderful ways. Stay tuned to the deeper dating podcast, and I'll teach you what that question is. Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I'm Ken Page, and today I'm going to share with you a single question that will transform your whole intimacy journey, and in many ways your future life. Every week I'll share the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. You can also find the whole transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com and you can learn lots more about my approach, my work by going to deeperdatingpodcast.com.

    Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Leave Ken a Review

    If you sign up for my mailing list, you'll get a free gift of an e-book of mine and I'll get to tell you about all the projects I'm doing and work that other people are doing that I think is inspiring and might inspire you. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational. It's not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you're experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help.
    Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Leave Ken a Review
    I so appreciate the reviews Deeper Dating Podcast is getting from you, our listeners!
    By the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a wonderful gift to me if you could subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review or on any other platform. Thank you so much for that.

    The Skills of Seeking vs the Skills of Loving

    The Skills of Seeking vs The Skills of Loving
    Photographer: Will O | Source: Unsplash
    Okay, today we're going to talk about a simple question that will change your search for love. I want to say first that most dating advice focuses on the skills of seeking, not the skills of loving. There are millions of apps and events and websites with gazillions of opportunities for meeting. But really, until we learn how to choose healthy intimacy and until we learn how to nurture it's tender new shoots, it's really unlikely that we're going to find the kind of love we're seeking. When we approach our search for love in this way as an intimacy journey, not a race against time, not a search for a needle in a haystack, not an attempt to make ourselves better and more irresistible, but as an intimacy journey, everything changes. As I talk about in my book, Deeper Dating, I know I did not know that, and I spent decades in search of a relationship. I clocked countless hours looking for love in places that lacked love, using methods that had nothing to do, really, with love. Play cool, act witty, conceal any traits, God forbid, of any kind of unseemly need. As much as I tried, and God knows I tried, nothing worked. I was endlessly compulsively engrossed in my seeking, but it turns out that was not where the gold lay. As much as we're led to believe that finding love is about upping your numbers and improving your looks and acting more seductive or attractive, it's really ultimately, and this is big, this is really important.
    It is really ultimately our humanity that lets us find love and keep love.
    When we learn to bring our humanity into the ways we search for love, the real changes begin to happen.

    Breaking Free from Obstacles

    A number of years ago, many, many years ago, two friends and I who all called ourselves "chronically single psychotherapists", started a support group together. I've talked about that a little bit in past podcasts, but every week we would get together and we would support each other and we would come in with our stories of the same kind of obstacles that we hit again and again, the same kind of frustrations and left to our own smart devices, we would have still taken the same turns and ended up with the same old disappointments. But with each other's kind of exquisitely careful help, we found escape routes out of those patterns and as a result, the new choices that we made with each other's support had this lovely taste of earned wisdom and that group changed my life, changed my dating life, helped profoundly to lead me to love and changed all of our lives. More than anything else, it is through finding our own deeper insights that transforms our search for love. Every time you find new, wiser ways to approach your old dating dilemmas, every time you develop a new clarity or a new sense of warmth in your interactions, you'll feel a kind of new sense of hope and self-worth. Every one of those experiences is a signpost of growth. I really have come to believe that those moments move us to finding love more quickly than anything else.

    A Love Story Like No Other

    A Love Story Like No Other
    Photographer: Gemma Evans | Source: Unsplash
    When I was researching my book, "Deeper Dating", I interviewed lots and lots of people who I thought were in great relationships about how they found love. I had a friend who I'm going to call Manuel whose wife was, I'm going to say Suzanne. This is a true story, they just asked me to use different names. But I would meet Manuel at a conference every year. One year I asked him for the story of how he and Suzanne fell in love. The story that he told me was very powerful and I'm excited to share not just the story with you, but the insights that came out of it for him. Okay, Manuel met Suzanne in the Peace Corps. She was 30 and he was, get this, 18. He was a virgin and at first it was just sex. But after a bit of time he found himself bonding with her as they kept doing things together and he never dreamed that they would get serious and she didn't either. It just seemed preposterous. They were the total scandal of the community, and of course nobody thought they were going to last, including them. But they stayed together. They just stayed together, and after the Peace Corps they kept seeing each other. At a certain point they just had to kind of face reality. They were in love and they weren't going to give it up. They didn't even consider marriage or anything like that. But they knew that they weren't going to give it up.

    Love Is What You Make It

    Seven years into the relationship, Suzanne got this great offer for a new job and Manuel was applying to graduate school. It came to be a time that they just had to make a decision about their future and they decided to stay together. That was about 20 something years ago. They have four kids and they still feel like they're really good together and later I got to meet Suzanne and I totally agree. Manuel told me something sweet. He said,
    "I'm the more romantic one and Suzanne is the more practical one, but she lets me be romantic because she loves me."
    A few years into their marriage, Suzanne got a ruptured aneurysm in her aorta and she was six months pregnant with their baby. Suzanne almost died on the operating table. Her blood pressure went down to zero. Manuel couldn't even put words on the fear that he felt that night. Suzanne survived, but they lost their baby. He said they spent the next few months, mostly just crying on the couch together. Manuel told me about his defining moment. He said, I read somewhere that half the couples who lost a child ended up divorcing, and that's when something clicked inside of me. I knew which 50% we'd have to be. He said,
    "Marriages are not promises, they're for forever. After what we went through, Suzanne and I were one and I couldn't let that change no matter what."

    Love Is A Choice

    Photographer: Brigitta Schneiter | Source: Unsplash
    Then he said after that, he said, "Lots of people talk about soulmates," and I think this is so powerful. He said, "Lots of people talk about soulmates and that maybe is some people's experience of love, but I don't really buy it." He said, "I think you could search forever and just suffer if you're only looking for that 1,000% meant to be match." He said, "You need love, you need attraction for love to work, but," and I love this,
    "Ultimately, love is a choice."
    He said, "I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't decided to choose love many, many times over." He went on. He said, "Relationships take a lot of work, a lot. It is not about finding the absolute perfect match." He said,
    "It's about becoming someone who chooses love at the crossroads."
    Those words haunted me, becoming someone who chooses love at the crossroads. When I look back on my own kind of circuitous, painful decades of searching, I realized that it was when I started making new choices at my own countless crossroads that my search for love underwent a sea change.

    Surpassing the Crossroads

    Surpassing the Crossroads
    Photographer: Sora Sagano | Source: Unsplash
    In the land of dating and intimacy, all of us have countless micro crossroads and major crossroads and in-between crossroads, like do I approach her? Do I share a really vulnerable secret? Do I stop and really try to listen even though I don't want to? Do I say no to something that goes against my values? Do I leave or do I keep trying? Do I let the other person know the depth of my feelings? Or when do we start having sex and what kind of sex will it be? Do I admit how I like being touched or how I don't like being touched? Do I ask my partner the same? So many questions and really, really our future in love is determined by our choices at these countless crossroads. Do our choices leave us feeling enriched? Do they strengthen our good identity as someone who chooses love, even when that means something as hard as saying no to unhealthy relationships? If so, if we can say yes to that, then we're probably on a path that's going to lead us closer to real love. In my years of dating, and I would not have admitted this to anyone, but somewhere deep down, I really, really believed that the true key to finding love was just to lose those damn pounds and to finally get more confident. I cannot have been more mistaken. Losing weight is a great thing. Being authentically confident is a great thing, but it was something completely different that led me to love. It was learning to become someone who chose intimacy at the crossroads again and again. That's what did it.

    The Ultimate Question

    Whether you're seeking a relationship or you're in one already, I invite you to befriend this single question. In the countless crossroads that you encounter in your relationships with yourself, with the world, in your romantic relationships, to ask yourself this question, what would it mean to choose intimacy at this crossroads right now? More than anything else, I think that is the question that leads us to love and helps us keep that love alive and shining and growing. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Deeper Dating podcast. Again, if you enjoyed what I talked about, I'd really appreciate it if you could leave me a review. Thank you everyone who has, and thank you everyone who listened to this episode and good luck as you learn to choose love at all of your personal crossroads. Have a wonderful weekend. I'll see you at the next episode.
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
  • A Practice That Can Lead You to Love [EP026]
    This short practice is a powerful, life-enhancing tool for finding love. It liberates waves of buried passion, and then uses that passion to change the course of your intimacy life. There's no rigid recipe to follow. All you need is your longing for love, and 5-10 minutes a day. You can learn it in this episode.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Ancient Practice

    Ancient Practice
    Five to ten minutes a day to make you a deeper, wiser person, to widen and expand your heart, and to call deeper love into your life. This ancient practice is short, contemplative, and one of the fiercest agents of change that I know, and you can learn it right now on the Deeper Dating podcast. So, stay tuned. Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I'm Ken Page, and today I'm going to share one of the ancient practices that is the absolute closest to my heart for helping people truly transform and rewire their entire approach to intimacy and love. Every week, I'm going to bring you access to the greatest insights and the most powerful ancient practices I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    Subscribe to iTunes and Leave Ken a Review

    By the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a wonderful thank you if you left a review on iTunes. And thank you to all the people who've left amazing reviews for me. I truly appreciate it. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It's not medical, psychiatric, or psychological advice or treatment. And if you're experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help. Before we jump in, if you're interested in learning more about this work and taking it and applying it to your intimacy journey, please go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and join my mailing list, and you'll get tons of free resources and lots of information, as well as weekly getting my new podcast episode. Okay, so let's jump in.

    The Meditator Medicator

    Photographer: Dingzeyu Li | Source: Unsplash
    This short, practice is a powerful life-enhancing tool for finding love. It liberates waves of buried passion, and then it uses that passion to change the course of your intimacy life. There's no rigid recipe to follow. All you need is your longing for love and 5 to 10 minutes a day. Even if your focus is terrible, like mine, it still works if you put your heart into it. You can also use this practice to support you in achieving any heartfelt life goal at all. It's a spiritual practice, but I'll say more about that. The first thing I want to say is I've heard so many people say to me that they're too restless to meditate, and I completely relate. I have been a serious meditator medicator. I completely relate, and I have been a serious meditator for about 50 years, but my mind wanders constantly. I spent a ton of my time making lists, solving problems, and rehashing grievances, and issues, and concerns. But still, my meditation life is filled with more peace, and joy, and insight than I could even imagine. And why? Because I have been meditating terribly for so many years. Spiritual practice does not need to be anywhere near pristine in order to work. It could be messy. It could be sloppy. As long as there are moments where you put your heart into it and you keep doing it, you're going to get the results.

    The Powerful and Exquisite Beauty of Longing

    Photographer: Iswanto Arif | Source: Unsplash
    I want to talk now a bit about why this ancient practice works. I'm going to talk about the power of longing. Longing has been given a terrible, terrible rap. I talk about this a lot more in my book Deeper Dating and in other podcasts. We've been told that longing is unhealthy, unattractive, and that we should just be fine on our own before we can find love, and I don't buy it. I have found longing to be perhaps our greatest ally in finding and keeping love. There is no question that longing hurts, and longing for someone who's unavailable is not a place we want to be. But, longing is a central part of our human experience. And the closer we get to our deepest feelings, the more we're going to feel the pain of love's absence. That's true even if we're married, even if we're in relationships, even if we have kids. That experience of the pain of life's absence is what purifies, and transforms us, and makes us choose love and choose actions that lead to greater love even when they go against our habits and our patterns. It's that longing that's the rocket fuel to get us out of the gravity zone of our self-centered patterns. When love is missing, our loneliness and our longing tells us it's missing. When our life is empty, our longing tells us it's empty. And when we learn to treasure our longing, it deepens us immensely. Our longing has the power to make us fight for what we want, including fighting against our own habits of isolation.

    Revealing the Formula

    In general, there's a formula, and the formula is the depth of our longing as well as the presence of support will determine the leverage we have in changing the patterns that block us from love. When longing burns inside us, we change because we have to. To paraphrase Kafka,
    "Longing is the ax that breaks the frozen sea within us."
    So before I teach you this practice, I want to say a lot of listeners may not believe in a higher power, and maybe you cringe at the thought of a spiritual practice. If you fall into that camp, I encourage you to honor your beliefs, but still make this practice your own, and you can. Instead of asking God or a higher power for help, ask for the support of your vast untapped potential.

    The Art of Tapping Into Your Inner Self

    None of us don't think that there's vast untapped potential in us, I believe. Or think about what makes you feel hopeful, strong, and loving, and use that for your inspiration. Or as in the inner mentor process, imagine the you that you are meant to be, the you that you dream of becoming, the you on the other side of all your internal glass ceilings, and focus on that as the presence that you're asking help of. Put your heart into this process, and you will move closer to love with or without believing in any kind of deity. For those of you who do believe in a higher power or think you might believe, I encourage you to bring your most private heart to this process. If you feel that your higher power is the primal love, the source of love, then this is just the place to share your longing for partnership. You're going to be asking for help, and asking for help is scary. It brings us to our most vulnerable place. But that's the very place where love grows most, grows most freely, and most lushly. Let yourself enjoy the deep intimacy of asking and practicing trust.

    Initiating the Process

    Photographer: Nik Shuliahin | Source: Unsplash
    Now I'm going to teach you this process, 5 minutes or 10 minutes towardS intimacy. Here's how to do it. And try this. I think you'll love it. It's intense. It is intense, but its intensity is a measure of its power to really catalyze change. Start out by finding a place in your home where you feel safe and peaceful. Sit down in that spot with a paper and pen. Now, if you're driving or you're walking and you can't do that, don't worry about it. You could do it right here as you listened to this podcast. What I want you to do is to craft an ask that speaks of your desire for love. Maybe it would be a prayer. Maybe it wouldn't be an ask, maybe it would be an affirmation. But what I want you to do is be really, really brave with your words, and I want you to craft an ask that really touches your heart. Find the words that could even bring a hint of tears to your eyes. Find the words that burn. Find the words that have the most truth, whatever they are. And you're not stuck with those words forever. They could change many times, even they could change in the course of a five-minute practice, so don't worry about that. Don't worry about sounding wise. Don't worry about sounding spiritual. Don't worry about sounding polished. Even just the word help is enough.

    The Universe Listens to the Words You Tell Yourself

    And if there's a prayer or an affirmation that you've read or heard that speaks to you, use that one. For me, the prayer that I used in this … In retrospect, thinking back, the two things that I feel help me the most to be able to find wonderful, healthy, good love and transform some really crappy patterns of dating that I had were this practice and the support of other people. Those are the two things. My prayer that I used was a prayer from Paramahansa Yogananda, who has been my spiritual teacher since I was a kid, and it goes like this. It says,
    "Dear God, bless me that I choose my life companion based on your ways of perfect soul unity."
    I love that because my ways were not about perfect soul unity. They were about somebody who was hot, and also exciting, and also really interested in me. That was my way, and it didn't work too good. Not that I didn't want somebody who was hot, and that was hard for me because I thought, "If I go with that prayer, am I going to give up someone I'm sexually attracted to?" And absolutely not. I just chose to lead with the things that would touch me and move me the most, which were a person's goodness and solidity, which is the whole basis now of what I teach.

    You Can Summon the Love That You Long For

    Here's another story. I know somebody who went into her yard every night before bed and she looked at the sky, and she just thought about the reality that there was someone out there for her looking for someone like her. They just hadn't met yet. I call that a reality because that is a reality. There are people out there right now who you would love and would love you, and you just haven't found each other yet. That's a kind of mysterious, amazing, look-at-the-stars kind of truth. Anyway, she would sing "Goodnight, My Someone" from The Music Man. She would ask this person into her life. This person is happy. She's happily partnered now, and she really feels like that process made a difference. I have another friend. His prayer was,
    "Beloved, I open my heart to you."
    That was his … And he would just picture the person waiting for him.

    The Search for the Magic Bullet

    The Search for the Magic Bullet
    Photographer: Natalya Letunova | Source: Unsplash
    If you want to use an affirmation, that's perfect, too. Just create a sentence that feels hopeful, and believable, and moving. The way you know a prayer's right, the way you know an affirmation is right is only one way. Well, two ways, how true it rings and how much it moves you. You got to find one that rings true and touches your heart. When you have that, you have a tool that is so powerful. You have a magic bullet. This practice might sound really simple, but just wait. Wait til you do it. Because when we ask for what we most want and we use the personal language of our yearning, we generate heat, and we generate emotion, and we generate longing, and hard things might happen. You may start to dread that you'll never find love. That's a normal, normal thing. Or you might start feeling like you don't deserve your heart's desire. Or you might just be feeling like the pain of your unmet needs for partnership, for family, and those are hard things to tolerate, and they all come up when we do this work.

    The Process That Works

    So why do something that hurts and is hard, even for 5 or 10 minutes? Here's why it works. It changes our characters. It changes our behaviors. It sets forces in motion that are below your conscious mind. It will burn away your protective layers of numbness, and distractedness, and fixation on all the minor concerns that just could fill up the page for us. And it reminds you of what you care about the most. When you do this practice passionately and regularly, your whole life will shift on its axis. When you first try it, expect to do it really badly. Actually, let me give you the … Let me stop and give you the way that you do this. There's a process, and this process comes from the ancient contemplative process of prayer that has been used forever and forever in every religion. It's a contemplative, rich, beautiful practice. It's simple as hell, but it's amazing. Here's what it is. You say the prayer, and then you just wait. Maybe you were thinking about your shopping list, so then you say the prayer again. Maybe you feel numb. You say the prayer again. You each time you try to bring your heart into it. Then, you say the prayer again, and this time you feel moved. You feel touched. You feel something stirring inside.

    The Stirring Within

    The Stirring Within
    Photographer: Miguel Bruna | Source: Unsplash
    When that happens, you ride that wave. You let that happen as long as it happens. You let that wave pass, that wave of emotion, of feeling, of something stirring inside you. Because in those moments, a download is going into you, some kind of amazing download that is going to change your circuitry, so just let the download complete when you have those moments of being touched and moved in some way, even if you can't put words on it. Then, just feel the ripples afterwards. Give yourself space for that. Then, say the words again. Maybe this time you'll be thinking about someone who just annoyed you. It's okay. Say the words again. This time, you won't focus at all. You won't even say the words. You'll be like gone for three minutes. That's fine. Come back to the words. Say them again. When you have those moments, when you have those moments of passion, when your heart takes you on a ride of something, yearning, longing, a deep stirring inside, just ride that wave and give your heart to it because it's changing you. It's downloading something inside of you, and those are gold. You might want to flee from this. You might check the clock every 30 seconds. Don't worry. It's okay. If you have, like in those 5 to 10 minutes, if you have two moments of really being connected to your heart, you've got gold and your world's going to begin to change. That is the gold.

    How Do You Recognize the Right Prayer

    Just let this practice take on a life of its own, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, the words of your heart. Don't do some dry prayer that you think is really nice that someone said if it doesn't ring, like ring. And if it doesn't touch your heart and move you, it's not the right prayer for the moment, so you find the one that is. It'll blow you away. This process will blow you away. You will unequivocally be connected to your deepest humanity, to your heart, to your soul. Sometimes it's going to feel dry. Sometimes it's going to feel forced. Expect that. But, sometimes it's going to touch you and your longing is going to be ignited. Or maybe you'll feel a sense of peace or hope, and just know that in those moments something truly amazing is happening that's changing your world and is going to change your future. Then, again, when the wave passes, just go back to repeating your words and just enjoy every time your practice takes wing. Don't worry about all the gazillion times that it won't. This is what I want to say. I celebrate sloppy, spiritual practice. I am 1000% in favor of sloppy spiritual practice because I have been practicing my spiritual practices sloppily and badly for about half a century, and they're glorious, and they have changed my world. Don't worry about being pristine. Don't worry about being anywhere near pristine. Doing this process, doing this process pretty much every day will change your world, and you'll notice it.

    Who Can You Share the Momentous Event

    You will notice shifts in your being. And when you do, write to me. Go to deeperdatingpodcasts.com, and go to Ask Ken. Use the microphone, and report in what's going on or just leave a comment somewhere describing on one of the many places where this podcast lives just describing what happens for you. This process burns, but it burns new space. And what fires together, wires together. You will be wiring a new circuitry of depth, and power, and intimacy, and humanity that's going to change the course of your life. This is one of the sweetest but also fiercest practices I know, and you can use it for anything that matters to you. You just find the place of the deep ask, and then you craft this process and allow yourself to sit in the presence of it. Thank you all for listening. Give this a shot. Let me know how it goes, and have a wonderful week. I'll see you in the next episode of the Deeper Dating podcast.
    Deeper Dating by Ken Page
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
  • LGBT Gifts to the World Community: It’s Pride! [EP025]
    Here’s a look at some profound LGBT gifts to the community in celebration of Pride. Get ready for some very moving stories and inspiring insights for every person who cares about love, liberation and healing. Which would be you.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Pride

    Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I'm Ken Page. And in honor of Pride Month, today I'm going to be talking about what the LGBTQ community offers the world community in terms of lessons about love, freedom and personal growth. Every week, I'll give you access to the greatest insights and practices I know. This will help you find love and keep it flourishing, while healing your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. And the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. And you can also find the entire transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com. And you can sign up for my mailing list there and get a free gift. Also, if you like what you're learning here, it would be tremendous gift to me if you could subscribe on iTunes and share a review. And thank you so much to everyone who's done that. Finally, I just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It's not meant to be medical or psychiatric advice, or treatment for any condition. And if you're experiencing serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help.

    The LGBT Gifts

    The LGBT Gifts
    Photographer: Peter Hershey | Source: Unsplash
    Different communities have different gifts that they offer the world. LGBTQ people have gifts that I'm going to talk about here that are profoundly, urgently important to the world community at this stage in our evolution. I'm going to talk about what those are. As a gay man, married with kids, who teaches about intimacy mostly to a universal audience, I have a number of thoughts and insights that I feel so strongly about getting to share with the community of my listeners about some of the gifts that the LGBTQ community offers the world at this point. I'm going to talk about the meaning of coming out. I'm going to talk about creating freedom from gender role rigidity, and I'm going to talk about a new kind of spirituality that embraces our humanity in new ways. All of these are areas that the LGBTQ community has championed in profound ways, and there are others too, but these are the ones I'm going to talk about today.

    The Power and Risk of Authenticity

    All of us wrestle with this struggle between fear and authenticity. Every moment of our day we have to make a choice about how much we're going to live from the power and risk of our authenticity. Coming out is an act of heroism that everyone is called to, but LGBTQ people are called in a particular way because it's scary as hell and there's so much to lose. Not doing it eats away at our being and doing it, although scary, gives us a new life, a life unfortunately where we have to give up often many relationships with people who can't accept it. But the bottom line is, the coming out party, you don't have to be gay to join. We all get to live the existential experience of coming out. I'm just honoring the bravery of LGBTQ people in that and talking about that coming out journey now in some very particular ways.

    My Dear, Dear Friend, Michael Clemente

    But I want to start out with a story about a friend and this story is going to carry through this whole episode. I met him in college. We met, and in one sentence he opened up my world. The way that he opened up my world captures so many of these gifts that I'm talking about. At the time, I was reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road, which was totally required reading for any post-hippie college student. Michael and I were maybe the only people who had read that book in this particular group of people. I was very excited and I said, "Wasn't it great?" Michael said to me, "I really didn't like it." And I was like, "What? How would you not like "On the Road?" He said to me that he didn't like it because he thought the characters were really unkind to each other. Now this blew me away. What guy says something like that? It was an invitation to a new world to me. I had been out of the closet since high school, but I didn't even know guys were allowed to talk that way. I had never ever encountered a man so unashamed of his gentleness. Michael wrote a song once called "God Save the Queen."

    The Story Behind the Song

    He talked about the grief, the pain, and the beauty of being very effeminate. He had a line that was so beautiful. He said that, "so many gay men have a gentle elegance that no one celebrates." Well, his gentleness was amazing to me. It was like a North Star. For the first time in a new way, I could envision dismantling a lifelong wall that I had constructed against myself. I had done my best to wall that part of me off ever since I was a kid because I just didn't think it was allowed. Guys did not get to do that. That's one of the glorious, glorious gifts that the LGBTQ community brings to the world and has brought the world. Dr. Evelyn Hooker was a groundbreaking psychologist and researcher. Her work led to the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness. She would quote the novelist, Finn Carling. She quoted him actually when she won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association. This was his quote. He said,
    "I am not only studying homosexuals but I am studying refugees because they teach me the meaning of movement. I'm studying the blind because they will teach me the meaning of sight, of vision. I am studying homosexuals because they will teach me the meaning of love."
    What does that mean? Well, when we are denied love as queer people have been denied the sense of God's blessing, of the world's blessing, of our family's blessing, in the possibility of finding love. When we're denied love, our battle to reclaim it teaches everyone what love is all about.

    The Internal Warfare Between Self-Love and Self-Denial

    The Internal Warfare Between Self-Love and Self-Denial exists despite of the many LGBT gifts
    Photographer: Matthew T Rader | Source: Unsplash
    And virtually, every person in the LGBTQ community is forced to make a choice between self-acceptance and self-loathing. Between coming out and not coming out, between truth and safety. Choice is universal. It's bigger than self, than sexual orientation and it's bigger than gender identity. It's all of our challenge, being the first person to say, "I love you." Standing up for something you believe in when it's unpopular. Saying no to your own guilt and shame so that you can move ahead with what really matters to you. There are countless ways to come out, and in saying that, I don't want to minimize the people whose coming out experience is actually life and death. The people in Tanzania, in Kenya, and in so many countries where coming out means being stoned to death. Being imprisoned for decades, being imprisoned for life, having your very life and the lives of the people you love put at risk. This is big stuff. Those folks who are still standing up for LGBTQ rights, the bravery's unimaginable. They're human heroes, as there are heroes in every liberation movement. I also want to acknowledge the micro-coming outs. The moments that bravery is required of us again and again in love and in life.

    Love Is the Prerogative of the Brave

    Until we take that scary leap of expressing who we are, we don't know how the world's going to receive us. We can be met with derision or worse. We could be wounded, perhaps really terribly. But when we're met with acceptance, even delight, it's like freedom. We feel self validation at the deepest levels. It's as though we're finally given license to meet the world skin to skin. And that is where we glimpse our capacity for greatness., for life changing love. When we're brave enough to say who we are. And then we change the people around us like Michael changed me that day. As Gandhi said,
    "Love is the prerogative of the brave."
    Michael remained my dear friend and my mentor until he died of AIDS in 1991. I loved him urgently, I loved him fiercely. When he was diagnosed with AIDS, he began a very intense fight for survival through self healing. He created the most incredible art and his artist statement said that the essence of what he's learned is that even though his truth might scare him, even though his truth might not be something he liked, he would love it because it represented his survival. The very parts of him that he thought he needed to hide in order to survive. He discovered that his very survival depended on his championing and honoring those parts of himself.

    Michael's Coming Out Journey

    One thing that coming out meant for Michael was coming out to his parents. He was already living with his partner Edwin, but nobody really talked about it in the family. He was afraid to do that. He finally decided to do it, it was part of his healing. He was finally going to say the words to his parents. He said he did and he said he felt like he was like standing on the table dancing in a pink tutu. It was mortifying for him, but he did it. They were wonderful. They accepted it fully, they knew. But after he finished coming out, he wrote this poem, and I'm going to read it to you because it captures the exquisite, magnificent challenge of coming out.
    I held on to my secret. I held on to my secret tightly. I hid it behind my teeth. I choked it in my throat. I crushed it in my chest. I was dwarfed by it. Humiliated by it, chased by it. I stepped over the edge when I revealed my secret, but it didn't hurt. My other foot simply landed. It was after all, no revelation to me. The pain I was protecting myself from by carrying my secret was the pain I was inflicting on myself by carrying my secret.
    So this coming out journey is a journey of bravery and a journey of claiming love.

    Coming Out Is An Act of Bravery

    When God, when your parents, when the culture, when your friends all tell you that you will lose love, that you will lose God, that you will lose your community, of course that's so much less true now, but as a 62 year old gay man, I lived that. I remember walking on the beach with a friend of mine who I loved, a really good hearted guy and I kind of tested the waters. I said to him, his name was Kenny too. I said, "Kenny, did you ever think like what it would be like if you were gay?" I just wanted to hear what this very balanced sweet guy would say. He said, "it would be terrible because I would never have another friend. I would lose all my friends, I'd have nobody." And I just thought, "Oh shit, my future." Coming out is an act of bravery. When one person is brave, when one person is heroic, they lead the way for others. So, I just want to present this as one piece of the kind of gift of LGBTQ people to the world community.

    The Gender Role Stereotyping

    Despite of the many LGBT gifts to the community, LGBTQ still face gender role stereotyping
    Photographer: Markus Spiske | Source: Unsplash
    So now, we're going to speak about freedom from limiting gender stereotypes and spirituality. Two ways in which the LGBTQ community is in some ways leading the world towards the vision of freedom. So, all these stuff that we're talking about, yes it's definitely about honoring the rights of LGBTQ people who kind of lived outside the box, of what we're supposed to be or what we have been told we are supposed to be. But what I'm talking about here is a vision that means freedom for everyone. Even if you're heterosexual and you consider your self naturally and organically feminine if you're a woman or masculine if you're a man, these ideas that I'm going to talk about have the power to change your way of thinking about yourself and the world forever. Because LGBTQ folks have had to rethink this stuff in order to survive and hence we ended up in this arena helping to lead the way to a much free world. It's like what Finn Carling said, "I study homosexuals because they can teach me about love." Well, homosexuals also have been told that we don't have a right to God and spirituality. The ways in which we've crafted the path towards a more affirming and loving spirituality that embraces us is healing for the entire world.

    L.G.B.T.Q – What It Stands For

    LGBT Gifts - What the acronym stand for
    Photographer: Toni Reed | Source: Unsplash
    We've been told that we have to fit in within the gender binary as well. And the ways in which we have to rethink that and find a way toward authenticity that breaks the rules and breaks the cages of the gender binary is visionary for the entire world. So, that all of us can have more freedom in our authentic expression of self. So hold on to your seat because we have a ride ahead that may shake you up in wonderful ways, and it's a vision of a world where authenticity trumps gender roles for all of us, and what a world that would be. I'm just going to back up for a minute, and I'm going to say something about this acronym LGBTQ which I've been using freely but haven't really explained.
    L is for Lesbian. G is for gay. B is for bisexual. T is transgender, people in the transgender spectrum, wherever that might lie. Q is for queer.
    They are people who don't fit the normal cultural roles around sexuality and/or gender identity and expression. But also, that's not just a label, the Q, it's an identity that includes being proud. It is embracing freedom around gender identity, and gender expression, and sexuality, and sexual orientation that has not been allowed in the past. So, it's a term of pride and freedom. Also, people use I, which is intersex. I'm including that in this whole kind of range, but intersex is for people who are biologically not within the gender binary. They're born with attributes of male and female. I think that's something like a little bit under 1% of the population.

    The Gender Binary

    Gender Binary cannot stop the LGBT gifts to the community
    Photographer: Tim Mossholder | Source: Unsplash
    Okay, jumping in. Around the issue of gender, the main problem is the gender binary. What's the gender binary?
    This is the gender binary – Two sizes fits all. Male or female, you're one or the other.
    You behave like a female if you want to do this right or you behave like a male if you want to do this right, depending on your biology. Sexual stereotyping comes from the gender binary. As a woman, this is how you're supposed to behave. As a man, this is how you're supposed to behave, even if your authentic self is different. There are literally no words, no words, to convey the damage of limiting people based on their gender. I'm talking about the whole spectrum from punishments of death for people who break outside of the gender binary; torture, imprisonment, emotional torture, being ostracized. All the way to the subtler forms where you see a boy do something and be told, like an example – my son took out a book on fairies. The librarian said to him, "Oh, no, no, no. No, honey You don't want that book. That's not for you," and she pulled it out of his hands and gave him some book about baseball. I don't know what it was. That stuff is little, it's kind of funny, but it's not. It's oppressive. Luckily, he had a dad who said, "You take out that book on fairies. It's totally fine. I'll call the librarian if you like." There is a whole range, but I want to say that the wealth of pain, and entrapment, and imprisonment that comes from that, I cannot minimize. I cannot minimize the vastness of pain and loss that comes from sexual stereotyping.

    Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

    But, I want to say something else, too. As we move away from these old-fashioned ideas about what a man is supposed to be, what a woman is supposed to be, and as we now acknowledge that men have the right to be sensitive, have a right to be vulnerable, have a right to be metrosexual, and that women have the right to be empowered, and fierce, and successful, even as that's done, there is a more subtle version that most of us don't see. And here's what it is. It's attributing qualities to men and women and assuming that they are so universally. There are these electrical tripwires of gender taboo that we are inculcated to follow and almost none of us, just about all of us have parts that color outside of the lines when it comes to gender and we need to not be afraid to let those parts emerge.

    Living Between Two Worlds

    LGBT Gifts : Living Between Two Worlds
    Photographer: Warren Wong | Source: Unsplash
    John Gottman, a brilliant and very important researcher in the field of marriage, and romantic relationships, and human relationships, he says, he has said that the LGBTQ community is about 200 years ahead of where the heterosexual community is in terms of relationship health in some particular arenas. And one is the freedom of gender fluidity, not being locked into these crippling ideas about what a man is and what a woman is. The research shows fascinating stuff. It shows that women, that relationships, heterosexual relationships, where one partner is very stereotypically masculine and the other partner's very stereotypically feminine, often have more conflict, less harmony, and less good sex than couples where in there's just more of a sense of fluidity. There's quite a bit of research showing that the more of that kind of gender fluidity a couple has, the happier they are and the better their sex life is.

    Expressivity Versus Instrumentality

    LGBT Gifts: Expressivity Versus Instrumentality
    Photographer: Andrik Langfield | Source: Unsplash
    And in fact, researchers now are doing this very wise thing when they're studying this material. They don't say masculine and feminine because the minute you say masculine, you mean of the male and of the female, and these attributes don't really work like that. So, they're now saying Expressivity versus Instrumentality. Instrumentality is the traditional male qualities of empowerment, leadership, getting things done, an intensity of spirit, a sense of directedness, and purpose, and focus. Expressivity is the quality of sensitivity, emotionality, creativity, receptivity. It's a wiser and more beautiful world if those qualities are not surgically bonded to your biology, but instead become a representation of who you are.

    What Happens to Us In The Face of Limiting Gender Roles

    Have you ever seen dogs confined in those electric fences? They get a training collar but they don't see a fence. If they go outside the fence area, they get zapped. And if you watch a dog, they think it's total freedom. They'll start going out of that fenced area and they'll get zapped and get freaked out. Comes back in, happens again. Maybe it never happens after that. Maybe it happens once more but then you watch their behavior. They walk around freely inside the fence but they never get too close to that electrified fence. Their movements become circumscribed. That's what we become like with gender expression. That's where the LGBT community has been so wildly liberating for the community, along with the women's movement. Hand in hand, these two liberation movements have said, "We don't have to follow that," and they've turned off current of this electric fence. But if you take out that dog and you say, "Come on out!", you put a bowl of food outside of that electric fence, that dog is going to shake and shiver and won't go out for the food and that's what it's like for me. For all of us in this world of gender binary. When we're told, "Hey baby there's no fences. You can be who ever you want." It's scary, and it's hard to do, and we're trying to lead the way as a world in doing that. But I want to say this is more nuanced here and I want to say that there is huge toxic sexism in the LGBTQ community also. Like around men saying, you've got to be masculine, no femmes. I don't want femmes in like the dating app.

    Self-Acceptance Is the Key to Authenticity

    There are tons of toxic patriarchy and gender role rigidity in the LGBTQ community as well. I don't want to pretend that it's not there. All of us are wrestling with the crippling implications of the gender binary. This is really simple in a certain way. The task is to embrace the parts of us that are authentically us. Where they fit the gender stereo type, great. We'll have it easy. They're real and they're you. But we need to learn to see where they don't and we need to learn to occupy those parts of ourselves. That's emotional liberation, and it's fun, and it's freeing beyond words. And here's the last thing I want to say about this, as we all, as the human community begins to cross those electric wires and say with pride, "Oh, God. This part of me seemed too feminine. I was kind of mortified by it, or afraid to express it in bed or to the world, or in the board room or anywhere, but it's me and I'm going to.”

    Something Nuclear Happens Outside the Fence

    As we begin to find those parts of ourselves that are outside the electric fence that we've been afraid to embody and we embody them, something nuclear happens because those are the secret parts of us.
    And when we embrace them, we become a full self.
    The toothpaste is out of the tube. It's not going to go back in. But it's not fully out either. And part of this is only going to happen in time because our concept like the level of vulnerability that a man have but still be sexy is hugely improved and hugely expanded over what it was. The same with women for qualities of instruments mentality. But we still have a long way to go. And as we do, our sexual and romantic tastes will change. We'll be less repulsed, less frightened by people who play more freely in the gender spectrum and move away from the concept of like a switch that's either A or B to an entire console of possibilities. As we do that, we will develop a taste for that.

    Michael’s Final Moments

    So, I want to share one more story here. One last story and it's about my friend, Michael. Michael started getting really sick. I knew that he was going to die within the next few months, and I found that I was not able to cry and I love Michael so much. It kind of horrified me to feel how blocked I was. I went to a therapist named Harold Kooden. I said, "Michael’s going to die, and I've got a wall. I'm not able to grieve. Something is shut down inside of me." And we did a lot of work together and toward the end of the session, he asked, "Is there some part of you that feels where the tears lie?" And I said, "Yeah, I guess so. I can't really access it that well, but it's there." He said, "What's an image of that to you?" So I went inside and I found the image. The image surprised me and concerned me a little. It was a woman. A very full figured kind of fertility goddess type of woman who was kind of sensual, unrolling, and very earth mother kind of place. This was me.

    Breaking the Gender Taboo

    That made me a little nervous because gender binary breaking free is hard for me too. But, I told him, "There's a woman who's kind of undulating, moving, and kind of deep earth mother, big hips, and that's that me that can hold the grief." He said, "Can you allow yourself to be her?" I said, I'm going to try and I did. The floodgate opened up, and I was finally able to cry. And I cried and I cried and it was because I broke through the gender taboo. I went to the other side and I found a me that was so empowered and so precious and saved my life and allowed me to be able to be all of me for the rest of the time while I had Michael and after Michael passed. That's one example of the nuclear power and I want to say this to everybody. There is such liberation when you do this and that's the path to freedom I envision. And the LGBTQ community is presenting a picture of a world where all of us get to play wherever in the spectrum we are at a given moment and know that that's okay.

    My Spiritual Journey as a Pride

    Okay now, the last but not the least I want to talk about is spirituality. Because for me, well, I've always been a deeply spiritual person. My relationship with the higher power, with God is always been important and it's been a trauma for me for years and years and years that somewhere inside I really believed that God did not love me as much. That my relationship with God had to somehow be infused with a kind of shame. There’s someone I know who is a devout Christian. But when he and his husband had sex, he turns the picture of Christ in the bedroom backwards because he just felt such shame. And like Finn Carling said,
    Our queer journey to our LGBTQ journey is to find a way past those boundaries, those walls. It is a journey that can illuminate the path to an affirming, loving God for the entire world.
    So I just want to start saying a few things about that. Christian de la Huerta, a friend and a wonderful visionary teacher, wrote a book called Coming Out Spiritually. That book had a section in it which was a kind of cross-cultural study of indigenous cultures and their relationship to people who were outside gender norms and who were gay. It's amazing and what he discovered was that in the vast majority of these cultures that he speaks about, it was almost always the are two-spirit people. The gay people, the people who lived in both the masculine and feminine world. The "Berdaches" – Whatever words were used. That mostly in many many cultures, the people who are the shamans, the priests, and the priestesses were the people who are outside of the gender norms.

    The Definition of Sacred

    A teacher of mine years ago explained this to me, a Native American teacher, and I wasn't connecting it to the LGBT community at that time. But he said that in many Native American traditions, the definition of sacred is a being that can have each foot in a different world. That is why there was a quality of sacredness that was considered to be part of the berdaches, the two-spirited people. And it's fascinating. Everybody should know this, that in so many indigenous cultures, the shamans, the spiritual teachers, the priestesses, the priests were LGBTQ. There's a wonderful book. It's called The Zuni Man-Woman. It's about a leader whose name was We'wha. This was in the 1800s. She or he was a revered two-spirit person in the Zuni community, dressed as a woman, master potter, master weaver, and a great, great spirit. The Zuni community in the 1800s sent We'wha to Washington because they said if someone is capable of bridging both the masculine and the feminine with such grace and such wisdom, maybe they'll be able to help us make sense of the white Washington world and help the white Washington world make sense of us. There are these pictures of We'wha teaching cooking to the president and becoming part of the elite of the Washington community. That's kind of a capturing of this way that I guess also articulates why so many priests, why so many artists, why so many people in the arts, why so many teachers are LGBTQ.

    Taking a Chance on God

    It's a mystery. I don't want to put any labels on that, but I just want to say that there's fascinating understandings that can be done here. A spiritual teacher of mine whose name was John McNeill, wonderful documentary done about him called Taking a Chance on God. One of his books, Sex as God Intended, I wrote the forward to. John was an absolute visionary because he was able to separate this fierce and powerful shame around being gay from his love of God, and he presented a path where we all could do that. He had the most wonderful prayer. He said, "Dear God, we " I may not get this exactly right, but it's essentially, "we, LGBTQ people are special children of yours. Bless us with such a profound experience of your love that healed of our wounds we become free to play our lives in your presence." I love that. I love that, and it's for all of us. It's for all of us.

    Trauma and Abuse

    I want to sidestep a little now, and I want to talk a bit about trauma and abuse. A way to understand abuse is that what abuse does is it surgically bonds the most precious parts of ourselves to pain and shame. This has been done to LGBTQ people in a few different ways around their sex life, around their ability to love romantically, and around their relationship to God, and also around the relationship to the potential of parenting and the world community. When anyone works through abuse and comes forward as a full self, they're heroes to the world. For all of us as LGBTQ people, part of our presence in the world journey is that our journey to heal the ways that our sexuality, our love, and our spirituality becomes surgically bonded to shame and pain, and our ability to unwire from that and come forward as who we authentically are is a story of liberation for the world. This community, like every community of liberation, like every oppressed community, in some beautiful ways has the opportunity to lead the way in the world. I'm hoping that some of the stories that I share, some of the visions of a kind of liberated world ring true for you, give you a sense of hope and a sense of possibility.

    An Electric Shock of Trauma

    I'm going to close with one last story. I have been to and have led countless LGBTQ spiritual retreats. In one of those, a man got up and told a story I will never forget. He was a young man who fell in love with a boy. This was a long long time ago, it was down south. It was rough. And he fell in love with this boy. It was a beautiful relationship. Somehow in the face of all of these fear, all of these prejudice, this exquisite, magnificent love was born between these two guys. They loved each other, they were kind together. They were good together. They adored each other. Obviously, that's not going to be able to last so easily. So, one Sunday, he went to church and the priest decided to give a speech. This was right after he had had sex with this person and that was beautiful and exciting and wonderful. And like the next day or few days later, he went to church and the priest decided that he was going to talk about everlasting hell. He talked about how if you have gay sex, you will be condemned to burn in hell for eternity. This was like an electric shock of trauma to this man, and not because he thought of himself burning in hell for eternity, because he thought, "I just condemned this person I love so dearly to being burning in hell for eternity."

    Overcoming the Trauma

    This was such electrifying trauma that he could not love or have sex for decades after that. What beautiful love that is the thing that caused him such pain was that he did this to this person he loved who he never spoke to again and never saw again because he did not want to contaminate him. Decades later, this man gets up and tells a story of his own healing, of his own finally unwiring from that hell, and his own ability to begin to come into his sexuality at a much older, much older age and be able to find a god that loved him and cherished him. That journey, that terrible and beautiful journey, is a journey of embodying our own hearts.

    The Final Message

    That's a human journey. That is an example of the beautiful journey that LGBTQ people have had to go through in order to claim their right to have loving lives in the world, and all of us can benefit from these lessons. These are challenges and invitations to all of us to create a world without these kinds of violence that are done to our spirits, through limited spiritual beliefs, through limited gender role beliefs, through limited beliefs about love. I hope I'm presenting a picture of hope and vision, and I hope that I'm somehow able to thank all the LGBTQ people in the world who have stood up for that vision, even in the face of the most terrible and unimaginable punishments. Thank you all for sticking with me. I'll see you next week on the Deeper Dating podcast. If you liked this podcast, please subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review. Thank you so much for being a part of this.
    Deeper Dating by Ken Page
    Grab a copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
  • Your Guiding Insights: The Beautiful Key to Finding Deeper Love [EP024]
    Your Guiding Insights are like marching orders from your soul, showing you a wiser, quicker path to love. They turn your search for love into an adventure of healing and growth. Learn how to discover your own Guiding Insights in this episode.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Guiding Insights

    Guiding insights are like marching orders from our deepest self. They turn our search for love and our whole intimacy journey into an adventure of growth. Find out how you can discover your guiding insights on this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. Tonight, we're going to be talking about guiding insights. One of the most powerful and exciting ways to turn your search for love into a true adventure of growth. I'm Ken Page, and every week, I'll bring you access to the greatest insights and the most powerful practices I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. The skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a rich and happy life. You can find the whole transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com.

    Subscribe to iTunes and Leave Ken a Review

    By the way, if you like what you're learning here, it will be a tremendous thank you if you subscribed on iTUnes and left me a review. The reviews I'm getting are so beautiful, and I'm moved and appreciative of that, and I'd love yours on there too.
    Leave Ken a Review
    I also want to say that everything I share on this podcast is educational in nature. It's not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment for any condition. If you're experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help. Before we jump in, I just want to say that if you go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and sign up for my mailing list, you will get a free gift of my writing and work, and you can learn lots more about my courses and classes and resources that I really believe in to help you in your intimacy journey.

    Underneath Your Nagging Shoulds Are Your Guiding Insights

    Underneath Your Nagging Shoulds Are Your Guiding Insights
    Photographer: Matt Noble | Source: Unsplash
    Buried in all the nagging shoulds of your self-improvement goals lie your guiding insights, so buried underneath all of the nagging shoulds of self-improvement lie our guiding insights. Guiding insights are messages from our deeper self that have the power to change and redirect our lives. Discovering them moves us, changes us, quickens our spirit, gives us hope, gives us a sense of faith and gives us directions. Guiding insights compel us. They're like marching orders from our deepest self, and when we say yes to those marching orders, amazing things happen. Your guiding insights call to you when your guard is down. For example, did you ever wake up at 3:00 in the morning to some moment of stark insight or listen to a piece of music and felt a rush of love or an intense sense of connection to somebody important to you, or think of someone out of the blue and think, "I really need to contact that person," or stop and say, "Oh my God, I missed such an important cue from that person I love," or "I need to travel to this place," or anything like that?
    It's a sense of intense connection to your intuition, and it's essential in the wiser search for love to listen to these messages.
    It brings joy. It brings warmth. It brings humanity. It brings adventure, and it leads you both to your own wisdom and to love.

    How to Recognize You're Guiding Insights

    Today, I'm going to help you understand what your guiding insights are. I'm going to teach you a practice that will help you call your guiding insights, and I'm going to talk about what to do when you get guiding insights and share some stories as well at the same time. How do you recognize when you're having a guiding insight? It's going to be a moment where you feel touched by something. It's going to be an insight that hits you where you live, and you'll know it because you will feel a reverberation like a gong inside. There will be a reverberation. There will be ripples from inside. Now, when you get guiding insights, awarenesses about your life that have a deeper quality of richness or wisdom, and all of us, all of us, all of us get them, especially, like I said, when our guard is down. When you get them, you might find that they challenge you or soothe you or scare you, but they will touch your heart. You will know that they matter because you will feel that they matter. They may make your heart ache, and that very ache is actually often a sign of a guiding insight. They may feel like liberation or a comforting caress, or they may scare the hell out of you or all of those at once. They may feel undefined and embryonic, inchoate, forming even while you're feeling your way into them, but if they don't have a deep sense of resonance for you, they're not your guiding insights no matter how practical they are. They still might be very worthy, but your guiding insights have a deep sense of resonance. When you start looking for them, your life will become richer.

    Our Job is Two-Fold

    Our job is two -fold: Invite and listen to our guiding insights
    Photographer: Miguel Carraça | Source: Unsplash
    Somehow, your guiding insights around intimacy will lead you to a life of deeper love, and your job is two-fold. Our job is two-fold. It's to invite our guiding insights in, and it's to learn to listen for them and then welcome them when they arrive. Then, try to act on the messages they send you. If you can't act on the messages that they send you because they just feel like too steep a climb, just love the messages that they send you. In time, hopefully, you'll be ready to take that ascent. You know, I think that we get taught that the search for love is like this thing that you do. Then, you've succeeded when you've found your mate. That's true, but it's a dangerous way to understand this because it is too much of a quality of goal and product and ignores the reality and the importance of process. The way I think of the wiser search for love is almost like a treasure hunt. That means that you don't just find out where your beloved is. You get a message from your guiding insights, and your guiding insights might say, "I need to be around nature more," or, "Why don't I join a hiking group," or "I had a date with that guy, and it was really nice. Why did I not call him back," or whatever it is, but you get some kind of a message, and maybe the message comes from someone else, but the resonance is so rich that you go, "Yeah. That's a guiding insight."

    Honor Your Guiding Insights

    It doesn't have to come from inside of you. It can come from someone else, but if it has that resonance, if it has that ring of truth, then it really matters. Your job is to honor it. You get this message. You get this guiding insight. You go, "Oh, this is kind of a guiding insight. I like this. This is deep. This is rich. This touches me with a deeper resonance," and you know enough to say yes. Okay. Okay, good. Then, you do that, and it's like a treasure hunt. You get a message, and the message doesn't tell you where the treasure is. It tells you, "Go a couple blocks down and look underneath the mailbox. There's going to be a note pasted under there." Then, you go, and you find that note. Then, you have to deal with what that next note says, and it's going to lead you somewhere else. Then, the next note will lead you somewhere else. That's what the search for love is like with your guiding insights being like stepping stones that you jump from one to the other. You get that resonance insight, and then, you follow it, and it brings you somewhere. It may bring you somewhere quite unexpected, and often, there's going to be a little bit of magic kind of thing happening there in terms of what happens when we do that. It leads you to your next stage, whatever that is.

    Your Guiding Insights Are Often Not Clear

    Your Guiding Insights is Often Not Clear
    Photographer: Artsy Vibes | Source: Unsplash
    Then, there will be another moment like that, and a rich, rich way to live is giving time and giving space for your guiding insights. I do this everyday. I do the inner mentor process, which you can learn in episode three, which is the most lovely and rich and powerful way that I know for myself to find my guiding insights. Every time I do it, I write down that guiding insight for the day, and that becomes my daily meditation. The thing about guiding insights is often, they're not clear. They don't come as clear as a note in a treasure hunt. They come in whispers often. A moment when your life priorities really clear, a feeling and attraction of inspiration towards someone that you hadn't really noticed before. And someone just said to me recently that she was dating somebody who was in love with her. She didn't know if she loved him. Then, by learning this work, she realized this guy is an attraction of inspiration. She felt the love start to come through her because she hadn't recognized it before. She hadn't recognized his goodness, his availability, his decency, his presentness. When she did, that was the guiding insight because the feelings of love started coming to her at that moment.

    Whispers Are Personal Invitations

    An insight that saves you from a really painful predicament, a fresh sense of treasuring something or someone that you love. These whispers are personal invitations to intimacy from your inner self. When you hear them, honor them. It makes life fun, and it makes life rich. Write them down, and every now and then, ask to be shown your guiding insights. When you start this process and you do it, you will find that new insights arise more frequently in unexpected moments of your daily life. If you let them, and if you intend to do this, they'll guide your intimacy journey more and more. In time, this guiding insight forms into a connect the dots picture of your own path to love and growth. If you're willing to honor your guiding insights, your dating life will change, and you'll feel a kind of sense of comfort and connection. Somehow existentially, you will feel less alone in your search for love, in this weird, weird world of dating than you ever might have imagined because there's a sense of benevolence, a sense of guidance, a sense of a flashlight in the dark. I'm going to teach you a practice right now, and it's a practice for inviting your guiding insights. It's one of many possible practices. Your Inner Mentor Practice, episode three, is a glorious way to do it, and I've actually told it in other episodes as well, but now, I'm going to teach you a very, very simple process.

    Inviting Your Guiding Insights

    Inviting Your Guiding Insights
    Photographer: Toa Heftiba | Source: Unsplash
    I want you to just get comfortable, just relax. If you're driving, do not close your eyes. If you're not driving, close your eyes. If you're walking, don't close your eyes. You don't need to close your eyes although it's a nice way to internalize when you do close your eyes, but what I want you to do is ask yourself this question. The question is this. I just want you to reflect on it, and I'm actually going to ask it of you a series of times. Each time, just answer whatever comes up for you. Right now in your life, how is love calling you? Whatever comes up. I'm going to ask it again and answer it again. Each time, newly and from a raw place, whatever comes. Right now in your life, how is love calling you? I'm going to ask you again. Right now in your life, in what ways is love calling you? Just think about your answers. Now, you may not have had this giant aha with this, but if your answers had a ring of rightness for you, and I imagine that at least one of them did, if not all, let yourself claim it. Just because it came from you, it's no less valuable than if it came from anyone else. It's more valuable, so whatever you said to yourself in response was probably heartfelt and smart.
    The task is to dignify it and honor it, and think about it.
    Okay, so if that was a guiding insight, even if it was a subtle guiding insight, not a huge aha one, how might you act on it?

    Learning a New Language of Intuition

    If it scares, you, don't worry, say it anyway and just take another moment to rest with what you came up with, the smartness of it, the clarity of it and the call of intimacy in it. If nothing came up for you, don't worry about it. Just keep trying it, and I can pretty much promise you that things will come up. Now, this practice is also really helpful during a conflict because it creates a reset. It moves you into and closer to the beating heart of your humanity, and it's in the beating heart of your humanity that magic happens, that love is found, that love is cultivated, love is nourished. Risks and vulnerability come to life, and you step into a world that's just a lot more authentic. Do that process as many times as you wish, and try not to second guess yourself because you're learning a new language of intuition. I do have to say that it's exciting to do this even though maybe scary, and I'll share a story with you. I met my husband in Province Town at Gay Family Week, and I was pushed into going by the guiding insights of two people I love very much, my mom and my dear friend Aileen, both of whom accosted me and told me that I had to do this. I knew it was a guiding insight because they meant it so much, and they love me and know me. Thank God, I listened.

    The Day When Ken Listened to His Guiding Insight

    Okay, so there I am. I'm in Province Town. I meet Greg. I liked him right away. I was attracted to him, but he was there. I was there with my son. He was there with his two daughters, and they needed a lot of attention because they had never done anything like this before. He's really, really focused on them, and so we talked about meeting, didn't happen. We talked about meeting again, it didn't happen, and so I figured, "Okay, so he's not interested." I'm sad, I'm disappointed. That's fine. It's life. so, a few nights later, I was in bed, and I was awakened bolt upright. It was one of those 3:00 in the morning moments, and I got this really clear message. The message was this. It was like, "If you mean it and you want to meet this guy, you got to get to work because you're going to lose this opportunity if you don't. You're going to have to rev up your engines and get creative and get inventive. You're going to have to really do a little uphill climb here, but if you don't, you're going to lose this opportunity." Now, I have not gotten messages that clear very often in my life, but I got it then, and so the next morning, I said to my son, I said, "Let's get breakfast and go sit on the stairs of the school when everybody, all the parents are coming in with their kids and just say hi to everybody and just hang out and watch the people come in." He was like, "Sure, dad." He was little then, and said yes to everything pretty much. Well, that's not true, but anyway, so he said yes.

    There Is No Secret Formula

    We got our breakfast. We sat on the steps, and of course, Greg came up, and I acted happy to see him. We chatted, and we chatted and made a date. He couldn't keep the date again, but he called me up, and he said, "Hey, I'm free," whatever day it was, "afternoon if you want to get together." That was our first date, and everything proceeded from there. If I didn't get woken up that night and if I didn't listen and do this, kind of, pain in the ass scary thing of having to really rally, I would have lost that opportunity, so that's just a very rich example of one guiding insight. If you listen to your guiding insights, some of will be quiet. Some will be louder, but again and again, there will be a repetition of insight that's really important for you. It will teach you. It will groom you for being more masterful in intimacy. It will repeat in different ways with your different guiding insights. If you act on your guiding insights, you will become more creative. You will have less tolerance for relationships of deprivation, and you'll be more attracted to relationships of inspiration. You become a better friend to yourself and your loved ones, and these are not empty promises.
    This is no secret formula. Our hearts are whispering to us, sometimes shouting to us all the time.

    Just Love the Insight

    Photographer: Austin Schmid | Source: Unsplash
    The issue is not that we're not getting messages. It's that we tend to prefer to ignore them, and here's an amazing bonus. The more you follow your core gifts, the more attractive you'll become to the kind of person you're looking for. The more you follow the calls of your heart, the more you'll find that the person, the people you date will actually begin to shift and be closer to someone who really matches your nature. One last thing I want to say is, what do we do when we get a guiding insight that's just too scary for us? When we're not ready to act on a guiding insight, a wise thing to do is just love the insight even knowing we can't act on it yet. Little by little, that love will make it more digestible, less scary, closer to us, more familiar. Little by little, the proximity to that lessen creates a friction inside us, a discomfort that slowly will transform us, so just loving a guiding insight that you're not ready to follow will change you and move you closer to the day that you can act on it. For your toolkit of wiser, more adventurous, more life-changing dating, trust your guiding insights. Invite our guiding insights. Listen to your guiding insights, and you'll get this really wonderful solid feeling that you do kind of know what you're doing, that there is wisdom, rich wisdom inside of you, and that that wisdom is guiding you.

    Share Your Experiences with Ken

    Try this, and let me know how it works at deeperdatingpodcast.com. There's a microphone where you ask Ken, and you can just share your experiences with guiding insights or past stories of guiding insights. We'd love to hear them. Thank you so much, and I'll see you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
  • Fear Of Intimacy, Part 3: How To Heal Your Fear Of Intimacy [EP023]
    In this final episode of the "Fear of Intimacy" series, I'll show you two simple and profound practices with the power to melt and heal your fear of intimacy. Remember: Fear of intimacy is part of the human condition!

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Heal Your Fear

    What's the single greatest thing that holds us back from finding the love that we seek and keeping it alive? It's our fear of intimacy and the patterns that come out of that. In this episode, we're going to dive deep into understanding how to transform our fear of intimacy and I'm going to teach you two beautiful, life-changing exercises that will profoundly help you to be able to do that in your life. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating podcast. Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. Today is our third in a series of talks about fear of intimacy, and today, we're going to talk about what you can do to heal and transform your fears of intimacy. I'm Ken Page and every week I'll bring you access to the greatest insights and the most powerful practices I know, to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all. You can find the whole transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com. By the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a tremendous gift if you could subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review.

    Join Ken's Mailing List

    People are leaving such beautiful reviews and I'm incredibly appreciative of that, and I'd love yours too. Thank you. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational. It's not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment for any emotional, physical or psychological condition, and if you're experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help. Before we jump in, I just want to say that if you'd like to get information about all of my podcasts, my classes, my courses, and find out more about working with me, and other people whose work I deeply respect, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and join my mailing list. You'll get free gifts and you'll find out more about a lot of different ways to work with me and a lot of free material that I offer as well.

    It's Not Smart to Just Keep Looking in the Same Ways

    This episode is the third in a series of three episodes talking about fear of intimacy, because it's such a huge, huge deal, and so much focus is spent on how you're going to find your partner, but not enough is spent on how you can heal your fear of intimacy, which will heal your life and dramatically and profoundly speed and deepen your path to love.
    It's not smart to just keep looking in the same ways, because part of us is looking, and another part of us is blocking and sabotaging us, and that is true for all of us.
    As I say, if you're breathing, you've got some fear of intimacy. Doing this work, if you want a huge bang for your buck in your search for love and in your desire to have a life that's filled with love, there's almost nothing greater that you can do than learn the lessons of these past few sessions, and in some ways, very particularly the episode today.

    Facing Your Fear of Intimacy Is an Act of Heroism

    Just to kind of catch up on a few things that we talked about in the last two before I dive into the big one today. The first thing we talked about is a deeper understanding of our fear of intimacy and a concept there that was really important was, of course, first of all that we all have fear of intimacy and that healing it makes … It's a kind of act of heroism. Facing it, addressing it and transforming it is an act of beauty and heroism, and it's going to give you rewards that are profound and long-lasting, more than continuing, trying to do the same old stuff that you did that didn't work, really, really, I promise you. Even though this is hard and deep and intense, it's just really true. We also talked about how, behind every one of your fear of intimacy defenses, and again, assuming we all got them, behind every one of those is a treasured part of you that you're trying to protect in the best way you can or the best way you could usually when you were a lot younger or had a lot less tools, but to understand fear of intimacy, we cannot just think of it as a pathology. We have to think of it as a protection against insults, and hurt, and wounding to a precious part of us. When we do that, our world begins to open up and we have more compassion, and we have a lot more capacity to heal things than if we're ashamed because we just think, "What the hell is wrong with me with this fear of intimacy condition?"

    Acknowledge and Admit Your Flight Patterns

    The next thing we talked about was seeing and admitting what I call your flight patterns, the patterned ways that you sabotage intimacy, the parts of you that close the door that the other parts of you were trying so hard to open in your life, and the recognition and the admitting of that. I used a quote which I love, which is from Vito Russo, and it's,
    "The truth will set you free, but first, it'll make you miserable,"
    And it ain't easy to face this stuff. That's why it's an act of heroism. Today, we're going to talk about what you can do about these patterns, these hard and calcified, difficult patterns of fear of intimacy, of sabotaging of closeness, because … Hopefully you've listened to the last two episodes, and if you haven't, you might want to, and certainly you would want to if you can't yet put your finger on ways that you have fled love, but you can still listen to this session because even without those, the lessons and the exercises I give you are going to be fabulous, and they'll help you and also set a foundation.

    How to Break Through Your Patterns

    Heal your fear by breaking through your patterns
    Photographer: Bryson Hammer | Source: Unsplash
    Today, we're going to talk about how you can break through your patterns based on fear of intimacy, that hold you back from finding love, keeping love, enjoying love, cherishing love, and building a life that is richer with love. We're going to talk about fear of intimacy in two different ways today, and two very kind of broad and important ways. We're going to talk about how to change your patterns, your habitual patterns that are blocking intimacy, and then we're also going to talk about how to open to love because the greatest antidote to fear of intimacy is intimacy. Not in doses that we can't bear, not in ways that scare us, but in gradual ways that are balanced by our own self-love. We're going to talk about how to do that. And for each of these two subjects the changing your patterns and the deepening into love in your life. I'm going to provide you with a really fabulous exercise, a powerful, seminal exercise to help you do that, and you're going to do it right during this podcast while you're driving, while you're walking, while you're doing whatever it is that you're doing, you will be able to do this.

    Our Heart Becomes Defended and Protected

    I'm going to first talk about the broader subject to you. We are not going to leave the issue of the patterns and habits that you've created that maybe push love away. We will get to that, but we're going to start with the foundation, the broader picture. Paramahansa Yogananda was a brilliant spiritual teacher, said something really beautiful. I don't remember the exact words, but he said that,
    "As human beings, our hearts are prone to becoming harder and flinty, unless we do processes, unless we have things in our life that remind our heart to soften. It so easily becomes flinty."
    It becomes defended. It becomes protected, and God knows. I see that in my life again, and again, and again. If I didn't have those wake up calls that remind me of love so many times a day, my life would become flinty and stale, and I wouldn't know why that was happening because I would just think I'm doing everything I should be doing, but nothing would have been softening my heart, and those are the things that create the great healing. We forget that so easily. I forget that so easily. The concept here is that left to our own devices in our own heads, our defense patterns will become really important. Our to-do list will become breathtakingly important. The people who annoyed us, and criticized us, and minimized us, and chipped away at us, they will become breathtakingly important. The difficulties, the complications, the whatever it is that makes our heart kind of flinty and defensive will just take on more and more weight and importance.

    Intimacy is Inviting Us to Deeper Love

    Heal your fear and allow yourself to give in to deeper love
    Photographer: Sebastian Pociecha | Source: Unsplash
    At the same time …That's just … I mean, I think that's how it is for most of us. For all of us at the same time though, intimacy is calling us. It's whispering to us. It's knocking on our door. Sometimes it's yelling at us. Sometimes it's shaking us, and it's inviting us to deeper love. For each one of you, for each one of us, that's a really big question, and the question is, "How many moments in our day are we receiving the invitation to love; to love ourselves, to love the people we love, to love our lives, to love whatever it is we love?" That's this huge and binary question is, "Are we receiving that invitation to love?", because right now, love is calling you right now. Love is calling us, and the act of remembering that softens our hearts and when our hearts soften, lots of different things happen. We feel sadness, we feel grief, we feel moved, we feel touched, we remember and we value and we start to treasure the people in our lives.

    Wisdom Comes in When We Allow Our Hearts to Soften

    These are all the things that happen when we allow our hearts to soften, and little by little, when we allow our hearts to soften like that, wisdom comes in, a sea change begins. All the parts of us that have been kind of like pulling us toward love, and for every single one of you listening to this podcast and these podcasts, I can absolutely assume that love is calling you, and that you're looking for more in deeper love or you wouldn't be here. That call can sometimes feel like a yawning longing. It can sometimes feel very sharp. It can feel really lonely. It can also feel really beautiful at times, but it is precious and it is important, and all of these constructs we learned that we shouldn't have, the pain of longing are, I believe incorrect. That desire, that longing for more that's within us is part of our greatness, and it's what changes us. It's the only thing that has the power and the fuel to get us out of the gravity zone of our own self-involvement. I'm going to teach you the exercise. Well, no. I'm going to share a story with you first.

    An Odd Story of Fear of Intimacy and Getting Past It

    This is a story of some family friends, and this is a story, an odd kind of story of fear of intimacy and getting past it. This is a story about my friends, Lil and Joe, who I've known since I was about 11 years old. Joe has passed away since. Lil is still alive. They are and have been amazing people. Lil had no physical challenges. Joe was paraplegic, so Joe's story is, he was a healthy, athletic teenager. He was body surfing in Rehoboth Beach, and a giant wave hit him and crashed him to shore, and he was then carried out to shore. When he woke up again, this young guy who had a girlfriend, and like a whole fantastic life ahead of him found out that he was completely paralyzed, pretty much from his neck down. He had some arm movements, but I guess nothing really from the torso down and very limited movements in his arms, so he felt like his life was destroyed. He went into a severe depression. His girlfriend left him, and that really crashed him down. He felt like he couldn't have a career, he couldn't have anything, and he kind of really crashed, and then over time, kind of like began to find his legs, and he went back to school while he was still living in this rehab. He was able to take classes and he was studying to become an accountant. Enter Lil. One day, Lil's friend …

    Lil and Joe Met at the Unexpected Place

    Lil was a nurse, and one day her friend said to her, "Hey, you want to come to this gay bar?" She said, "Sure. Why not?" That's a long, long time ago. She was brave right there. Anyway, so she goes to this gay bar, and somehow Joe, who was not gay, ended up in this gay bar too, and they met in this gay bar, and they started connecting and they started talking, and they really enjoyed each other's company. It was completely intellectual at first, but they really, really bonded, and so they kept getting together and kept meeting. Finally, they got married. The church was not happy about this because they could not procreate. The families were not happy about this. Lil had a lot of real concerns about it, but she was really in love with him.

    Letting Love Grow Until It Became Bigger Than Fear

    Heal your fear and let love grow
    Photographer: Johannes Plenio | Source: Unsplash
    Anyway, they had a wonderful, successful, rich, beautiful life together for decades, and decades, and decades. I interviewed them for my book, Deeper Dating, because I wanted to understand. I wanted to understand how Lil got over the fears that she must have had marrying somebody who was in a wheelchair, who was handicapped, who had serious health conditions that were potentially life-threatening. What did she do with her fear? Her answer was so fabulous. She said, "My fear was never that much of an issue because I didn't push myself to do anything I wasn't ready to do. I talked to him. I got to know him, and as I did, my caring for him grew. My love for him grew, and finally, it grew to a point where there was no choice because I knew I wanted to be with him. At that point, he had gotten his degree, he was making good money, and he was really what we say in Jewish, a mensch, like a real stand-up person, but she said,
    "If I thought about this in the beginning, I would have been completely terrified, but what I did was I let the love grow until it became bigger than my fear, and then there was no choice."

    Where Is Love Calling You?

    For all of us, that's the task. The task is to cultivate love that grows bigger than our fear. Now, I want to give you this fabulous exercise, and the exercise is this. I'll tell you where it came from. A dear friend of mine was at her wedding. It was a Quaker wedding. Someone stood up and was talking about how she kind of got through all of her decades of marriage successfully, and she said, "I keep asking myself this question, 'What is love asking of me at this moment?', and that has been the secret to my success in this relationship." Well, I'm going to ask you a slightly different question, and we're going to do this repetitive question thing, which works beautifully and richly, so bear with me in this because I'm going to ask you this question, "Where is love calling you?", and you're going to soften your heart and you're going to think what answers come up. It might be my pet, it might be my writing, it might be my music, it might be my grandmother. It might be this wonderful person that I've met who I'm building a connection with. It might be your best friend. It doesn't matter what it is, and you can surprise yourself with your answer, but I'm just going to ask you this question a few times so that you can learn where love's call is strongest for you. Wherever that is, that's the key to help you move away from the gravity zone of your smaller life, into one where you feel the beating heart of your humanity.

    You Will Feel Love and the Aliveness of It

    You feel your love and the aliveness of it, and I promise you that the more that you do, the richer and the more beautiful your life will become. Let's do it. I'm going to ask you this question, and you just answer it out loud. You can write it down if you want, or you can just answer it out loud as you drive, as you walk, whatever. Then, I'm going to ask you again. I'm going to ask you a few times. Let's just do this and see what comes up. "Where is love calling you in your life?" It may be a place where you haven't been listening enough, or maybe a place where you have. I'm going to ask it again, "Where is love calling you in your life?" Again, whatever answer comes out. I'm going to ask it again, "Where is love calling you in your life?" Imagine saying a bigger yes to that. In many cases, that's the place to start. I guess I'm going to ask it once more, and if you've tended to focus on things like your career, your art, your creativity, anything like that, that's fabulous, but now, I'm going to ask you like, "Whose love is calling out to you in your life that you feel you could listen to with more treasuring, with more richness, with more enjoyment?"

    Just Say Yes to Where Love is Calling You

    Just picture doing that. Great. This is such an important thing because the greatest antidote to fear of intimacy is enriching the intimacy that exists in your life already. We do not have to get rid of our fear of intimacy first. We just need to say yes to love where it's calling us, and to admit where we flee love. Now, we're going to go into the next part about that, which is the ways we flee love, because the thing is, as much as our hearts become flinty, our patterns become even more flinty, more stuck, more rigid, more like heels dug into the ground. We do not want to get rid of our patterns of behavior, including looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love with the wrong people, being stuck in a relationship that's not good for us, pushing people away who scare us because of their availability, not having time for the people we care about, all of these other ways that we do it. What do we do? How do we change these patterns? Now, this is a huge subject, and obviously one that I can't talk about fully here, but I am just going to say a couple of kind of broad meta thoughts that I think are rich, and teach you probably the most fabulous exercise that I know for healing patterns of avoiding intimacy.

    How to Heal Patterns of Avoiding Intimacy: Ask the People You Love

    Heal your fear and ask for support from the people around you
    Photographer: Kimson Doan | Source: Unsplash
    The first thing I want to say is when it comes to stuck patterns, as much as we want to like feel like our intelligence and our willpower are going to work, our intelligence and our willpower are weak, weak tools. They're like rubber wrenches. They don't work. They're like soft rubber screw drivers. They're just not going to hold the force needed to get change to happen. What do we need? We need relationships. Relationships with our self that work in a deeper way, and that's going be the exercise I teach you. But also relationships with other people who hold us out to reality, the people who know you and love you most. All you have to do is say to them, "Could you tell me if you think you see any ways that I'm fleeing intimacy, or that I could do things differently or that you wished I did things differently in my search for love?" Now, for most of us, our friends will tell us in a New York minute what those things are, but we never ask because we don't want to know. That's a very fierce, powerful piece of medicine. Ask the people you love that question, see what they have to say, and see if it rings true to you.

    Get Support From a Learning Partner

    The help and the support of a learning partner as I've discussed, a therapist perhaps, and if there is trauma, if you sense that there's trauma holding you back, I really encourage you to consider getting therapy help, something I really believe in. There are methods of dealing with trauma that are very powerful. EMDR is one. Brainspotting is one. There are many different techniques that are specifically designed to help us deal with trauma. Groups are also a really, really powerful way to help with healing and growth. If you have an addiction, a substance abuse addiction, you won't be able to get over your fear of intimacy patterns until you get sober. I'm going to be really blunt about that, and I really believe that to be true. If you have an unstabilized, untreated, serious psychiatric disorder, address that. These things need to be the foundation of healing in the way that it happens. There's a wonderful book by Alan Deutschman. I've talked about this book before. It's called Change or Die. What they … You may have heard this before in one of my podcasts, but it's a really amazing story in case you haven't. What he did, there were a group of people that I believe had had heart attacks and strokes, and their doctors told them,
    "If you don't change your diet, you will die."
    Not maybe. You'll die from this. Of course, all these people committed to changing their diet, but over 90% of them over time could not do it, so he focused on those few people who actually were able to change their diet and sustain it. What was the key? They key was community.

    We Can't Change the Patterns on Our Own

    They needed a framework that they believed in toward a new diet, and they needed to be able to fail again, and again, and again, and reframe and rewire at those points of failing – in the community with the support of other people who help them. For all of us, like if you've got some stuck pattern, get a friend to help you with it. Get support. Don't think that your intelligence, no matter how smart you are, or your willpower, no matter how fierce it is, are going to be able to get you over that hump. We think we could change these patterns on our own, but we really can't. We really do need support, so if it's simple kind of stuff like you find yourself on apps too often or you're not going out, use a buddy. Use a friend to help you with that. Find someone to go out with you to, and we'll talk about this more in future points, events and places with people who share your values. As wonderful as the online world is, I'm telling you, you want a big bang for your buck. Go to events and places that have people of the same gender you're interested in, with people who share your values.

    How to Heal Patterns of Avoiding Intimacy: Characterological Change

    Characterological Change can help heal your fear
    Photographer: Vince Fleming | Source: Unsplash
    That's a separate issue. That's a really, really big one. Now, I want to teach you a process that I adore that creates what's called characterological change. Characterological change means like your characterological stuck points are very, very hardwired, and it's not easy to change them. This is a gentle and exquisite process that will help you change your fear of intimacy patterns gradually and over time. It's the inner mentor process, and I teach it in a much richer, more detailed way in episode three, but I'm just going to run you through it now, and I think you'll love it. Okay. Take a moment, and what I'd like you to do is just picture what you are like when you allow yourself to love. How that feels in your body, how that feels in your being, what it's like when you are comfortable in your own heart, that wonderful place where you're comfortable in your own skin, in your own heart. Just picture that, and remember a time that you felt that. Now, just think of someone that you really love, not someone who has kind of broken your heart, but someone who you've had a good relationship with. It could even be a pet, it could be anyone, but someone who when you think of this person, you're kind of filled with love, you really love them.

    Picture That YOU on the Other Side

    Just picture that person and the love feeling inside with that, and just hold these feelings and just imagine a you much further advanced in your journey, your intimacy journey, someone who could live from this space, less apologetically, more freely, more powerfully, more generously, more wisely, a you that kind of loves so fully and richly. It's like the you are meant to be. The you on the other side of all of the glass ceilings within, all the fears around love. It's a you who is just you. Just picture that you. You don't have to earn it. You don't have to be it. Just picture that you, and how it feels inside, what that would feel like to be that you. Now, just imagine that you are that you. Just imagine you jump into the role of this inner mentor, this you that you're meant to be, this more evolved you. Just imagine you're in his or her skin. You're there. You don't have to earn it. You just imagine it. It's an imagination exercise, but not totally imagination because it's you, and you know what this feels like. Just allow yourself to imaginarily, inhabit this wonderful space of just being so fully and richly you. From this role, look at the you of today, struggling, trying to grow, looking for love. What do you most want to say to the you of today, from this place you're in, where you're in the essence of your embodying this more evolved you? What do you most want to say to the you of today? What's the message that you most want to impart from this fabulous place of being freely you? What's the message you most want to impart to the you of today?

    The Inner Mentor Process

    Pass that on. Now, if you like, you could just imagine opening your arms and letting the you of today come into your arms, and that feeling of being both yous, the you of today and the you that you're meant to be. Good. That's your inner mentor, and if you do that process every day, every day, that part of you is going to tell you something different. I do this every day pretty much of my life, and every day, you're going to get a new daily meditation from this part of you, a new drop of wisdom, and the amazing thing is it always bypasses self-criticism. Somehow, this voice passes right by the self-criticism that can kind of eat us alive, and it's a voice of wisdom and care.
    It's like the kind of parent we longed to have. This is a process called the inner mentor process, and if you do it on a regular basis around your search for love, you will get wisdom that will change your world and change your life.

    Thank you for joining me in this episode!

    There's so much more about the journey to heal our fear of intimacy, but there's such richness that we've covered so far in so many different ways. What I want to say to each of you is try these exercises. They will soften your path, they will fill your heart, and they will help you move from love to love, and when we move from love to love, our intimacy journey changes and our search for love changes, and we make choices that are so much wiser and so much better. Thank you for joining me again in this new adventure in your own search for intimacy, and I look forward to seeing you next week. Once again, you can go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list to get more information about all the work that we do, and have a wonderful week.
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
    Grab your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
  • Fear of Intimacy, Part 2: Discover How You Avoid The Love You Desire [EP022]
    Fear of intimacy. There's no one who doesn't have it and it holds you back from building the love you desire . In this episode, I'll teach you how you can crack the code of your own fear of intimacy, so that you can change the patterns that push healthy love away.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: The Love You Desire

    The biggest reason I think that we can't find healthy love is not our looks, and it's not our age, and it's not our weight. It's the ways in which we push the possibility of love away often without even knowing that we're doing it. Take the journey of this episode with me, and when you finish, you will have a much richer sense of the ways you might be pushing intimacy away without knowing it. Stay tuned to The Deeper Dating Show. Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. Today, we're jumping into part two of a really important series of episodes on fear of intimacy and what to do about it. Follow the insights that you will gain in this episode, and you'll become a better version of you. You'll tap into what wisdom really is and your life and relationships will begin to open up. Really. I'm Ken Page, and every week I'll give you access to the greatest insights, the most powerful practices, and the most essential findings I know to help you find love, and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process.
    Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    Work Privately with Ken

    Work Privately with Ken
    Work Privately with Ken
    You can also find the transcript of this entire episode on DeeperDatingPodcast.com. And by the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a fantastic gift to me if you subscribed on iTunes and left me your review. Thank you so much to all the people who've written such amazing and moving reviews on iTunes. I so appreciate it, and thank you to those of you who will. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It's not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment for any emotional, physical, or psychological condition. And if you're experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help. And before we jump right in, if you're interested in applying these ideas to your own intimacy journey, you can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and join my mailing list. You'll get a free gift from me, and you'll get notice of all my podcasts. And you'll get to hear about all my classes and ways to dive deeper into this work. So let's begin.

    Fear of Intimacy Is Not a Pathology

    The love you desire is beyond your fear of intimacy
    Photographer: Manic Quirk | Source: Unsplash
    So our first episode about the fear of intimacy was about understanding the fear of intimacy in a deeper, richer way. And the basic concept was that fear of intimacy is not a pathology, it's part of what it means to be human. If we're breathing, we have fear of intimacy, because love is the greatest gift of all. Our vulnerability is the greatest risk of all. Trusting and loving are profound risks. And who would we be if we weren't scared in the face of that, we'd be ignorant. We'd be blind. So the key concept from the last episode was this, that your fear of intimacy is there, all the places where you have fear of intimacy, where you consciously or unconsciously push love away, or ignore love, or avoid love, or isolate, or get defensive, or get prickly, or swallow your feelings, and don't share who you really are. All those different techniques that we're going to talk about today all come from a desire to protect something precious inside of us.
    All of our fear of intimacy patterns are to protect something inside us that we find precious, that we don't feel safe sharing. And that's human. And that makes so much sense.

    Our Psyche Knows When We Don't Know How to Protect The Precious Parts of Us

    And then the other piece that I just want to share from the last episode is this, that our psyche knows when we don't know how to protect those precious parts of us, when we don't know how to fight for them, when we don't know how to dignify them, and to honor them, when we suppress them, when we act them out in ways that just don't really work.
    Our psyche knows when we are not safe to reveal our authentic self. Because we haven't developed the skills to curate those parts of ourselves, and to live them with generosity, and courage, and clarity, and adulthood, and discrimination.
    So our psyche does it for us when it knows we can't do it ourselves. How does it do it? It creates fear of intimacy patterns. It creates what I call flight patterns. Ways that we avoid love. It puts up a wall that we don't have control over because our deep psyche knows that left to our own devices we would not know how to honor those most treasured parts of us.

    Recognize How You Push Love Away Without Realizing It

    So now we're moving on to step two. And step two in this journey is the recognition of how we push love away often without even realizing it. Step two is huge. It is not comfortable, and it's awkward. And as Vito Russo, the author Vito Russo said,
    "The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable."
    So we're going to be doing some hard stuff today. And that hard stuff is that you are going to identify ways that you push love away, maybe without even realizing it fully. And this is gold. It's awkward. I know it's uncomfortable. I know it's a strange thing to do, and it's humbling as hell to admit this stuff, because we want to not have to do this. We want to be kind of perfect. We don't want to have fear of intimacy. But we're starting with the premise that we do have fear of intimacy. That's a given. What's next is, understanding how we flee the heat of love, and the heat of risk, and the heat of authenticity. And it's humbling. It's powerful. And when you know it, it's kind of an act of micro heroism to face this stuff. But we can do it. We absolutely can do it. And I'm going to walk you through some very rich processes. Stick with me, don't flee, don't run away. And by the end of this episode, you will have a richer and more compassionate understanding of how you flee love, and glimpses of what you could do differently about that, because I'm also going to be teaching you a healing process for that.

    How To Change Your Patterns – The Wave of Distancing

    Change your patterns to have the love you desire
    Photographer: Joshua Bartell | Source: Unsplash
    Now in our third class, we're going to talk in much more detail about how to change these patterns. And we're going to do some really rich work on how you can change the patterns that you're going to be able to identify through this episode now. So join me on this journey. We're going to take the next steps. Since I'm asking you to be so brave, I'm going to go first, and I'm going to share with you some of the ways that I have fled and flee intimacy. Well in earlier years, while I was looking for love, and I looked for it really hard, I was fleeing it, but I didn't know that. How is that true? It was true because the people who were kind and available turned me off. I just wasn't interested in them. As soon as I saw that they were really kind, and really decent, and that they liked me and were available, I would instantly kind of feel sick.
    This is called the wave of distancing, and it is the single greatest saboteur of healthy new love that I know in the world.
    And I'm going to be doing a number of episodes about this in the future. But for now, suffice to say that this destroyed decades of my search for love because I kept looking, and everyone who could have fit the bill that I could have built a home with, potentially in the world, grossed me out, and I fled. So that's one way.

    How To Change Your Patterns – Talk To People You Love

    Another way was that I was a kind of gay club kid in the 80s. And I just spent a lot of time in clubs and just that entire club scene and all that with it, the getting high, the sex. And for those of us growing up and living gay in those times, especially in urban areas, sex was like the way that you looked for love. It was pretty ineffective. It never worked for me. But God knows I'd tried. These days, with a family, with kids, with a loving, wonderful husband, with a kind of life that's very rich with love, how do I flee intimacy? I flee intimacy with business. And I flee intimacy with irritability. These are all issues that I am really well aware of, and I talk to the people I love about them, and on a regular basis apologize and struggle with them day to day. So I thought I would just share that with you first just to be very real about this. And I'm still knocked to my knees by my fears of intimacy. I get back up a lot more quickly, and I have a lot of love to cushion me in my life. But all these things are true. They're really true.

    You Are Not Doing the Truest and Steepest Pathway to Find Love

    You are not doing the truest and steepest pathway to find the love you desire
    Photographer: Jakob Creutz | Source: Unsplash
    So okay, your turn. I'm going to read a story from my book Deeper Dating. And let me just say that if these ideas interests you, Deeper Dating is a course in a book that will teach you this entire journey. And you can also, if you want to do deeper work, go to my website, and you can learn about ways to do intensive work around this path, with other people that are also studying it. But okay, I want to start with a story. And this is a story that I feel like captures the flight from intimacy in an incredible way. I love it. It's painful. It's difficult. But it just says it. So here's the story, and you may have heard it before. So there's this woman who loses a really valuable, beautiful necklace. And she's looking for it, looking for it. She's looking for it in her yard outside, and somebody passes by, and he says, "What are you doing?" And she says, "Oh, I lost this really beautiful necklace, and I'm just searching everywhere for it." And the person says to her, "Do you remember where you had it last?" And she said, "Yeah, yeah, inside in the living room." And he said, "Why aren't you looking there?" And she said, "It's so dark in there." So that story captures so much. Okay. And only gives you some examples of how we don't go into our living room. We look in the yard because it's easier. We don't do the realest, truest, steepest pathway to finding love because it's just too awkward and embarrassing, or annoying, or difficult.

    You're Wasting Time Trying to Make Things Work with the Wrong Person

    So we go online, and we try to meet zillions and zillions of people, but we never do the really hard part of the work, which is to recognize the ways we are avoiding love, at least as quickly as we're looking for it. So here's some examples. Wasting time trying to make things work with the wrong people. And remember, if you're dating somebody whose values don't inspire you, you are dating the wrong person. And do you show your soul in your relationships, your passions, your tenderness, your quirkiness to people who inspire you? Do you share your edges, your emotional edges, your sexual edges, inappropriate time frames? Or do you just show a kind of airbrushed, less original version of yourself?

    Are You Too Busy?

    Here's another big one. Are you taking the time to meet people who share your values in real time, non-virtual settings? Is there really important inner work that you know you need to do, like addressing emotional or sexual abuse, or addiction issues that hold you back? Are you so busy looking for a relationship that you're shutting out all the rich love that's there for you already in your life? Or are you, raises hand, once again, because I could have raised my hand for every one of these when I was single, or are you simply just too busy? Because when we're too busy, we miss the moments that lead us to connect with other people. And if you live in an urban area, and you're professionally focused, there's an extra big chance that you are too busy. Now, I want to remind you, this is not to shame yourself. It is not to pathologize yourself. It is to do that beautiful, gorgeous act of saying, "I am human, and this matters enough to work on it." And let me tell you, in my decades of work with people, it's the people who can do that, that inspire me the most, and who change the most, and who transform the most. It's a weird thing to do to say that you're pushing love away, but it's a golden thing to do, and it's a heroic thing to do. And it opens you into a much deeper self. And it opens up the possibilities of your future. So I just want to share one more story about me here.

    Attend Events with People Who Share Your Values

    I remember walking down the street one night in the city, with my dear friend Mindy, and I was kind of bemoaning my singlehood once again, and talking about how hard it is, and how hard I was trying to find somebody but not succeeding. And she said, "Ken, I know why you're not finding somebody." And I looked at her and I said, "You do?" And she said,
    "Absolutely. You're not going to events with people who share your values. You're just looking in bars, and you're looking in clubs, and you're looking online. And you're not going to places where you can meet real people."
    Well, I ignored that advice for like a decade. Fast forward to when I met my husband, two decades later, maybe. It was at an event like that. And even then I still resisted it because it's so damn hard to go to events like that. And two people really close to me had to confront me seriously and say, "Ken, why the hell are you not going to the Province Town Gay Family Week? You have a kid you want a husband?" And I was like, "Oh, most people are coupled there. I don't really want to do it." And I was accosted by these two wonderful human beings who said, "You are going." And I listened. And I met my husband at that event. So that's just a story in my life. And now we're coming back to you.

    How Do You Avoid the Possibility of Love?

    How do you avoid the possibility of the love you desire?
    Photographer: James Chou | Source: Unsplash
    And here's how I'd like to do it. I'm going to ask you a repeated question. And so, I'm going to ask this question, and you're just going to think about what your answer is, and you're going to share it from the most truthful place you can. And you could do this when you're walking down the street. You can do it when you're driving. You can do it when you're home, and you have a piece of paper, or when you're home, and you don't have a piece of paper. But just take a moment to answer this question, the same question again and again, repetitively more honestly, as honestly as you can each time. The question's going to be, how do you avoid the possibility of love? And you just answer with whatever comes up for you. You could surprise yourself, as you do it. But before I ask you that question, I want to read you a quote from a book called Emmanuel's Book, A Manual for Living Comfortably in the Cosmos. And here's the quote,
    "Though you consciously long for a mate, there are parts of you that do not, that push the idea away, that hasten to lock the door when the other part of you has so carefully opened it."

    How Do You Push the Possibility of Love Away?

    And that's true for all of us. So now I'm just going to ask the question a few times. How do you push the possibility of love away? I'm going to ask it again. See what comes up. Just answer honestly. How do you push the possibility of love away? We're going to try a third time and ask the same question. You just say what comes up. How do you push the possibility of love away? Okay. Now just take a moment. Just take a breath in and out, and think about what you said. And think about one way that kind of hit you the hardest. And what I want to say to you is that, that is gold. And it's a gold that maybe hurts at first, but it is gold. And I have seen again and again that one of the places where you get the biggest bang for the buck in your transformation, is when you face the way you're pushing love away and make conscious efforts to change it. There was almost no greater bang for your buck. And when you step into the place where you do that, you step into the place of intimacy heroes, because most people are not willing to do it. So, if you can do it, you are becoming your own intimacy hero. So what did you come up with? Now in this episode, we're not going to talk about how to change that, and how to fix it, and how to address it. We're going to do that in the next episode. But I'm going to teach you a next step. And the next step is this. It is holding this insight in a new way.

    The Abra Process

    The Abra process could help you find the love you desire
    Photographer: Leon Contreras | Source: Unsplash
    Now this comes from a guy named Jim Kwik who teaches memory, and kind of brain building, and I love his work. He's got an exercise that he encourages his students to use when they're facing an obstacle, when they're facing a stuck point, when they're facing a limitation. And I'm going to kind of like tweak it just a little bit, but use essentially his process. He calls it magic, and he says, "What does a magician do? Says Abracadabra." And this is the "abra" process. And the first step in that is acceptance. The second step is breathing into it. The third step is releasing. And the fourth step is aligning kind of with the new version of you. So we're going to do that ourselves now. So here's what I want you to do. I want you to hold, and think about that part of you that you're admitting is a way that you push love away. And maybe your interrelationship like me, my example of kind of irritability or over business. What's your way in your journey? What's your way that you don't let love in enough. That you push away the possibility of love? What's your way?

    Step 1: Accept

    Okay, good. So now the first step is, and don't worry if you feel like you haven't found the perfect way, because if you found one way, that is great. So here's what I want you to do now, I want you to just kind of like accept, and acknowledge this. And just acknowledge yourself for owning it. And just realize that it really is a brave act, and it's an act of truth. This step is so much of the foundation of the entire 12 Step Program. It's this brave facing of what is, of where we're stuck. That most people in the world do anything to avoid.

    Step 2: Breathe

    So, now what I want you to do, is kind of breathe into that. Just like hold it in your hands. Don't squeeze it. Don't fight it. Just let it be. But what you're going to do is you're just going to breathe into it and say, "Yep, I see this. It hurts. I do not love it. It limits me. But I can breathe into it and I can face it and see it." So just try that. Take a breath or two into it. Good. And now I want you try something else. I want you to take a breath holding the possibility that you know of you being someone different. Just holding the possibility. You're not there yet, but you want to be there. Holding the new you, the potential you, and just take a breath and imagine that you. Breathe in that you, then exhale. And do it again. Kind of breathe in a you that you dream of, who doesn't do this in the same way.

    Step 3: Release

    And now finally, well not finally, I want you to just picture releasing your marriage to this habit. Imagine releasing your marriage to this habit. Just imagine it. And even picture doing it now in your head. And now picture the you that you would be when, you're free from this. Picture that you, what that person's face would look like, what your eyes would look like, how you'd feel inside. And just kind of align with that you because that you IS you. That's the you that you're meant to be. So just feel yourself as that you. And that's the process that we do to help the truth set us free, after it makes us a little bit miserable. And that is another piece that I want to share here is that,
    For most of us, our fear of intimacy flight patterns, our flight patterns from intimacy are habitual. They become habits. So we grow to love them, we grow to marry them, we grow to connect with them, and that's part of what's going on.
    So part of this is about changing habits, and we're going to talk about that in the next episode.

    You're Not Going to Get the Love You Want Until You're Sober

    But one other thing that I just want to say is, if the way that you are fleeing your loneliness, if the way that you're fleeing the possibility of intimacy is through substance abuse or an addiction, a drinking problem, a drug or alcohol problem, a gambling problem even, anything like that, if you are using substances to flee intimacy, you will not, no matter how fabulous your thinking is, no matter what great ideas you have until, this is my opinion, until you get sober, you're not going to get the love you want, and you're not going to be able to keep it and nourish it and let it grow. So if you're thinking you might have a substance abuse problem, I think you could assume you do, because everyone underestimates that. There's very few people who go around saying, "I have a substance abuse problem. I really have to cut down." who actually in fact doesn't. But the number of people who say, "No, I don't really have a substance abuse problem. I could stop. I really don't have that kind of a problem. That's not an issue." The number of people who minimize the reality of their problem is huge. And I say this to all of you. If you have a substance abuse problem, deal with it, and address it, because your world will open up more than you can imagine. And if you don't, you will make the same circles again and again in your life. And that's not a good thing.

    Congratulations! You Have Faced the Fact That You Have Fear of Intimacy!

    So you've just done a lot of work in this episode. You have actually faced the fact that you, as every other human being, has fear of intimacy. You've put words on it. And you've pictured a you that's beyond that. That's huge. That's beautiful, and huge stuff. So remember, all of us have fear of intimacy. It is the extraordinary people who dive in and face it and decide to make changes. And if you have listened thus far, that type of person would be you. Really. So thanks for listening. I look forward to leading you into the third part of this series, and I'll see you at the next Deeper Dating.
    Grab your own copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
    Grab your own copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
  • Fear Of Intimacy And What To Do About It: Part 1 [EP021]
    Fear of intimacy. There's no one who doesn't have it. But it holds us back from building the kind of life that we long for. In this episode, I'll teach you how you can crack the code of your own fear of intimacy, so that you can change the patterns that push healthy love away.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Fear of Intimacy

    Fear of intimacy. There's no one who doesn't have it. It's part of the human condition. But it holds us back from building the kind of life that we long for. In this episode, I'll teach you how you can crack the code of your own fear of intimacy, so that you can change the patterns that keep healthy love away. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast. Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. Today, we're going to be talking about fear of intimacy. I'm very excited about this episode because I'm going to present you with an understanding of your own fear of intimacy that no one may have given you before and the tool that will help you crack the code of your own personal fears of intimacy. I'm Ken Page with a cold. Every week, I'll be giving you access to the greatest insights and the most powerful practices that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. The skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. You can also find the whole transcript of this episode on DeeperDatingPodcast.com.

    Work Privately with Ken

    Work Privately with Ken
    Work Privately with Ken
    By the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a wonderful thank you to me if you subscribed on iTunes and left me a review. I am so appreciative of the amazing reviews I've been getting. Thank you so much for that. I also want to say that everything I share on this podcast is educational in nature. It's not medical or psychiatric advice, and it's not treatment for any emotional, physical, or psychological condition. If you're experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help. Let me also say as a last piece that if you're interested in applying these ideas and the Deeper Dating approach to your own intimacy journey, you can learn lots more about working with me at DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can receive a free gift when you go there as well.

    Fear of Intimacy Has Been Given a Bad Rep

    Photographer: JR Korpa | Source: Unsplash
    Let's get started. Fear of intimacy has been given a really, really bad rep. Let me start by saying that fear of intimacy is not a character flaw that renders us unfit for love. It's part of being human. If we're breathing, we have fear of intimacy because whether we're single or coupled, it's natural to want to flee the very love that we're looking for. I talk about this in my book a lot, Deeper Dating.
    All of us have fear of intimacy. It's what we do with that fear that determines who we become in the world. Fear of intimacy is no more a flaw than fear of dying is a flaw.
    Love is the most valuable thing in the world, so the fear of losing it or being hurt by it is completely rational. Also, love asks profound authenticity and vulnerability from us. Those can be so hard, especially when we've worked so hard not to look stupid, not to look weak, not to be taken advantage of, not to be betrayed again.

    Fear of Intimacy Is a Human Condition

    This James Baldwin quote captures the quandary that we all have around love, and I love this quote,
    "Love takes off masks that we fear we can not live without and know we can not live within."
    Fear of intimacy is a human condition. Clearly, some of us experience more debilitating fears of intimacy than others. Trauma is a real thing, and some of us have been more traumatized than others, but no matter how deep the trauma, and I really believe this, that does not mean you can not find love because love is like water that finds its way around rocks and impediments. It passes through incredibly narrow passages, and then it grows bigger when the space allows. When we open up and allow it, no matter how traumatized we've been, our love finds a way through obstacles that would have seemed impenetrable. When we start out by pathologizing this universal trait of fear of intimacy, it leaves people feeling like they're somehow damaged. Also, we avoid the real work of intimacy that confronts every one of us. In that old binary model, here's what it says, it says, "you've either got intimacy issues or you're essentially like really pretty much just fine." It's much more useful to assume that every one of us has significant gaps in our ability to love. When we start out by accepting this, then we can move on to the real work, which is acknowledging the parts of love that scare us the most and understanding and changing the patterns we've created to avoid that love. That's the place to start. That's the core curriculum for everyone who's passionate about being a student of intimacy.

    The Three Huge Questions to Answer

    Photographer: Kelly Sikkema | Source: Unsplash
    There are three huge questions that come out in this, and we're going to spend an entire episode on each one of these. Every episode is going to give you takeaways that will change the course of your intimacy future, really. The first big question, and this is what we're going to talk about today: Why do we keep love at arm's length even when we're looking for love? What things trigger us? What things frighten us? This is an incredibly rich question. Today, I'm so excited to be offering you a very powerful key to crack the code of your own fear of intimacy by answering these questions. Next episode, we're going to talk about how we keep love at arm's length. First, why we keep love at arm's length. Then, how do we keep love at arm's length? Don't push it away altogether. What are our flight patterns? What are the ways, largely unconscious, that we've choreographed to keep ourselves more isolated than we long to be? Then, the third episode, what can we do to actually truly change that? What I want to say is that this focus, this subject, is going to give you one of the biggest bangs for your buck in your search for love. Tackle this real hard stuff, and, baby, this is the mark of courage to deal with this stuff.

    Case Study: The Most Distilled Truths About Fear of Intimacy

    I'm going to help you in a step-by-step way to help you do that with the compassion that's needed to be able to tolerate the heat of this. It's going to be a lot more gentle than you might imagine, but when you tackle this, you can expect to see exponential shifts in your life, in your dating life, and in your search for love. I truly, truly mean that. Okay, let's go to an amazing study that's going to help guide us into the most distilled truths around this subject. The Harvard Grant Study provides a really extraordinary vantage point that we can explore these issues from. This study is one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies of human development that has ever been undertaken. They studied a group of college graduates for 75 years. I have to say it's kind of severely limited in its subject pool because all of its subjects are male Harvard graduates, but its findings are absolutely stunning in their clarity and simplicity. You take any group of people and study them for 75 years and you're going to learn a lot. George Vaillant, who's the director of the study, actually summed up 75 years of research in two sentences, "Happiness is love. Full stop." That was his summary of the entire study.

    The Most Important Characteristic That Can Help You Find Love

    We're going to continue to look at what that research said because then it describes the personality characteristic that is most important for finding that happiness of love. The single greatest, most important personality characteristic that can help us find love and happiness in our life, here's what it is. It's a mature coping style that does not push love away. I think it's pretty safe to assume that we all need some help around that one. I know I do, that's for sure, every day, almost every moment. There's a wonderful psychiatrist by the name of Donald Winnicott who just created such gems of understanding and insight around intimacy and human development. He said such fabulous things in so many different arenas, but one of the things that he said, which was an essential point of his teaching, was that we all have a true self. Because that true self is so precious, we create a false self to surround it and protect it. He said that,
    "People, the value of that true self is so profound that rather than have it annihilated, people would often rather die than have it damaged, annihilated, or destroyed."

    The Key to Understanding Your Fear of Intimacy

    The Key to Understanding Your Fear of Intimacy
    Photographer: Ryoji Iwata | Source: Unsplash
    That's the preciousness, that's the protection, that's the key to understanding your fear of intimacy, our fear of intimacy, wherever there is fear of intimacy. You can see it in the places you've pushed your beloved away, in the places you isolate, in the places you get unnecessarily irritated, in the places where you go numb, in the places where you get into compulsive behaviors, patterns of thinking. All of those different things, all of those, underneath those patterns of fear of intimacy lies a self that is so precious that you're protecting it in the best way you can. It may be in a mature way. It may be a convulsive way. It may not be a sophisticated way, but the secret here is to know that in every one of those behaviors where you are afraid of intimacy or somehow consciously, semiconsciously, or unconsciously pushing love away, there is a treasure of your true self lying at the base of that. Figure out what that self is that you're protecting and you have cracked the code to a deep part of your fear of intimacy. We're going to be working on that, and I'm going to be elucidating that tool so that by the end of this episode you'll have it.

    The Portals to Your Vast Self

    Here's what I'd like you to do. It's an image that correlates with Winnicott's image. Here's what it is. You've heard this one from me before if you've listened to my podcasts. Picture a target. As you get closer to the center of the target, the bulls eye, that's getting closer and closer to your true self, your deep authenticity. That's no small thing. The creativity that lies there, the tenderness that lies there, the passion that lies there, the sensitivity that lies there, the uniqueness and originality that lies there, the longing, the heat, are profound, are huge. These are portals to a vast, vast self. As you get closer, as you can hear, to the center of that, things get riskier and riskier as well as more beautiful and more amazing. Just like in the body, the places where there are more nerve endings, you are usually are able to both feel more pleasure but also more pain. So too as you get closer and closer to the center of this self, yourself, your true self the more nerve endings of being are there, the further out you go, the number you get, the more defended you get, the more airbrushed you get, the more distant you get, and the more walls that are of unconscious nature begin to shut you out from the warmth and beauty of your core.

    We Have Fear of Intimacy for a Reason

    As you get closer and closer to your core, things get less rational. There's more heart. There's more poetry. What I want to say is if you've got fear of intimacy, baby, you've got it for a reason. We have our fear of intimacy for a reason. I also want to say a lot of fear of intimacy is unconscious. You might know that you have a pattern that effectively kind of keeps love at bay, but you can't see the connection between that and some kind of primordial fear of intimacy. You might not see that at all.
    Let me say that if you feel there are blocks where it's very difficult to get into your fear of intimacy and understand it, particularly if you feel that there are compulsive behaviors that are blocking you again and again from fear of intimacy, get help. Get the help of a therapist.
    If these are psychiatric conditions, get psychiatric help. If they're addiction issues, join a 12 step group or something similar to that because until you do, you'll be stuck, and you don't want to be stuck. You want to feel like you have traction on this already uphill but incredibly rewarding journey.

    The Tool to Help You Crack the Code of Your Fear of Intimacy

    Okay. Here's the tool that I want to share with you to help you crack the code of your fear of intimacy. It is simply to dignify your discomfort and dignify your fear, to find the words that capture your fear. Now, the first thing that's going to happen is there's a guard at the gate of doing this. The guard at the gate says stuff like, "You're just being too sensitive. You're too much. You're too weak. Why can't you toughen up? Why are you so sensitive? Let this roll off your back. You're too much. You're too intense. Why can't you just calm down? You're so passionate you freak people out." These are some of the guards at the gate that stop you from finding the true source and reason for your fear of intimacy. The tool is this – the tool is to dignify that fear, to put words on it, to name it. When you go numb next time or when you're pushing your loved one away or when you're kind of hiding out at home and not going out, when you're acting irritable, when there's love in front of you and somehow you're not able to take it in, stop and think, "There's a reason for this," and begin to put words on the reason. "I don't feel safe now.", "I feel anxious.", "I feel really highly stressed.", "I feel irritated by you.", "I feel like I don't know how to do this closeness thing.", "I've been running so fast for so long that I don't know how to slow down." You begin to put words on that. Then, you begin to find words for why you don't feel safe, why you needed to go numb. What's really irritating you here? Because something is irritating you.

    A Good Reason You're Shutting Down

    You go in assuming that there is a good reason, a reason from your deep psyche that you're shutting down. You do it gently. You need to do this stuff gently because it's like if you put too much of a Klieg light on this stuff, it will flee because there's tons of shame here. You do it gently, and you do it with a lot of self-compassion. You think, "This weird thing that I'm doing, why am I doing it like this?" The first question you ask is, "Why does this make sense that I'm feeling this way?" You ask it again and again until you come to an answer because it does make sense, I promise you. It might be a very childish reason. It feels to you like it makes sense, but you have to find what it is because when you do, you're going to be able to ask for what you need.

    What Happens to Me When I Shut Down

    We'll come back to this in a minute, but let me give you some examples to help you understand that if you can bring compassion to whatever it is that is making you act weird, making you push love away, your deeper self is going to open up, and you will find something very precious. I'm just going to give you a few examples of that now. Let me give you an example of me with my husband. My husband is a real techy kind of guy, and he lives on and thrives on the practical whereas I live in the world of emotions. We're sitting down to lunch together, and I have just had this revelation or this painful experience or this exciting insight or this important thing that happened to me. I want to tell him, but it's a little embarrassing because this is a tender spot for me. This is a part of my real self, where I'm more that way than most people. I'm sitting with him, and I don't tell him. I don't share it because it just feels a little awkward. We're talking about like, I don't know what, the dishes, the clothes that need to be washed, our plans for the day. I feel like, "I'm just too much," and I don't share it. Then what happens? I notice that I'm a little shutdown to him.

    I Acted Like Nothing is Going On

    I notice that the feeling of joy and love and naturalness has closed down a little bit, and I notice that I'm more likely to get irritated and annoyed at him. If I pull back and say, "Why am I irritated and annoyed?" I'll realize I feel shut out. I feel shut out. Why do I feel shut out? Well, I feel shut out because I didn't get to talk about this thing. Oh, okay. Why didn't I get to talk about it? Because I was embarrassed. Now, that's already a world of insight, but if I could then… That's almost enough right there, but if I could then say to him, "Honey, I need to talk to you about something. I had something amazing happen, and I want to share it with you," he will, of course, say sure. He'll sit down, and I'll share it. All of a sudden, I'll be back to being the natural me. That was fear of intimacy, and that technique of acting like nothing's going on and then shutting down and becoming irritated and kind of numb is the story of my life for decades and why I was alone for decades. That's just one example. I'll give you another example in a few minutes, but what I want to say is this. If you don't dignify your needs, your asks, your wants, even if they seem silly or weird, if you don't, you will act out, which means you'll behave in a way that is not helpful, or you'll act in, which means you'll hurt yourself or get yourself into some kind of masochistic jam.

    Your Psyche Will Create A Primitive Defense

    Your Psyche Will Create A Primitive Defense
    Photographer: Karim MANJRA | Source: Unsplash
    You'll act out or you'll act in or you'll do both. Now, I want to share a really awesome and profound content with you before I get to the next story. This is the content. Remember we talked about your true self and what a life and death thing it is for the psyche to protect that true self, which is such an amazing, amazing thing. That's how serious it is that your true self doesn't feel at risk and in jeopardy. Here's the deal. If your true self, if your deep psyche knows that you're not going to dignify it, that you're going to say things to it like, "Oh, you're too sensitive. You're too much. You're not enough. That's silly. That's too weird. That's too needy. That's too big an ask," if your psyche knows that's what you're going to do with it, it is not going to reveal its most precious secrets to you. It will know that you are not a safe curator of its treasures. It will have to create what's called a primitive defense. In other words, a wall.
    It will build a wall to protect itself because it knows that you, as the kind of parent, will not be able to protect it, so it shuts down, which is an act of dignity and grace and causes a lot of problems for all of us.

    A Breathtaking Benefit

    This is a benefit that's breathtaking. To the degree that you begin to make room for the uniqueness and the truth of what your asks are, your needs are, the ones that you have kind of felt embarrassed about sharing, to that degree that you dignify them first inside yourself and then choose people in your life with whom you could share stuff like that and then share it with them and feel heard, your world will open up. That's a promise. That is an absolute promise. You will feel more comfortable in your own skin. Your relationship will deepen and enrich. You will be much happier, and your deep psyche will say, "Oh my god. He or she can take care of me. Maybe I can let down some of that wall because I know that instead of a wall, the being who's going to take care of me, you, is going to place, instead of a stonewall, a door." As M. Scott Peck said, "a door that can be shut, a door that can be locked when need be, a door that can be opened partially, a door that can be opened all the way." When your psyche knows that it will be protected, it will not have to protect itself for you. A host of fear of intimacy patterned responses will begin to melt. That's a fabulous thing.

    The Lessons We Have Not Been Taught

    The Lessons We Have Not Been Taught
    Photographer: Alejandro Escamilla | Source: Unsplash
    Now, I just want to give you a really sweet story of a little boy who did this exact kind of process that we're talking about, but I guess he grew up in a family where he was trained to do this and was allowed to do it so it came naturally, but I think it's really fabulous. I heard this story from this boy's aunt. This is the story. His mom, little child, his mom was feeling particularly effusive with him and was loving him up to pieces and expressing all of her love. He looked at her, this little boy, and he said, "Mom, when your love is that big, it makes my love feel so small." Wow. The mom got it. She totally got it. The kid could breathe again. Could you imagine trusting yourself so much that you would not think, "What's wrong with me?" or, "I hate my mom," or just shut down completely as a little child but to have the wisdom to say, "Oh my god. The intensity of your love, I need a little space here. I can't breathe. My love can't breathe. Not that there's anything wrong with your love, but I need space"? How amazing to live that way. How creative. How poetic. When you do, the opening that happens is pure happiness. These are the lessons we have not been taught.

    Don't Assume There's Something Wrong with You

    This is the point that I want to teach for this and the process that I want to teach for this episode.
    It is whenever you feel your telltale signs of pushing away love, don't assume there's something wrong with you. Assume there's something right with you. Take the time to go in with compassion and dignify the part of you that's not feeling right. Let it speak. Let it think. Let it express and honor it. Think of how you could turn it into an ask, how you could take care of yourself differently.
    Doing that, that exact act, is exactly what the Harvard Grant Study said is the key to love and happiness, a mature coping style that doesn't push love away. This tool is exactly that done your way. Thank you so much for listening. Please leave comments. Please leave a review. Go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and sign up for my mailing list. I look so forward to seeing you next week. Have fun with this material.
    Grab a copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
    Grab a copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
  • A Dating Buddy – The Quickest, Wisest, Most Enjoyable Way to Find Love! [EP020]
    What's free, fun, and can change your entire romantic future? A dating buddy; that is, a co-coach in your search for love. If you follow no other suggestion than this one from my podcasts, your dating life will change profoundly.

    Episode Table Of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Dating Buddy

    Do you want to speed your search for love? Do you want to make it more fun, and do you want to become a wiser person in all arenas of intimacy in your life? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn the simplest, quickest and most fun way to make that happen. Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. Today, you're going to learn one approach to your search for love that is going to make it more fun, that is going to get you to the love you seek more quickly, and it's going to make you a wiser and deeper person. Follow this one suggestion, and your world will change. I'm Ken Page, and every week, I'll bring you the greatest insights and the most powerful practices I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    Work Privately with Ken

    Work Privately with Ken
    Work Privately with Ken
    You can find a transcript of this entire episode at DeeperDatingPodcast.com. By the way, if you like what you're hearing here, it would be a tremendous gift if you subscribe on iTunes and leave me a good review. Thank you so much for that, including thank you for everyone who's done it already. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast isn't medical or psychiatric advice or treatment for any physical, emotional or psychological condition. It's purely educational, and if you're experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help. Last thing before we jump in. If you're interested in applying these ideas and the Deeper Dating approach to your own search for love, you can learn lots more about working with me by going to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and just clicking on the Work with Ken tab on top.

    What Is a Dating Buddy

    What Is a Dating Buddy
    Photographer: ian dooley | Source: Unsplash
    Okay, let's jump in. What brings wisdom and pleasure and is completely free and will change your entire romantic future faster than almost anything else? A learning partner or dating buddy. What is that?
    A learning partner or a dating buddy is a friend and a co-coach in one of the most defining tasks of your life: your search for beautiful, healthy, lasting love. If you follow no other suggestion from any of my podcasts but you follow this one, your dating life and your life will change.
    Why is this so important? Why is a dating buddy or a learning partner, I'll say learning partner, so important? Well, quantum physics, the greatest sages and practical experience all teach the same lesson. When we touch any important part of our lives with compassion and non-judgmental attention and we really try to gain insight and grow and do the inner work around it, that part of our life begins to blossom, begins to become what it was meant to be.

    The strongest tool in our toolbox

    When it comes to changing unhelpful behavior patterns and when it comes to really developing mastery in areas that count, willpower actually, especially unhelpful behavior patterns, willpower is actually one of the weakest tools in our toolbox. It's our go-to tool. We think we're going to use willpower, but it's really one of the weakest tools in the toolbox. What is the strongest tool when it comes to a place where we've enacted similar patterns again and again that haven't worked? It's support. It's wise, caring support.
    Get your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
    Get your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
    In my book, Deeper Dating, the entire book, it's a course in a book, and it's built to help people do this deeper, deeper journey of personal transformation that creates a complete transformation in our dating lives. Part of the center of that is to encourage everybody to find a learning partner to go through the book with. Every single chapter has learning partner exercises in it because I believe in this so much. All of my intensives, all of my classes use support because without support, we tend to do the same things again and again.

    Form A Support Group

    A dating buddy can change your romantic future
    A dating buddy can change your entire romantic future
    I'll just share a couple of stories with you. I was at a wedding a few years back. Somebody came up to me, and he said, "This is my dating buddy, Ken, and this is my husband. Thank you dating buddy." And then another person at that wedding had also found their spouse, and their dating buddy wasn't there at that time, but their spouse was. I know for me, that at a certain point, when I was just really, really wanting to gather resources because I felt like such an inept failure at love, but I also felt like maybe I was beginning to get some traction, and I wanted to keep that going. So I picked some friends of mine who were also like me, chronologically single shrinks, and I said, "Let's form a support group." We would get together. We would have wonderful meals, we would meet in each other's offices, and we would talk about our stuck points in our dating life. This changed all of our lives, and a number of us ended up in wonderful relationships. I know for me, I can attribute huge, huge changes that led to my being able to find love happened in that group.

    The Absolute Key

    The Absolute Key in Finding a Dating Buddy
    Photographer: Matt Artz | Source: Unsplash
    There's something amazing that happens when you have a learning partner. The biggest part of what that is is we don't tend to realize how we get stuck in old grooves. I'll give you a research-based, fascinating, amazing example of this. There's a great book, a New York Times bestseller called Change or Die by Alan Deutschman. In that book, he looked at a group of people who were all told by their doctor that they were going to die. They're were going to die if they didn't change the way they ate. This was a real thing, and they were going to die if they didn't change the way they ate. So that's pretty darn serious. Everyone, of course, committed to changing and to changing their diet. Every single person did. But after a certain period of time, almost everyone failed and went back to their old ways of eating. So he did a research study to check in on those people who didn't fail, who truly were able to succeed in their being able to change the way they ate and change their diet in a healthier way. This is what he found. The key, the absolute key was relationships.

    The Three R's

    Relate

    These people formed new emotional relationships with a person or a community that inspired and sustained their hope.

    Repeat

    This new relationship helped them fail and fail and fail again and practice and practice and practice and master new skills and new habits.

    Reframing

    Which was learning an entirely new paradigm with those people and then living that new paradigm and dealing with all the mistakes and errors that came up, all the stuck points, all the temptations, all the difficulties, all the reasons not to move ahead with growth, and those were the people who succeed, and it's the same for all of us. It's like if you have a gym buddy, you're going to be much more likely to go to the gym.

    We're like rubber bands

    In a way, we're like rubber bands. A rubber band, always left to its own devices, shrinks back to its least difficult state of being, one where there's no stretch going on, where it's at its smallest, comfortable state of being. We are like that. But when our rubber band is held out to a greater size by an external force, that rubber band can expand and expand and expand. If we try to do this stuff in our head, it doesn't work as well. We go back to our old ways of thinking. Even if we have the willpower to want to try new behaviors, we tend to kind of click into the same patterns again and again. I remember once I was in the woods, and I did not know how to get back. I was with a friend of mine, and we just did not know how to get back. But we had a compass, so we knew kind of what we needed to do. But we decided that we would try to get back without a compass. So we did that thing of just kind of looking straight ahead and saying, "Okay. That tree is straight ahead. I'm going to follow it. And then I'm going to follow the next tree that's straight ahead," and we ended up in a giant loop coming back to the same place.

    Grow together with your dating buddy

    So what are you going to do when you're with your dating buddy or your learning partner? What happens? Well, one possibility is that in my book Deeper Dating, for every single chapter, there's a learning partner exercise. There's structured ways to do this, but those structured ways are great, but they're not necessary. What you're going to do with your learning partner is you're going to grow together. You're going to share feedback, but always in a kind and supportive way. Always, always, always, or this will not work. It's not a therapy group. Clearly, you are going to be seeing things that your learning partner either doesn't see or doesn't want to see, so it's going to be a slow, ongoing process of gentleness where support is the absolute key word. You'll laugh together. You'll joke around. If you live near each other and you can get together in person, you'll eat and drink, and you'll complain, and you'll bitch about dating. You'll do all those different things because this should be fun, but you're also going to be honest about the patterns you're replaying.

    Be open to advice and growth

    You're going to try new exercises and processes that you learn together, and you're going to get help. Every time you start falling for somebody who is clearly and unequivocally bad for you, you're going to get help in stepping away from that person, and then when you find someone who's wonderful, you're going to get support in saying basically, "Don't fuck this up." You'll be open to advice, and you'll be open to growth. You'll talk about sex, not in a superficial way, but with a sense of exploration because sex is like an x-ray into our intimacy gifts and our intimacy struggles. And you are going to be a student, and you're going to be a teacher with the same person. That's what you'll have with the right learning partner. I have seen again and again that, for example, as a therapist, the clients who ask for and listen to the advice of wise, loving friends have more successful lives. Dating can be a really, is really sometimes lonely and hard-as-hell journey, but we don't have to take it alone. Having a learning partner will definitely make it more fun, will make you grow more, will make you stick to it more. Don't try to do this alone.

    Our mind is not a safe neighborhood to be alone in

    When you hit an obstacle, a question, a difficult point in your dating life, and God knows you will again and again and again, or a real challenge or someone who triggers you that you've been dating with say for a while, you are going to use your best thinking to try to think of the smartest solution you can to the situation, most likely, but your smartest solution is probably going to be based, because you're being triggered, it's going to be based on old patterns, so it's not going to be the wisest solution. There's a saying in 12-steps program that in certain arenas of our mind, and being triggered in dating is definitely one of them, that our thinking, our mind is not a safe neighborhood to be alone in. That is just really, really true. Those are the junctures where our kind of best moves are probably … that we think are our best moves are the moves we've tried again and again, but they've not led us to where we want to go. With a dating buddy, with a learning partner, with doing this work, the next time you're at a trigger crossroad, you will have the option of stopping, deepening, understanding more about what's going on, and then coming up with a response that isn't this reactive, that isn't this triggered, and you'll know it. You'll know it because there'll be a sense of ease or space or newness or healing that happens in how you respond.

    What gives us the blind spots

    That is gold. That is the gold of this journey is that feeling of, "Oh, I'm doing something different, and I feel it because there's a sense of space in my chest," or, "My heart feels softer," or, "I feel wiser," or, "I haven't shut down yet," or, "I got away from a toxic situation, and I feel cleaner and clearer now in the way that I did it." Those are like the most fabulous experiences because not only have we approached it differently, but we feel that we're growing and healing. Now, let's look at what makes it so hard to change our behaviors. What makes us, what gives us these blind spots? Why are they there? I want to give you an image that's going to help you think about this and understand it. Picture a target. That target is a kind of topographical. It's a map of you. It's kind of the architecture of your being. If you figure that the closer you get to the center of that target, the closer you're getting to the very authentic core of your being, your most essential self.

    The closer you get to your core, the more you can be hurt

    Now, that's the place where you can be touched the most by life, but it's also the place you can most be hurt by life. If you picture that every ring going outwards is a more airbrushed, defended, protected version of you. The further away you get from that center, the further away you get from your molten core of self. The further away you get from your genius, your uniqueness, the way that life can touch you most deeply, the passion of your love, but the safer you are, and the more palatable you feel like you are, or the more protected you feel you are in relation to the world. As you get closer, you get more alive, you get more amazing, you get more able to love and more able to feel and create. But you also get more triggered because the closer you get to your core, the more you can be hurt, the more the most precious thing you have is at risk, and that most precious thing is your true self.

    Where our biggest immaturities emerge from

    So the truth is that not only do our greatest wounds surround our deepest gifts of authenticity, but our biggest immaturities emerge from those places. We are the most reactive, the most triggered, the most immature, the more we feel like the very core of our being is being threatened, the more that we are, in effect, triggered. It's like if you picture being in a house, and there's a fire, and you just have to take out the things you need the most. That's what happens when we get triggered. We get triggered, there's a sense of risk and danger to our very security, so we respond with the most important protection that we can.

    The black and white thinking

    Now, for some of us, that might be people pleasing. That might be trying to keep the other person's anger away or keeping the love going because that matters more than anything to keep us safe. For others of us, it might be, "Screw you and the horse you rode in on. I'm out of here!" Getting away, distancing ourselves because that sense of independence and protection from violation feels like the most important thing. But both of those are reactive. They're black and white thinking.
    Black and white thinking is a hallmark of trauma. What we want is not a giant wall. What we also don't want is a place with no wall and no protection. We want a door. We want a door that can open and close. We want a more sophisticated response to complexity.
    When you do this process, when you sit down with your dating buddy, your learning partner and you say, "I'm stuck," and you explain about this guy or this woman who's really pissing you off or this guy or this woman who you're really attracted to or this person who just somehow is really moving you, but you're not sexually attracted enough. Whatever the thing it is that you talk about, when you talk about it with your learning partner, there'll be a sense of, if it's the right learning partner, there'll be a sense of softening, there'll be a sense of deepening, and you will leave that not as triggered in the old reactive way as you might've been in the past.

    How to Find a Dating Buddy

    How to Find a Dating Buddy
    Photographer: Toa Heftiba | Source: Unsplash
    How do you find a dating buddy? How do you do that? Oh, but I'm just going to interrupt for a second. Along these lines, I want to give you an exercise. If you want some serious, serious dating medicine, here's what it is. Ask someone who loves you dearly what they think you could be doing differently in search for love and ask them for honest but caring feedback. That's got to be someone who you know is not going to hurt you, who only has your best interest at heart, but ask them because they could probably tell you in a New York minute what it is that you need to refine, shift, or change. How do you find a dating buddy? It's a really important relationship, so it's essential to choose well. Just like with finding a therapist, it makes a huge difference who you choose. It needs to be someone who's going to keep your secrets secret. It needs to be someone who's going to bring a sense of hope to your journey. It needs to be someone emotionally safe and insightful.

    Start with your connections

    How do you find that person? Here's my suggestion. Start with Facebook or your address book or some kind of listing of your connections and contacts from the past number of years and ask yourself three questions. First of all, who might want to do this with you? Now, let's say it's someone who's not single, but their wives, they're wonderful. They feel like they'd be a great partner. You could have a learning partner relationship where they work on something different. But of course, it's easier if it could be someone who is single who wants to do this work. You ask yourself who is kind, who has wisdom, who is essentially reliable and really cares about you? Highlight each one of these peoples names because learning partner or not, they're your dream team. Wherever they live, whatever they're doing with their lives, they are the people for you to focus on, and any one of them who's single and interested in doing this work can be your learning partner or anyone who's willing to do a kind of mutual learning process. There might a great deep skillset you have that they need, that they'd like your help and support with.

    What you need to do after you find your dating buddy

    When you find your learning partner and you agree to take this journey together, what do you do?
    Well, you can use my book Deeper Dating because it's an entire course that tells you every step of what you can work on with your learning partner. But you don't essentially need that or have to have it. You get together with your learning partner on a regular basis.
    At your first meeting, each of you just answers these simple questions.
    • What's going on with your search for love?
    • Are there problems or challenges you keep hitting up against?
    • Are you noticing any areas of growth?
    • How do you want to grow and change in your intimacy journey?
    • What new behaviors do you think would be helpful or empowering?
    And then after that, after you've both done that, you give each other feedback on how you want feedback. Some of you might say, "I want really direct feedback. I don't care. You can be really direct with me." Another person might say, "I really want support. That's what I need most." Each of you will commit to giving the other person what they want. That is going to be your first meeting. You get together, and you just talk about what's happening and what's not happening in your dating lives, and you let this become a journey of wisdom.

    Start finding your dating buddy

    I can guarantee you that your world and your search for love will change dramatically quicker. I can guarantee you that you will be getting essential help in stepping away from the bad relationships, the attractions of deprivation. You will absolutely get help in not screwing it up and developing your attractions of inspiration, and you'll get help in learning in newer and wiser patterns of behavior. And hopefully, you're going to have fun in the process. So really, if you want the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to change your whole search for love, find a learning partner or a dating buddy. Your adventure is going to begin in a bigger and richer and more fun way. Thanks so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of Deeper Dating.
  • Losing Love and Finding It Again – My Story [EP019]
    This is by far the most personal podcast episode I've ever done. I had to pause a bunch of times to get my composure back. This is a story of my dad's bravery in love–and of never giving hope–even in the face of the most terrible challenges.  This one will fill your heart. And tissues may be required!

    Episode Table Of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Losing Love and Finding It Again

    Today, I'm sharing a really big personal story. It's a kind of story of redemption. It starts out really, really bad, and it ends up really, really wonderful. It's got huge lessons about love in it. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast. Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I'm Ken Page and I have a big story today that I'm really looking forward to telling you. A story with a lot of amazing lessons that's very personal from my own life and we'll see how I do getting through it. Every week on this podcast, I'm going to be giving you access to the greatest insights. The most powerful practices and the most essential findings I know and some of the best stories I know too. For everyone who wants to find love and keep it flourishing and alive, and heal their lives in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the best and most important skills of all.

    Subscribe to the Deeper Dating Podcast

    Work Privately With Ken
    Work Privately With Ken – Registration for this intensive closes May 30!
    You could also find the whole transcript of this episode on DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you go there, you'll also get to hear about my courses and classes and upcoming intensives. By the way, if you like what you're hearing here it would be a tremendous gift if you subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review, so thank you so much for that. I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It's to support you in your intimacy journey, and it's not medical or psychiatric advice, or treatment for any emotional, physical, or psychological condition. If you're experiencing any kind of serious psychological or psychiatric condition, please get professional help. If it feels like a true emergency, please get emergency help right away because your life is too precious to put at risk. So, let's begin.

    A Story That Illustrates Hope

    Photographer: Zhifei Zhou | Source: Unsplash
    This is a story that is beyond close to my heart. It's from my own life and my family's life, but it's a story that illustrates hope. It illustrates and captures what they say about intimacy, which is that intimacy is a journey of rupture and repair. I'm going to speak about some really hard ruptures and some really almost miraculous repairs that I think apply to all of us, especially when we think,
    "Am I too damaged to find love? Am I too old to find love? Do I have too many obstacles? Do I have too much baggage? Is it like looking for a needle in a haystack?"
    So, I just want to share this story. It's a story that revolves around my dad. My dad was a Holocaust survivor, and he passed away just a short while before… My dad is a Holocaust survivor, and we're just at about the three year anniversary of his passing. The story, his story, of how he freed himself from hate's grip and how he healed his relationship with his gay son, me, and how he resolved profound difficulties with his wife, my mom, and how he healed a gaping, strange silence between him and his grandson, my son, taught me a lifelong lesson about love and has given me a really great deal of hope, and I'm happy to share it with you.

    A prediction for the future

    When my dad was 15 years old, the Nazis took over the small town that he lived in. Overnight, his safe little world just became terrifying and unpredictable. One evening, a friend came over, a wise older guy, and he gave a prediction for the future. He said,
    "This will be a time coming of great joy." Everyone looked at him and said,
    "What are you talking about? We're entering into horror."
    He continued and he said, "When we have bread to eat and water to drink, there will be great joy. When our children are safe in our arms, we will have great joy."
    My dad never forgot those words until he passed.

    My father in the hands of the Nazis

    My dad's father died before he was born. He was his mother's life, my grandmother's life. The certainty of her love, which was fierce, was the foundation of his world. It was a foundation which would be savagely shattered, and then one day healed. So this is a hard part. The last time he saw his mom she was being beaten by guards in the concentration camp and he had to walk by. He couldn't stop. He couldn't speak. He couldn't intervene, or the guards would have killed both of them. He kept walking, completely helpless, and he lived with that memory for the rest of his life. That was the last time he saw his mom. Things get more healing, folks. They get better, but that was the last time he saw his mom. Before they were separated, they agreed to meet in a nearby town if they survived. When he was liberated by the American troops, he went to that town, and he found an apartment, and he waited. He waited, and he waited until he was certain that she would never come back. We never found out what happened to her. We even went back to Germany to try to find out.

    My grandmother spoke back

    Many, many years later, 50 years after he was liberated from concentration camp, I dragged him to a Lifespring workshop, which was a kind of EST derivative, like The Forum. He was in this workshop, and in it he was asked to have a conversation with a loved one who had died. So, he remembered his mom really vividly, and he went through it. He spoke to her, maybe for the first time since that horrible day. He felt like she spoke back, and this was what it felt like she would've said.
    "Eric, look what you have done. Look what a beautiful family you've created. I'm so proud of you."
    The feeling that is what she had said, what she would've said, was like a knot was removed from inside of him that had never gone away, an anger, anxiety, a fury, a tightness, a not-okayness. It was life-changing. It was a healing that none of us ever could've imagined, and we all felt the change in him after that day.

    Friendship Saved My Father's Life

    How friendship helped my father cope with losing love and finding it again
    Photographer: Annie Spratt | Source: Unsplash
    You know, in later years, he and my mom would go to middle schools and they would talk to students, but he never ever would talk about the atrocities. He only talked about hope. That was really hard to get through. And, he talked about survival. He would tell the students that one thing saved his life, and it was friendships. He told them,
    "If you want to survive in this world that is filled with bullies and I suffered with one of the biggest bullies of all, Adolf Hitler, you have to find your true friends. How do you find them? You become a friend, and that's how you'll find them. You learn how to become a friend."
    In addition to friends, one thing kept my dad alive during his years in camp, and it was his hate. This diamond-hard desire for revenge saved his life, and saving his life allowed us our life. That hate is what kept him alive. We'll come back to that.

    My Parent's Love Story

    Losing Love and Finding It Again: My Parent's Love Story
    Photographer: Scott Webb | Source: Unsplash
    But after he got liberated from camp, he came to America. He's really a handsome guy, and he was like a total ladies' man. He met my mom, who was like this European… She was also a Holocaust survivor, white glove, European kind of gal. When he met her, he knew that he had finally found his one. They would just walk together, and they would just speak about life. He proposed to her after three dates. My mom was 19, and she was a new-found bohemian artist who was going to art school and had a whole world that she pictured in front of her. She fell in love with him, but the last thing she wanted was to be tied down. She was a 19-year-old artist, and didn't want to be a housewife, so she fled. She ran back to her hometown, Chicago, and my dad was completely devastated. He was this survivor who never, ever, ever showed vulnerability after the Holocaust, but he wrote her a letter that was unlike anything he had ever written. He told her that if she didn't marry him, he would lose all hope, that he would never trust anyone again. His letter touched her down to her bones, and she knew that she had to marry him, so she came back. She got married, and they had two kids, my sister and me.

    Our hurt morphed into anger

    From the beginning, my sister and he were great, but he did not know how to reach me. He hoped that I would adore him, even with his walls, but that did not happen. I knew he loved me, but I never felt that he liked me, ever. His accumulated rage, it was tempered by a very fierce control, but it still always bled through. I never felt at home with him, and I felt so guilty for that. I felt like the Holocaust was this unspeakable abyss between us. It was unspoken, and it was untouchable. I somehow felt like I was supposed to have rescued him, but I didn't want to get close. Neither of us felt like we liked each other, and our hurt morphed into anger and distance. He felt inadequate as a dad, I felt inadequate as a son. I was a gay kid, and my dad was like this motorcycle-riding, deer-hunting, heavy-drinking, smoking tough guy. I was uncomfortable in his presence, and I just inched through my childhood with him. Time alone together just never felt right.

    We both needed each other

    But our huge discovery, which didn't come for years, was that we both needed each other. He would ask my mom why did I never kiss him when I came home from school, and I just felt this barren awkwardness of a kid who doesn't feel comfortable with someone who he was supposed to love. Through the years, we fought and we argued a lot. I held him accountable for the sting of his criticism, for his lack of praise, the lack of feeling of safety that I never… the feeling of safety I never felt with him. He, ultimately, learned to listen and to try. Over the years, we worked and we became friends and we felt the warmth of shared love. But I'll tell you my protective reflexes were always cocked, ready for the next criticism, and the next criticism kept coming. Over the years, we worked through our fears and our problems and our anger pretty damn well, I mean really well. It was a healing that I never thought could happen, but the awkwardness never fully lifted, and I really, really knew. I just knew that he would die without that awkwardness ever being lifted. I didn't think that could go.

    My Father's Magic Words

    Losing Love and Finding It Again: May Father's Magic Words
    Photographer: Byron Stumman | Source: Unsplash
    Down the road, I adopted a child, and I'll tell that story another time. But he was the one who said the magic words to me, as I was wrestling with the fact I'm a single guy, I don't make a ton of money, how am I going to have a kid? How am I going to have a life? How am I going to do this as a single dad? I remember him saying to me once words that changed my life because when he talked, people listened. He said to me, "Ken"… after listening to me suffer with this decision for years, like, was this realistic to do? He finally said,
    "Ken, is this something you really want?"
    I said, "Yeah, I really do." He said, "Then you have to jump."
    And that was it, I jumped and I adopted my son. Such a huge, huge subject, but my son changed my life, changed my world and became the joy of my life, one of the great joys of my life.

    His heart wants to stay, but his body needs to go

    Anyway, my dad got sick. About three-and-a-half years ago, about half a year before he died, he announced to all of us that it was his time to die, and we were not happy with this. Because we knew that if he would keep eating, he would live, and he didn't want to eat anymore. My son, who had a very deep but silent bond with my dad, kind of explained it to all of us in a way that made sense. He said,
    "Guys, you've got to leave him alone. Because if you keep pushing him that he has to eat, it's going to bring him back to his Holocaust days, where he had to keep choosing whether he wanted to live or not. Don't do that to him because…"
    And he was young at the time, Jessie, my son, but he was pretty wise. He said,
    "His mind wants to stay, his heart wants to stay, but his body needs to go."
    That explained to us the struggle that was going on for him, and we kind of reached a state of peace. When we reached it, we shared it with him, and then he said, "It's my time to go." He called all the people he loved on the phone to tell them goodbye, but he was so… He got such an outpouring of love, but also finally acceptance we stopped fighting him on this. Our outpouring of love and our acceptance with his decision made him change his mind, and he said he was going to stick around. What happened in those next six months was something I never expected. He became the dad I always dreamed of having in those six months.

    How to make perfect caramelized onions

    A very good friend of mine taught me how to make perfect caramelized onions. Here's how she taught me to do it. She said,
    "You cook them over a really low flame for hours and hours and hours. As you do that, every drop of their acidity disappears. Their bite goes away, and they become like the essence of onion."
    That's what happened to my dad. He lost his bite. He became the essence of Eric, and we called him Caramelized Eric. He lost his anger, and he became the essence of himself. I saw the guy he would've become if he grew up in a safe world. In those months, I got to see the goodness that was inside him his whole life. His kindness and his love were overwhelming. He became like one of the closest things to a saint that I've ever experienced in my life, and that's been a kind of thing of mine, is to visit saints. The one thing that I never ever thought would change, which was my awkwardness with him, left forever. I would visit him in the mornings before I went to work. I would lie in bed with him and hold his hand. We would look outside at the window at the squirrels and the birds, and I would feel like I was in this oasis of safety. I wasn't the only one. People would come to see him and leave the bedroom with like balled-up wads of tissues in their hands. They were just moved to tears by his wisdom and his guidance.

    My parents had been the greatest companions

    My mom and dad had one of the best relationships I had ever known, but in the five years after his open-heart surgery, that changed. She became bitter and angry because he stopped fighting. She married a fighter, but there was no fight in him left anymore. Her anger grew worse and worse as his anger began to disappear. But they loved each other so much. It was just a helpless mess, and we didn't see any hope for a good ending. But they had been the greatest of companions for almost 70 years, and they didn't give up. My mom would wake my dad up at three in the morning, and then she would say,
    "Eric, what is happening to us? We can't let our relationship turn into this."
    He would look at her, and he would say, "I love you, and you're right."
    The next day, they would wake up and fight again. It never stopped. Somehow when my dad decided it was time to go and when my mom heard those words of insight from Jessie, my son, my mom stopped fighting him, and their relationship went back to its earlier state, which we never, ever, ever thought would happen. My mom kind of cared for him as if he was her child and her lover all at once.

    My heart is your heart

    My dad once said that after concentration camp, he felt like he was in a cage. He felt like the hate that kept him alive was the poison that was going to kill him. He said he felt like he had to reach into himself over and over again, piece by piece, to pull the hate out that was inside him. He told us that it came out little by little, piece by piece. I lived through that struggle, and I was able to witness his success. The day before my dad passed away, we had another kind of healing that happened, which was that, Jessie, my son who loved him dearly… He used to say, "My heart is your heart," to my dad. They really understood each other. They have pride, they had anger, they had silence, they had depth. They had both been through a lot, and they really understood each other. But my son was silent when it came to sharing with his grandfather that he was gender-fluid, or at that time, transgender. It was just too hard for him to speak, and it was too hard for my dad to speak, and they spent I guess the last nine months barely speaking. The love was clear, the love was there, but they were just kind of silent. They couldn't get through that wall.

    My son's revelation

    I called my mom the night before my dad passed, and I said, "We got to intervene." My mom talked to my son. She said, "You got to tell Grandpa. He's going to love you no matter what." My son said, "I can't say it. Can I write it?" My mom said, "Of course, you can write it." So, he wrote to my dad and said, "I haven't been able to tell you this." My dad got the note, and he called my son in. He just grabbed him, and he almost cried out, "I don't care what gender you are. I love you. You're my grandson." And they held each other. My son knew down to his bones, and will know for the rest of his life, that his grandfather embraced him.

    My Father's Greatest Wish

    Losing Love and Finding It Again: My Father's Greatest Wish
    Photographer: Saad Chaudhry | Source: Unsplash
    My dad passed away the next day, but I will tell you another thing, and that is one of his great wishes was to see me and my partner Greg marry. He loved Greg, who is a very kind and silent and loving guy, and silent like in a lot of the ways that my dad is silent. My dad used to say that we fit together like an ass and a pail, and Greg and I would joke about who was the ass and who was the pail. But we told him that he was not going to miss our marriage, and we made the first appointment we could at the closest marriage place that would take us about a month later. But my dad didn't make it. He didn't last. The day that he was going to die, the hospice nurse said, "Guys, this was like his last wish. You got to get married in front of him." She said, "I have a friend who is a minister." She called that friend in, and Jessie and Greg and I sat down and wrote our vows. Jessie went with my sister, and they got declarations. Then Jessie and Greg went and got rings for a dollar. They came back, and Greg and I got married in front of my dad. When we finished saying our vows, he had passed.

    My beloved friend

    People often came up to me after that and acknowledged my grief. It was a really weird thing because what I experienced was not as much grief as a kind of child's joy because I had finally found a beloved friend in my dad. It took 60 years, and now I feel him as like my greatest ally. When I do therapy, he is goodness to me. When I do therapy, I think, "What would my dad say?" And I align with his energy because he always saw people's gifts first. He would say the hard truths, but he started with people's gifts. That's the essence of what I try to do in my work as a coach and a teacher and a therapist. Never, ever did I think that would happen between me and my dad. We never thought that my dad's anger and bitterness would ever completely go away, and we could not imagine that his grief and his guilt at the loss of his mother and his not doing anything on that day would ever go away. I never thought that I could feel fully joyfully comfortable with him, and I never thought that sad quietness between him and my son would ever go away. I never thought that my mom and my dad could work through their bitterness and their anger and find healing. But every one of those things happened. Most of them didn't happen in years; they happened over decades.

    I felt great hope

    When my dad left, he knew his work was done, and these stories give me such hope. Not just because of their success, but because of how slowly it happened, how painful the process was, and how full the healing. That healing did not happen because of one course or one workshop or one conversation. It happened from decades of work. At 60 years old, married for the first time, I felt a great hope and now at 62, I feel an even greater hope. That hope is for me and for my family and for my students and for the world. Healing took so much longer than I ever thought it would, but it was more complete and more full and more beautiful and magnificent than I ever thought possible. So, this is a story of hope and for each of you on your journey, that's what I want to impart is hope. Even if the person you loved has passed away without this healing, that healing I personally believe can still happen as you heal. So no matter what your age, no matter what your challenges, I just want to share the story of slow healing and the hope for healing for each one of us. Thank you all for listening to the story, and I'll see you in the next Deeper Dating podcast.
    Get your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
    Get your copy of the Deeper Dating book by Ken Page
  • How To Make Your Dating Life A True Adventure Of Healing [E018]
    There's a way to date that speeds your path to love–AND heals your life in the process! Here are the six steps to turn your search for love into a true adventure of healing. Jump in!

    Episode Table Of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Adventure Of Healing

    Your search for love can and should be one of the greatest and most healing adventures of your entire life. As you uplevel the way you search for love, you speed the time it takes to find love and you uplevel the quality of the person that you're going to meet and you also uplevel your ability to sustain love and help it flourish. In this episode, you're going to learn the six steps to turn your search for love into an adventure of growth and healing so stay tuned to the Deeper Dating podcast. Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. Today we're gonna be talking about how to turn your search for love into one of the greatest adventures of healing of your lifetime. I'm Ken Page, and every week I'm gonna bring you the best insights, the most powerful practices, and the most essential findings I know for everyone who wants to find real love and keep it flourishing, and heal their lives in the process because the skills of dating, are the skills of love. And the skills of love, are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    This yearly enrollment period to work with Ken is almost over

    Work Privately with Ken
    "Work with Ken" enrollment closes May 30th
    You can also find the whole transcript of this episode on DeeperDatingpodcast.com, and if you go there, you'll also get to hear about my courses and classes and intensives. And by the way, if you like what you're listening to here, it would be a tremendous gift if you subscribe on iTunes and leave me a good review. So, thank you so much for that. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is to support you in your intimacy journey. It's not medical or psychiatric advice for treatment of any emotional, physical, or psychological condition. And if you're experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help. And if it feels like a true emergency, please get emergency help right away, because your life is too precious to put at risk. So, okay, let's get started. Today we're going to talk about a subject that I feel deeply passionate and excited about, and it's the fact that our search for love can be, and should be, one of the greatest adventures of healing and wisdom gathering of our entire lives.

    Search For Spousal Relationship: A Journey of Adventure and Learning

    There's no question that the search for a healthy spousal relationship is the absolutely most significant time of our adult lives. But it also, can and should be, a journey of adventure and learning. And I'm going to explain six points that, if you hold those points in your search for love, this journey will become one. Not where you just try to get there as quickly as you can, and find the one, and change yourself, and play the numbers game, and do whatever you need to do to find that love, but a journey that will open your world and your entire future. And there's so many reasons for this. And one huge reason is that the greatest lessons of your life can be found in your search for love, because these are the greatest lessons of love, and you learn them when you date and how you date. And those lessons apply to everything. And there's a certain way that we get this cheap dating advice, which is, how to play hard to get, how to make yourself irresistible, how to seduce. This kind of stuff deepens us, not at all. And uplevels us, not at all. Hence, this does not uplevel the kind of partner that we're going to meet, because when we truly uplevel the way we search for love, we uplevel the kind of people we meet, as well as our ability to maintain love.

    D-A-T-I-N-G

    So, we're going to talk about six lessons each of which… And, actually, I made a little acronym out of it. It's the word DATING, D-A-T-I-N-G, that we're going to use as a kind of memory device to help us remember these. And I'm going to be speaking about each one of them.
    And if you approach your dating life as a journey of wisdom gathering, it will become a journey that will heal your entire life, as well as dramatically change your ability to find the right person for you.
    So, we're going to have a poem that's going to accompany us on this journey. And it's a poem by the poet Cavafy. It's called Ithaka, and it's about taking a journey, and how if you're only fixated on getting there, you miss the adventure but you also miss the wisdom. So, we're going to visit that poem at a few different junctures in this podcast. And we're going to start with the beginning.

    Except from Ithaka

    As you set out for Ithaka,
    hope your road is a long one.
    Well, hopefully not a long one.
    Full of adventure, full of discovery.
    May there be many summer mornings when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
    may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
    to buy fine things,
    mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony
    sensual perfume of every kind —
    as many sensual perfumes as you can;
    and may you visit many Egyptian cities
    to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

    Discrimination

    First Key Lesson to Adventure of Healing: Discrimination
    Photographer: Scott Webb | Source: Unsplash
    Well, I'm going to stop there. But I want to say that, once you learn the key first lesson, which is discrimination, where you don't get into situations where you keep dating jerks, where you keep dating people who treat you poorly, where you keep dating people who lack integrity, who prove dishonesty. Once you make that choice, that deep kind of existential decision, the waters become calmer, and the adventures become greater and more beautiful, because you're going to discover, as you date different people, you'll discover different worlds in each person. You'll discover different ways that these people touch, or kiss, or their loves, or their passions in life, or their particular gifts and qualities. You're going to be stopping at port after port until you find the port that's home. But once you make the decision, and now we're going to go to the first one, which is discrimination. The D for dating is Discrimination.

    Two Kinds of Circuitries of Attraction

    I often say that there are two kinds of circuitries of attraction that all of us have. Circuitries of attraction of deprivation and circuitries of attraction of inspiration. So, what does that mean? Attractions of deprivation, I'll tell you what those mean. Those are attractions where somewhere we keep needing to think we have to fix ourselves. We have to try harder to get this person's love. We have to somehow prove ourselves. Proving yourself is a key marker, that feeling. As opposed to a feeling of just being able to be, to play, to share, to express yourself. You're looking for a partner with whom you feel the latter and not the former. And there's a marker point where you make a decision that you are only going to pursue your attractions of inspiration. People who inspire you by their goodness, by their integrity, by their decency, by their growing an appropriate availability. People who have curated a life of goodness, and people who are honest and available.

    Discrimination is a huge thing

    When you make that choice, you cut out God knows how much noise from your search for love. Discrimination is a huge thing. When you're dating someone, and they say something a little bit nasty, you say, "Oh, I do not like that." Or they treat the person in an ugly way, you step back and you say, "Very, very bad sign." They don't listen to you. They only talk about themselves. You know, we want to give people a little bit of a chance because people are awkward in first dates, but quickly, quickly, quickly you will know, is this a person of quality and goodness? And if not, then that person is not for you. So, that's discrimination. And when you start trusting your sense of discrimination, your world changes. And this applies, of course, with friendships, with family, with jobs, with everything. So, that's a really important point.

    Your intuition is shouting

    Michelle Marchant Johnson, a wonderful dating coach, says that we're constantly trying to outwit our intuition, because our intuition is either whispering or shouting, "I don't like this." Or, "This feels safe. This feels good." And what we want to look for, again and again, our pivotal question should be, "Does my soul feel safe with this person?" And, of course, that grows gradually, and you only know that in time. But, when that becomes your marker question, and every other question, which there are a lot of important other questions, become secondary. I cannot tell you how your world changes. And it saddens me that we're not taught this first in our dating lives.

    Authenticity

    Second lesson to your adventure of healing is authenticity
    Photographer: Catherine Heath | Source: Unsplash
    Okay, second, the A in dating, Authenticity. This is a big one. And everyone always says, "Be yourself." But it's like, "Be yourself, but make sure you let your femininity out. Be yourself, but make sure you're still an alpha male. Be yourself, but be confident." All this crap. We do not get to be pretzels, folks. That doesn't happen. We got to either be our self, and be able to hold that self, including our humanity with a kind of dignity and honesty. We don't get to do both. As much as everyone tells us, "Be yourself, but be ultra, ultra fabulous and palatable to, basically, everybody." So, authenticity is not such a simple thing, because our real self is more sensitive than we might want it to be, more unique than we might want it to be, more passionate, more driven, more tender, more introverted, more shy. More whatever, less whatever, our authenticity is nuclear in its power. And it's a lifetime to learn to bear the power, and the beauty, and the sensitivity of our authenticity. But that's the lifetime adventure that is the great, great, great adventure of intimacy. When we're looking for love, when we find love, and as we're sustaining love.

    Your Treasures

    So, some questions that we can ask are, "Are there parts of ourselves that have felt too timid for the world? Parts of ourselves that have felt stepped on?" And you can ask yourself these questions. And what I'm going to say is, "These parts, each one, is your treasure." What I call your core gifts. So, parts of you that have felt too timid, maybe for the world. Parts of you that have felt stepped on by the world; these are your treasures, and you only, only, only, only want someone who treasures them. Parts you thought you had to hide, or tone down, or airbrush; those parts are all your genius. But we think we have to just change them, or airbrush them, or fix them if we're ever going to make it in this cold world of dating and of life. And the journey that I take people on, and the intensives and the courses that I do, the entire deeper dating journey says, "We need to go back to those parts of ourselves that we thought we could not bring along for the ride, if we are ever going to succeed in life. And we need to embrace them and realize that our greatest gifts lie there."

    Cherish Your Core Gifts

    These are parts that I call our core gifts. And the bottom line is that, the degree to which we learn to cherish those parts of ourselves, and only look for the people that cherish them, too, the degree to which we do that, our sexual and romantic attractions will actually begin to change. Really, truly. We will start meeting and finding, and finding ourselves attracted to, and finding that it's mutual, people who are of a higher quality. People who are kinder, more available, more creative, more interesting, more honest. That's what we find when we cherish our core gifts. We become attracted to those people and we're more likely to meet them. We're more likely to find mutual attractions. This is kind of a miracle, but it's really true, and it's the deeper blueprint of searching for love, and of love that we don't get taught. But the converse is true also, the degree to which we put those parts of ourselves in the basement and close the door, to that degree, we're going to end up in masochistic situations in our relationships. We're going to end up with people who don't treat us right, who don't get us, who chip away at our sense of self-worth.
    Because suppressing these core gifts is actually an act of quiet violence against our very being. And that violence begets violence in the choices that we make.

    Reclaim your authenticity

    So, this lesson of authenticity is world changing. And in my courses and in my intensives, this is the part that's the foundation of the deepest, deepest change. This is the baby that makes this into a true adventure of healing and wisdom, is that we reclaim those parts of ourselves, and that we learn to lead with them, and then we learn to dignify those qualities, and then we only choose people who do the same, and our world becomes different. And that, in a tiny nutshell, is the wisest path to finding love.

    Thoughtfulness

    Okay, that's the D and the A. And now we go to the T in dating, which is Thoughtfulness. Thoughtfulness, I'm going to put into this one, kindness and understanding, which research shows are the two most sought after qualities for men, for women of all ages, and all backgrounds. That is the most important quality for anyone seeking a mate. So, as I've said before, I don't know why so much of dating articles and advice is not about kindness and understanding and thoughtfulness, because it's a key. And, in fact, thoughtfulness is the longest lasting aphrodisiac that exists in love. Sometimes thoughtfulness even makes people fall in love. In fact, in my book, Deeper Dating, I talk about a journalist, Wendy Whitham, who met this guy… And she was always dating these really smart, kind of witty, cocky, arrogant guys. She met this guy from the Midwest and he was not that way. And, at one point, he swiped his Metro card to let her through, she's completely not used to this, and she was wearing a hoodie, and it was raining outside. And he just took his hand and just touched the top of her head really sweetly. It was just a thoughtful, sweet… It was just a sweet and vulnerable gesture. And she thought, "Oh, my God. I think I'm falling in love."

    Thoughtfulness is a turn on

    That moment, the moments of you expressing thoughtfulness. Think about it, thoughtfulness is such a turn on. So, when we begin to become kind and generous and thoughtful in our dating lives, and then we look for people who know how to give that back, we are making wiser choices. And we make these kind of choices, our search for love feels like a wisdom adventure. It really does. And we know that that's the greatest adventure of all.

    Intuition

    Fourth lesson to your adventure of healing is intuition
    Photographer: Igor Starkov | Source: Unsplash
    So, now I'm going to move on to intuition. And that's a big one. That's a really, really big one. I encourage you to think of your search for love, less as kind of like gold that you have to get to immediately, and of course I want you to get there as quickly as possible. And these lessons not only set you up to find love that's better and keep love in a better way, but they speed your path to love in breathtaking ways. At the same time, they make it richer, not slower, because they really do speed the journey. But this concept of a treasure hunt is a really beautiful concept. Thinking of your search for love is a wisdom treasure hunt. So, at a treasure hunt, you don't just get told where the treasurer is. You get told, "Walk down the block, make a right and look under the mailbox on the corner of Smith and Main." Then you go there, and there's the next message. When you approach your search for love that way, at the different pain in the ass crossroads, the different complicated points, the different painful points, the different potential points, when you approach it this way, you get wisdom messages. You learn really important things.

    Turn your anger into an ask

    I'll just give you a tiny example. I was dating a guy, who, kind of really frustrated me because he was kind of consistently thinking of himself in different junctures and not kind of taking me into account. And I was right about that, but in the interim, I talked to one of my best friends about that, and he said, "He's really trying to be a good boyfriend, so if you could just tell him… Like, not get mad at him for this. Turn your anger into an ask. Ask him directly for what you want, because he wants to give it to you. He wants to be a good boyfriend." Well, this blew my mind, and it was right. When I did this, it was like a magic kind of thing. He was able to hear it with appreciation, with kindness. It led to deeper closeness. Ultimately, it wasn't the right match, but that was just a tiny example of a wisdom lesson I learned that changed my life.

    The Inner Mentor Process™

    So, if you kind of open up to your intuition in your search for love, and you start listening to kind of the whispers of your intuition, you are going to start getting insights. As you do the process that I call the Inner Mentor Process™, every day you'll get insights. I believe that's episode three. You will get insights that will heal you, that will guide you, and that will change your way of thinking, and your way of being.
    I teach a practice that's in episode three called the Inner Mentor Process™, which is a way to tune into your own intuition in very deep ways every day and to use that as your daily meditation in your search for love.
    It's a constant source of wisdom. And as you do that every day, you will get fabulous insights that are wisdom insights, and you'll feel them as wisdom insights. And that is what makes the search for love into a true healing adventure.

    The Guiding Insight

    So those are insights, and I want to talk about a particular insight now to an intuitional insight, which I call a guiding insight. That's the big stuff. That's the stuff that maybe wakes you up in the middle of the night, that hits you like a revelation and it could be a quiet revelation. Like I remember someone who was dating this woman. He was on his first date with her and he just remembered thinking in a very quiet way, this could be home for me. This feels like home for me. And that defined his future.

    A moment of guiding intuition

    I'll share a story from my own life about a moment of guiding intuition. I had gone to see Almodovar's movie, All About My Mother. A beautiful, very powerful movie. I saw this movie, and I left the movie theater, and I felt something stirring inside of me that I did not know what it was. It felt very odd, very strange, I didn't know what it was. And I said to my friend, I need a minute. I went off into a corner of the movie theater, and I just thought, what is this? What is this that I'm feeling? And it hit me, I want to become a father. I knew that, and I went back to him and I said, "Nazario, I just decided I want to adopt a child and become a dad. And he was like, "Whoa, whoa." But I did, and it changed my life, and it changed my world, and it led to an indescribable amount of love and fun and silliness. And it led to my husband, and his daughters who became my stepdaughters, and the entire world that I have now. That was a guiding intuition. And at different points, each one of us gets these intuitions and as we learn to understand them, to listen to them, to listen to their whispers or their shouts, our entire world changes.

    What makes the journey into an adventure

    So as you learn to listen for your guiding insights, those are kind of those points in the treasure hunt where you say, okay, this is what I have to do next. And this is what makes the journey into an adventure. And you can do this on your next date. You could start learning to listen to what your gut says, what your kishkes, as we say in Jewish, your insights say, your internal organs say when you're on a date with someone. Your head might say, this person's gorgeous or I'm really attracted, or nah, not for me. Or this person lives too far. But when you drop down into your guts, you might feel something really different, which is closer to being a guiding insight. So key part of turning this into an adventure of growth and healing.

    Nakedness

    Fifth lesson to your adventure of healing is nakedness
    Photographer: Helmuts Rudzitis | Source: Unsplash
    Okay, next is the N in dating. That's nakedness. So what do I mean by nakedness? Well, obviously nakedness, but there are other kinds of nakedness to and love asks us to get naked. When you say I love you for the first time, or you share that something hurts you or it's difficult for you, or you turn your anger into an ask, or you dignify a need of yours, there's that feeling of nakedness that comes with that. There's a ring of fire that we have to walk through that it feels very vulnerable and very exposed. And just as the parts of our body that have the most nerve endings are usually the parts where we can feel the most exposed and have the most positive sensation. Also, the most pain.

    The feeling of nakedness

    Those places that surround our core gifts, our truest self, have a feeling, often there's a feeling of nakedness. And when you're with someone who accepts you for who you are, it's like a leap where you get caught and that feeling of being caught by the other person, of not being left to plummet or be left alone or be unseen but be caught and be held and be appreciated. When you share that vulnerability, and it's held by the other person, well, that's happiness. And so allowing ourselves to be naked and not just airbrushed is a profound privilege of being in a good, healthy relationship with a safe person. It's an unbelievable privilege, but that doesn't mean it's easy. And that doesn't mean that there's not this feeling of nakedness. It's like a mini series of comings out that is just a part of being human and being intimate.

    Going For It

    Finally, the G in dating. I'm calling that, going for it. And that's bravery. In this special sauce of wisdom dating, we cannot forget that bravery is a big part of things because it really truly is. So that's the final letter in this process, and it's going for it. It is. If you like someone, letting them know. It's getting out there when you just want to stay home and stay in your pajamas and watch Netflix, but instead you go out to an event. Or it's when you feel shy to contact somebody online, and you do it anyway. It's when you say maybe I mean this, I mean it that I am really looking for love, and I am going to do what it takes. I'm going to get the learning I need, I'm going to invest however I need to invest – time, energy, money, get the support I need. I'm going to get out there. I'm going to do this, I'm going to really do this.

    What stops us from going forward

    And let me just say another thing too around the going forward. When you make a commitment, what stops us from going forward? Often it's fear of rejection. When you make a decision that you were going to be your authentic self and lead with that self. And your definition of success in dating land is your ability to do that and then discriminate, and only choose the kind of people who are going to accept and appreciate those qualities in you. You actually break the spine of your fear of rejection. I remember a client of mine who was dating, talking about the experience of how his own decision to lead with his gifts changed everything for him. He said, "I'm not afraid of being rejected anymore because I'm just going to be me and if someone doesn't get that or appreciate that and there's not a mutual sense of that kind of sharing, then that woman is just not for me." And he said, "I am so much less afraid of rejection." And actually, it's really true.

    Bravery is Needed

    So if you want to go for it, this shift in commitment that we've talked about, it's going to really, really help you with even a deep fear of rejection. So bravery, it's needed. It's part of the secret sauce, and it means getting out there even if you don't feel like it. It means reaching out. It means letting people know that you like them. It means committing to that nakedness. And this is also of course, what makes this an adventure because it's an adventure of bravery. I remember somebody telling me that he had an assignment, that he would, when he went out to a party or a club, he would go to the most attractive people and talk to them, and he would allow himself to be repeatedly rejected. And I thought that was the most scary and awesome thing in the world. And one day I did try that. I was at a bar, it was a long time ago, but I said, I'm going to do this. And I went up to like 8 or 10 people, I talked to all of them and no one was interested in me at all. But I did not leave that bar feeling sad. Well, a little sad, but mostly I left feeling strong because I had followed through in my adventure commitment.

    Keep Ithaka always in your mind

    The last thing I want to say is, I want to go back to the poem, Ithaka. And Cavafy says,
    Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
    Arriving there is what you are destined for.
    Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
    Without her, you wouldn't have set out.
    And what I want to say to you is that if you arrive in Ithaka empty because you have not learned wisdom lessons, there'll be not enough to give you in Ithaka. Ithaka will disappoint you. Your love will disappoint you because you won't have gotten there rich with the wisdoms of intimacy that a good dating search teaches us. So if you take your journey to find love on as one of the most important, gorgeous lessons in journeys of your life, you will arrive at Ithaka, you will find your one more quickly. You will find someone who is more right for you, and you will arrive so much richer. So thanks for listening to the Deeper Dating Podcast. Please remember to leave a review on iTunes, and I look forward to seeing you next week.
    Deeper Dating Book by Ken Page
    Get the Deeper Dating Book by Ken Page
  • Why You’re Lucky To Be Single and Seeking Love [E017]
    Are you single and looking for love? And are you willing to do the real work of intimacy? If so, I believe you are lucky to be single. Not a little lucky; but profoundly lucky. There are four hopeful and powerful reasons why that is true; reasons you'll find out in this episode!

    Episode Table Of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Lucky to Be Single

    Are you single and looking for love, and are you willing to do the work of growth that's asked of you? If so, I believe you are lucky and not a little lucky, but profoundly lucky. There are four very important and powerful reasons why that is true, reasons that you can use to speed and ease your path to finding love. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more. Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I'm Ken Page, and every week I'm going to give you access to the greatest insights, the most powerful practices, and the most essential findings I know, to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    An Opportunity To Work with Ken

    Find out more before this year's program closes June 1st
    You can also find the whole transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com. And by the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a wonderful thank you, if you subscribed in iTunes and left me a positive review. So thank you so much for that. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational. It's not medical or psychiatric advice, or treatment for any emotional, physical, or psychological condition, and if you're experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help. Now, before we jump in, if you're interested in applying these ideas and the Deeper Dating approach to your own intimacy journey, you can learn lots more about working with me at deeperdatingpodcast.com. Just click on, WORK WITH KEN.

    What It Means to Be Single

    Why you are lucky to be single
    Photographer: Elaine Casap | Source: Unsplash
    So today I want to present a bit of an alternate view on what it means to be single, and this is from someone who was single for decades and decades, what I called chronically single, so I know how much singlehood can hurt, and how difficult it is. But I want to say that I believe that if you're single, and if you're willing to treat your search for love as a journey of growth, then you are in fact really lucky. So you might be thinking, how could I say lucky. Going to bed alone is not lucky, lonely weekends are like the opposite of lucky. And I know this really well personally. I know what it's like to go to a wedding and think, "Oh my god, I wish I had somebody to be with." And I know what it's like to stay over friends' houses who are couples, and I go into the bedroom, the guest bedroom alone. I remember one time I was traveling with a couple friend of mine, and they each had little bathroom kits. It was such a tiny little thing, but it just seemed like a dream that was a million miles away to have shared bathroom kits. It was something that almost hurt to imagine. And I remember the experience of having my best friends find someone really wonderful, and feeling so happy for them, but somewhere inside feeling like a very aching sadness at the same time.

    You're Lucky to Be Single

    So I get it. I really, really know what all of that is, but in thinking back on all of that, I can identify in retrospect when I began to feel like there was some luckiness here, and it was when I started doing the conscious work of love, and it began in a kind of paradoxical way by my admitting, and you may relate to this, admitting to myself, that underneath all of my busy-ness, all of my running, was this vast aching chasm of loneliness. That was really hard, but I think I will never forget the feeling of healing as I finally recognize it. Because it wasn't like it wasn't there before, I was just kind of too busy and anxious to notice it. So that felt like a really huge step. I remember when I decided that I was ready to have cats, and that I could take care of them, and that that felt like a bond that I was ready and willing to have, and what a huge deal that was for me. I was 20-something, kind of lost gay-club kid in New York City, who was completely devoted to finding love in just about every wrong way. These were milestones, and I felt the beauty of my opening up and growing, and that gave me hope, and made me feel lucky.

    Ken talks about vulnerability and the parts he's ashamed of

    Just sharing a little bit more about my story before kind of explaining about this lucky thing in other ways, going into therapy was a very powerful part of that process because I discovered in therapy that the parts of myself that I was most pissed off about, because of their vulnerability, the parts I was most ashamed of, the parts that I was most angrily trying to hide were actually the truest parts of me. They were parts of me that I had wished I could love, but they had been stepped on so many times, that I had decided that they were shameful and embarrassing. Learning that they were actually gifts of mine was the beginning of a new happiness in my adult life. Learning that my needs were not shameful and weren't embarrassing, and that I could be generous instead of just angry. Those were milestones. They were MY milestones. And I encourage each one of you listeners to think, when did you have intimacy milestones, break-through moments, and did you not somehow feel lucky at that time, for the insight, even if it hurt, even if it was sad, for the revelation, for the visceral experience of growing?

    Reason #1: You're not in a bad relationship

    And then, there were the times that I felt myself get out of old patterns. Consciously feel myself get sucked into an old pattern, and with the help of therapists, with the help of friends, with the help of spiritual practice, actually somehow let go of that clutching need to act out of pattern, to breathe, and to try something different that felt so much better. This was when luck really began to mix with hope. So now, I want to tell you the four huge reasons why I believe you're lucky to be single and you're willing to do the deeper work of growth in your search for love. Here's the first reason, you're not in a bad relationship. You may have been in one, you may still even be partly in one, but you are at least essentially significantly free now to look for something better, and you know what it's like to be in a bad relationship. Many of us know what it's like to be in a bad relationship, to be in a bad marriage, it's really hard. It's really painful to be in a relationship where you can't be yourself, where you feel put down, where you feel crushed, where you feel unseen, where you don't feel like you're your best self, where you feel like it's not a match.
    Whatever has happened to get you out of that situation, you are out of it now, and that's a really big deal. So that's one reason, and it's really significant because it is no fun to be trapped in a bad relationship, and it is not easy to get out for most of us.

    Reason #2: You have not given up hope

    Here's reason number two, you have not given up hope. If you are listening to this podcast, you have not given up hope, and that is a big deal, because think of all the people you know who have stopped trying, or who are only doing this in a superficial way because they don't want to go deeper. They don't want to learn in deep ways, they don't want to grow in deep ways, or maybe they're just numb and they've been hurt so much that they don't really want to try, or maybe they settled for a kind of comfort-food relationship that's not really wonderful, because it's just too scary to go out there again, or it's too scary to really risk your soul after you've been badly hurt. Think of all the people who have chosen not to go for their dream of real soulmate love. That's not you, and that really, really is a big deal.

    Reason #3: You are willing to change your patterns

    Okay, the third reason, this is a really, really big one, is that you are willing to change your patterns. You know, at trigger junctions, when we get triggered, by longing, by need, by trauma, by bad treatment, by things that remind us of really painful, lost times in our lives, we have a deep instinctual response, and it really is instinctual, and it's a pattern that in almost all cases is going to be one that moves us away from love, and causes some kind of damage, or just shuts us down. And that impulse, to do that feels really strong, and it feels really protective. It feels solid, or it feels like the best you can do, and that might be sticking to a relationship with someone who hurts you again and again. It might be a compulsive behavior. It might be an addictive behavior. It might be getting angry in ways that cause damage. It might be choosing the wrong people. It might be not expressing your needs because of people pleasing. It can be so many different things, and I'd like you to take a minute and just think, what are your patterns?

    We all have fear of intimacy

    And here's what I want to say about this, we all have fear of intimacy patterns. If you're breathing, you've got fear of intimacy because intimacy is the most…. love is the most precious thing that exists, and there's no way that we're not going to have fear of the rug being pulled out from under us, or betrayal, or abandonment, or loss. All of us have fear of intimacy. All of us have flight patterns where we flee closeness, and often we do it by choosing the wrong people again and again because they're somehow, in some weird way, safer than someone with whom your very soul is at risk, because you trust them so much that you want to completely lean your weight into the relationship.

    The child with a broken glass

    So there's so many ways we do that, and for me, as a psychotherapist who's worked with so many people, and a coach who's worked with so many people, an image that I get of that situation, again and again, is of, I picture a child with a beautiful piece of broken colored glass in her hands, and she doesn't want to let go of it because it's beautiful, and it's hers, and it seems like a jewel, but it's cutting her fingers, and she's bleeding a little bit, and she does not want to give it up, and you would have to pry her open to get it out. That's so often how I have felt with people who I love and respect, and myself included, enacting patterns that cause harm, that don't work, that don't lead to love, but they feel so damn right, like scratching an itch of poison ivy, like an addiction, like anything like that. And you know, in these areas, these trigger areas, we want to rely on our best thinking. We don't want to really ask for help, but our best thinking is skewed, in fact in 12-step programs they say it's you're best thinking that got you here, and that's true when it comes to our patterns.

    Coming back to where you started

    Another really interesting example of that is that studies have shown that if you're in the forest and you want to move straight ahead, you want to go straight, so you point to a tree, you pick a tree that seems exactly straight ahead, you walk to that tree, then you pick the next tree that is exactly straight ahead, and you walk to that tree. Well, ultimately you're going to end up, unbeknownst to you, coming back to the very place you started. You'll go in a big circle, and that's what it's like when we just rely on our best thinking again and again in the areas we're stuck. Just like in the woods, you're going to end up in the same place again, unless you have a compass. So the truth is, we need help.

    Look for coaches who make you feel safe

    David Brooks, who's a wonderful, wonderful New York Times journalist and author, says that if you are in a great marriage, and you have a crappy job, there's a really good chance you're going to be happy. But if you're in a great job, and you have a crappy marriage, you're probably going to be pretty miserable. And he says that is why every kid when they go off to college should have as their main subject of study, how to find and keep a good relationship, and God knows that's not what happens, but that's another reason you're lucky, you are ready to do that now, and that's why I want to encourage all of you, don't try to do this with your best thinking, it ain't possible when it comes to hardened patterns. Look for teachers and coaches who make you feel safe, and who make you feel inspired, who don't preach games, who don't tell you to become irresistible, who don't tell you what you can do to have people chasing after you, people with whom your insides say, "Oh, this is wisdom. This feels like wisdom. It feels safe. It feels right."

    Use Your Inner Mentor

    Use your inner mentor
    Use your Inner Mentor
    Choose friends like that. Get help. I pretty much promise you, if you do it based on your own best thinking, it's not going to work out well. Or you can use your inner mentor, the practice that I teach in many of my podcasts, where you tune into your own kind of deepest wisdom, the you that you're meant to be, and you imagine that you are that person and you actually call out guidance to yourself. There's fantastic research proving how well that works. So I consider that not getting stuck in your "best thinking" but actually connecting with your wisdom and your intuition. You know the process of intimacy is like one million crossroads that you have to go through, and at each one of those crossroads there's an old way, and there's a potential new way which has more intimacy wisdom, and at those crossroads, those are the places where we can rewire. And when we rewire, we don't just rewire for that date, we don't just rewire for that one encounter, or this one person, we're rewiring for our lives.

    What we learn changes our future

    The stuff that we learn at these multitudes of crossroads changes our future. Those skills are the most important skills that there are in life. I think of an example of someone that I work with who came to realize that she got defensive and angry whenever she had vulnerable needs that she was embarrassed to share. Vulnerable needs that we're embarrassed to share, that's a really, really big one. But she realized that she would get defensive and push the people she loved away when she touched those needs. Over time, she began to realize that they truly, truly were the most precious parts of being, or some of the most precious parts, and as she learned that, that there's kind of an instinctual feeling of self love that happens with that, and her entire family life got deeper and richer and she got deeper and richer.

    The moment when we start to feel awesome

    So those exact points where we screw up again and again, and get help, and rewire are gold, and if we do them now, before we're in a relationship, every one of those points is going to help us when we're in a relationship. And it's when we reach the point that we feel that we can honor our needs, honor our authenticity, hold our partner with tenderness and care, and hold our truth, and not abandon it either, and find some way to hold both together, and then this synergistic thing can happen if our partner's available to it, that just feels like magic, and goodness, and hope. And that is when we really start to feel like we are awesome, and it's when we start to feel like there may be some kind of benevolent blueprint that exists behind the world. Harville Hendrix has a wonderful quote, by the way, about that, he says that,
    "The task in many cases is learning to turn your anger into an ask."
    I know for me that's been a really huge one.

    A rubber band attaching you to your Core Gifts

    I want to share an image that captures this journey in, I think, a very powerful way. So, all of us or most of us early on in life had parts that were so tender, or so original or so revolutionary or so different, that they felt like curses, they felt like weaknesses or they felt like flaws, but they were really us. But we realized early on that we were going to survive and if we were going to survive, we had to hide those parts, or we had to leave them behind, or we had to put them somewhere safe where they just wouldn't bother us or touch us, so that we could kind of march on in life and be regular people. So we surrounded those parts of ourselves with shame or embarrassment or anger or defensiveness or we buried those parts or we forgot them like dreams that had been forgotten or ambitions or loves that have been forgotten, and we just kind of put them away. And we marched on so that we could be successful and like everybody else and make it in the world. But if you imagine that there was a kind of like a long, long rubber band, a long cord attaching you to this self, to these, what I call, your core gifts, and that could never go away because they're you, they're essentially you. And we march on and on and we try to live our lives, and, at a certain point we just keep getting stuck, and often the place we get stuck is not being able to find good love or real love or lasting love. And it's like the cord won't go any further, the things won't change.

    The need to follow our cord back

    And that's the point where we need to follow that cord back. That's the part where we need to find that part of our inner self, our inner child, that we had orphaned in order to survive in this world. And we need to reclaim that child and see its beauty and its worth and its smartness and its fierceness and its tenderness and realize that this is something good, that this is actually a part of ourselves that we should have been championing all along. And when we do this and we bring that part of ourselves or those parts of ourselves along for the ride, life works, intimacy can work, profound changes happen. And in some way, that's like the journey of trying to be an adult in the world and then coming back and discovering these parts of ourselves. And when we do, it's like we found the language of our heart so we can finally speak and find other people who speak our language. But until we have that self, we can't. So that's just a story that I wanted to share that captures what makes you lucky if you're doing that journey, and that's not just dating lucky, that's life lucky.

    Reason #4: The Way We Date Determines the Kind of Love We Find

    You are lucky to be single and up-level the way you date
    Up-level the way you date
    And now, I want to say the four threes, in which, I think, in some ways is the biggest of all. And this is what it is: If you up-level your dating skills, you also up-level the kind of people you meet and the kind of people you're attracted to. If you're doing this work now, you will date differently, and really, really, the way we date to some very significant degree, determines the kind of love that we find. So when you're doing this work what's going to happen is your attractions will begin to change. Now, I'm not talking about the work of game playing. I'm talking about the work of claiming your authentic self and learning skills of kindness and goodness and honesty, and caring and connection. Those are the kind of skills I'm talking about learning, but as you learn them, you will make better and better choices, knowing and acknowledging the ferocity, the beauty, the tenderness that is you and that is core gifts, that are YOUR core gifts. When you do that, you up-level the kind of people you're going to meet, you up-level your attractions, and you also hugely, hugely up-level your ability to get away when it's not the right match and to stay and build and grow in wise ways when it is the right match. These are all reasons why, because you're single now and you're doing this work, you are up-leveling, up-leveling, up-leveling the kind of person you meet, and I truly, truly believe that and mean that in deep, deep ways if you're doing the real work.

    Things will be different

    When I teach intensives, at a certain point in the intensive, when people have done this deep work of acknowledging their core gifts, and done some work on their attractions, understanding the difference between their attractions of deprivation and their attractions of inspiration and made changes in the choices they make, when that happens, I say to them,
    "Your field has changed, and now it's time to go out and play and experiment, because it's going to be different."
    Yeah, things are going to be the same in many ways, but many things will be different. You'll find you're meeting better people. You will. You really, really will. And you won't want to flee them in the same way you might have before in the past. I'm speaking about me now and my experiences with that, and you'll also find that there's a mutual attraction more often with good and decent people.

    Learn to lead with your soul

    And you understand that the game has changed, because your field has changed, because you are not repelling intimacy because you are leading with your core gifts, you're leading with your core self, or as Chip Conley, the author of Emotional Equations said after reading my book is that he came to discover that if you are looking for a soul mate, you need to learn to lead with your soul. So these are the reasons why I believe, if you're single and you're ready to do this deep, rich, powerful work of intimacy, you truly are lucky. You will make better choices in your partner. You will be more skilled at keeping love alive. You'll have more tools to make love flourish. You'll have more tools to enjoy love. You'll have the tools of repair. You'll have the tools of discrimination, and you'll have the tools of self-honoring. And, get this, you will learn most of them during your actual dating. You will see the differences inside and you'll see them outside, if you're doing this work. And that's why I say to each of you who's willing to commit to this work, for all these reasons, you are lucky. So thank you so much for listening. I hope that's a lot to think about and I hope it gives you hope and a sense of direction. I also want to say that if you like what you've heard in this podcast, please do go to iTunes, subscribe, leave me a positive review, and I look forward to seeing you next week on the Deeper Dating podcast. Thank you.
    Even if you feel Lucky To Be Single, read Ken;s Deeper Dating Book!
    Get your copy of the Deeper Dating book from Amazon
  • Q&A with Ken: Expert advice for all your questions about love, dating and sex [E016]
    What do you do if you keep ending up in relationships with people who don't treat you right? How do you change that pattern once and for all? And how do you handle it if a relationship starts out great but after a few years just doesn't seem like such a great match any more? And last but not least, how can you make your sex life more healing, deeper, and more exciting? Listeners bring their most important questions about love, sex, dating and relationships to Ken–and get his personal direct advice in Q&A with Ken podcasts. Once a month, Ken answers your personal questions about love, dating, sex and more. Today’s powerful questions are:
    1. I'm Tired Of Choosing The Wrong People. Help!
    2. What if your relationship started out great but doesn't feel right for you now?
    3. How can you keep the excitement of early sex alive?

    Episode Table Of Contents

    Introducing our Q & A with Ken Sessions

    What do you do if you keep ending up in relationships with people who don't treat you right? How do you change that pattern once and for all? And how do you handle it if a relationship starts out great but after a few years just doesn't seem like such a great match any more? And last but not least, how can you make your sex life more healing, deeper, and more exciting? Welcome to the Deeper Dating question and answer episode where I answer your most personal, pressing questions about love, sex, and intimacy, and I do it in such a way that each one of you can apply these insights to the particulars of your own love life. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating podcast.

    Subscribe on iTunes

    Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I'm Ken Page and every week I'm going to bring you the greatest insights, the most powerful practices and the most essential findings that I know for everyone who wants to find love and keep it flourishing and heal their lives in the present. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. And the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. If you interested in applying these ideas and the Deeper Dating Approach to your own intimacy journey, you can learn more about by classes and courses and upcoming intensives at deeperdatingpodcast.com. And by the way, if you like what you're hearing here it would be a tremendous gift if you subscribed on iTunes and left me a review. So thanks so much for that. I also want to say, last piece of housekeeping before we begin, that everything I share on this podcast is educational in nature. It's not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment of any emotional, physical or psychological condition. And if you're experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help. And if it feels like a true emergency, please get emergency help right now. Your life is too precious to put at risk.

    Question #1: I'm Tired Of Choosing The Wrong People. Help!

    Tired of choosing the wrong people
    Photographer: Rex Pickar | Source: Unsplash
    So today is our Q&A episode. And our first question is from Danielle. Danielle: Hi Ken, thank you so much for doing this podcast. They are just absolutely priceless for me right now. I'm going through a breakup. It's going on for almost a year now. I'm 52, I've not really been able to sustain any kind of relationship. I've done a lot of work on myself but I end up finding men who my friends teased me are basically projects. I've only recently realized that very infrequently did they really care about how I felt. I think, in fact I've never ended it with anybody in a relationship with me because I spent all my time doing everything I could to make them happy. Which is a total re-creation of my childhood for sure. But my question is, how do I stop attracting these projects? I'm losing hope. I'm 52. I don't want to be single the rest of my life. I really long for a deep connection with someone but I am only meeting people who are really not good for me, who have not done any work at all, who are angry, and bitter, and blaming, and they accuse me of things. And I end up almost becoming their therapist while we're together and I just can't do it anymore. I don't want this kind of relationship anymore. I want something so much more. So if you can make some suggestions for me, I would really deeply appreciate it and again I'm so very grateful for your podcast. My name is Danielle, thank you.

    Attractions of Deprivation

    Hi, Danielle, thanks for sharing with such vulnerability and bringing up such rich and important issues. First, what I want to say to you is you have hit a bottom, you have reached a point where you're not only saying I can't do these kind of bad relationships anymore, you're reaching a point where your intention is so clear that you want something better, something real, something lasting, something healthy, something that sits well with your soul, like the real deal and I hear your intention in that. And I think that's wonderful. You've also said a lot about yourself in this, and you've said a lot about the kind of people that you have been seeing and dating and in relationships with. And what you said about these kind of guys is that they are not generous, that they take from you, that your tendency to give matches their tendency to take and not only take blame and become really unkind. You have articulated what I call attractions of deprivation, which is good, because it's like, when you would go to the post office and see the picture of the bad guys that you had to keep your eye out for, the more clear the patterns and the nuances of your attractions of deprivation are to you, the more clear, you're going to be on catching them early on, and I hear you say, you don't want those kind of relationships anymore.

    The Four Step Process

    So I want to walk you through the journey to be able to change your patterns. And I want to do this for everyone who's listening as well. I'm going to take you through the journey that I teach in my book, and I teach in my intensive. And it's a four step process. But we're going to be talking about the first two steps. The first one is what are your Core Gifts? Because in every situation like this, it is so important to start out, recognizing the parts of yourself that have gotten stepped on in past relationships. Naming them, seeing their worth, seeing the gold in them so that you can dignify them, because that is the beginning of the unspooling of this whole kind of pattern. So that's what we're going to start and I'm going to ask questions of everybody who's listening that you can think about, kind of fill in the blanks questions to help you think about each of these points to help you transform your intimacy journey in some pretty wonderful, solid, healthy, good ways.

    First Step: Naming Your Core Gifts

    Core Gifts
    Name your Core Gifts
    The first step, and it's the first step that I spend huge amounts of time with in my classes and in my book, is the naming of your Core Gifts. So what I want to say to you, Danielle, is that you've described a situation that could be considered kind of codependent, you give and give and you're like the therapist for these people and they take and take and then they blame you and hurt you for not giving well enough or not giving enough etc. That would be what would be called codependency. But what I want to say about codependency is codependency has gotten a really bad rap, and I think that people frame the generosity, which I believe is the Core Gift at the heart of codependency.
    People frame that generosity in a pathologizing way like you shouldn't be so generous. That's not true. You're generousness, your generosity is holy, it's you, it is a Core Gift.

    Recognize Your Fabulous Generosity

    The issue is that if you don't know how to honor it as a commodity that's rare in this world, and precious, something beautiful, something that you should love – if you don't know that you will keep drawing people like this into your life. The place where you give without awareness of boundaries is exactly the place where you will draw people who take without awareness of boundaries. So the first step is to recognize this fabulous generosity. Don't think that's something to be ashamed of, because it's not, it is your treasure. When you know that, when you dignify that quality, when you begin to name it, honor it, and think who in my life values it and gives the same back, that's your tribe, that's going to be the kind of guy you want to date, that's going to be the kind of friends you want to have. Because if you try to dampen or put down your generosity, this wonderful, wonderful gift, so that you're more kind of appropriate or not codependent, you will be robbing your soul of oxygen, robbing your being of oxygen. You need to be able to be that generous, generous person who has so much to give. But you need to learn to listen to the part of you that says, "I don't feel so good, because I'm not getting, I'm being deprived I'm not being given to."

    Look for guys who also have an innate quality of generosity

    So what I want to say to you first is to honor your generosity, it's gold, there's no two ways about that. But from now on, what you want to look for is only guys who also have an innate quality of generosity, that's it, period, the end. And that's how we begin to learn to date differently. So for everyone who's listening, what I want to say to you is to think about what are the parts of you that in past relationships that you feel were stepped on, milked, taken advantage of – take a minute and just think of one or two of those qualities. Those are Core Gift places. Unfortunately, because we get treated that way, we learn to be ashamed of those parts instead of championing them and dignifying them and making much, much better choices until we treasure those parts of ourselves. Your loyalty, maybe some of you that has been stepped on, your generosity, your truth telling whatever those qualities are, the first stage is to name them and to honor them.

    Second Step: Look At Your Attractions

    The second stage is to look at your attractions. And what I would say is Danielle, it's like a mold. If you put a plaster mold around something, it takes the opposite shape, it takes the opposite shape, whatever it is, that you are taking a mold of. If you are taking a mold of something that is convex, like bulging outwards, the mold will be concave, it'll be bulging inward. The powerful, powerful thing here is those core gift attributes of all of us, the way we treat them, defines who we are attracted to, and who's attracted to us, but particularly who were attracted to in very deep ways. So there is a process here where your generosity has been enslaved, has been colonized, has been milked, has been taken advantage of. And then you've been stepped on. As you begin to treasure that quality, watch what happens. And I say this to everyone with whatever qualities you identified, it's really true. As you begin to dignify those qualities, little by little, your sexual and romantic attractions are going to change, Danielle, you're going to start losing your taste for those guys. But slowly, not quickly. It's like a stepping stone process, don't think it's going to end immediately.
    But as Marianne Williamson said, and I love this quote, "the problem is not that you're attracted to guys who don't treat you right, the problem is you give them your number." So I think that's a really, really key point.
    In this second stage, we learn to only choose people with whom these qualities feel safe and valued, period, the end, nobody else. When we make that choice, everything begins to change.

    Create Change

    So Danielle, you want to make that change, those are some of the steps that you do that with an easy one of you who's listening. Now think about the qualities, the attributes that you described, what if you made a pact with yourself, that from now on, you're going to only look for, and only to continue to pursue people with whom those parts of you feel safe, seen and valued and reciprocated? The last thing I want to say is that to create change, like we're talking about, which is characterological, deep and profound change is conceptual, it sounds easy. In its macro level, it's very simple but when it comes to the nitty gritty of dating, and meeting people, and early dating, and later dating, and all of that, we still get stuck in our own patterns, no matter how fabulous the idea and I think these are life changing. The important ideas that really work, no matter how well they work, if you don't have a support team, it's going to be too difficult to make these changes on your own in almost every case.
    So Danielle, what I encourage you to do is, if you're reading the book, Deeper Dating, get a learning partner, because it's a course in a book to help you with making this huge change.

    Get involved in support groups

    Or you might want to be in one of my groups or my intensive, or there might be another teacher whose work really resonates with you, who has a community of learning. Follow those people, get involved in getting that kind of support, because it's really essential. We're like rubber bands left to our own devices, we shrink to our most comfortable small state, we need to be held out in a consistent way to something bigger and better if we're really going to create characterological change. Therefore, what I want to say is, even if it's none of the things I mentioned, even if it's just a wise and caring friend, with whom you say, this is my intention, I don't want to date guys who take advantage of my generosity. In fact, I only want to take guys who are innately generous themselves. And I want to be able to feel good about these parts of myself and give them freely and with joy, because that's how I'm built. And I can only do that with someone who does the same. Everyone who's listening, think about the qualities you mentioned, how could you do the same with those qualities, because for you to be happy, you need to be able to express those parts of yourself, not hold them back in a stingy way because the world doesn't get them. You want those precious people who do get those qualities. So that's my last piece that I want to say – get support because it's too hard to make these kind of changes on our own. Thank you, Danielle.

    Question #2: What if your relationship started out great but doesn't feel right for you now?

    Your relationship doesn't feel right
    Photographer: Everton Vila | Source: Unsplash
    Here's the next message from an anonymous caller. Anonymous Caller: Hi Ken, I'm a few years into a relationship that I thought was originally one of inspiration. I assumed that my deep wounding was my shame around my health. This man loves to love in a big way and care for me which drew me in, originally. But I'm not all that inspired by him. His politics are different and that's a turn off to me. And he's not really my type in a lot of ways. He's a big talker but not terribly ambitious or successful. He's only 62 and wants to retire and work part-time but doesn't really have the financial means to do that. So I think that is also stressing me out. So my question is, I'm wondering if maybe that was not my wounding, perhaps? Or did I just not pick up the right guy or get more specific about who I wanted to be involved with? And the other option is that I have a history of being very critical and being the person who leads relationships and so I'm open to that also being an option too. So I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

    Questions to ask yourself

    Well, this is such an important question in so many ways and has a universal quality. A few pieces here. One piece is, what do you do in a relationship that started out really nice, feeling really new, really healthy, and then you find that you're just not happy in it, or maybe you're happy in some ways, but troubled and unhappy in other ways? Another part of this is, what if you're struggling with, "Is this me? Am I being too critical? Am I being too sensitive?" versus, "These things bother me. I feel troubled by this and that feels real", that kind of complexity about which side should you land on? I'd like everybody to take a minute to think about that. Have you ever been in that kind of situation in a relationship, both of those pieces where a relationship seemed really good at the beginning, but then you began to experience dissatisfaction that felt significant? The other question, that struggle between am I being too sensitive, am I being too critical, or is this a valid concern?

    Notice what it is that's bothering you

    I want to share a few thoughts about what to do in this kind of situation, a few steps, and there are four steps that we're going to go through that are very empowering and very healing. First step, notice what it is that's bothering you and don't begin by thinking, "Am I being too critical?" Begin by holding your criticism, the things that bother you, let's say, better than criticism, in a way that doesn't chain you to those feelings. Assume that if these things are bothering you, maybe you're skewing them in a negative direction, maybe you're misinterpreting some things, but there probably really is something here to bother you. The first step really is to honor that because if you squelch that, a few things will happen. You will shame yourself for your own gut and intuition. The other thing that will happen is you'll become angry, and many of us who have had a history of seeing things, especially in our family that no one wanted us to talk about, become, what I call, angry truth tellers.

    Start out by validating the truth

    The truth burns inside us, and we feel we need to say something, but it's laced with a kind of anger because it's been suppressed for so long. We want to honor the truth, and I encourage you to honor the truth of those things, those exact things that bother you, which, to me, all make sense. They all seem valid. For each one of you who's listening, if you're in a situation like this, start out right now by validating the truth. It makes sense that I feel this way because … It's rational that I feel this way because … When you do that, that inner child space will begin to calm down because it won't be told that it's being crazy. Again, when we try to outsmart our intuition, it either goes into hiding and bites us in the butt or it becomes strident in a way that is alienating or both. Step one, honor the validity of what's bothering you.

    Look for the gifts

    Step two, look for the gifts. For you, I would encourage you to look for your gifts in this. You are talking about a quality of ambition inside of you, a kind of financial responsibility. I'm assuming and imagining that those are parts of who you are, honoring those, honoring the fact that you have allowed yourself to be cared for in this relationship, which is a wonderful thing because receiving is a huge and deep intimacy capacity and an essential one, and also see the gift in your truth telling, in the awareness that you have and the validity of your intuition, and then see the gifts in your partner. You have described somebody who's absolutely, unequivocally got a big heart and is caring and loving and has cared for you. Those are beautiful things. Allow yourself to list those qualities in your head. That's a great act today, a wonderful thing to do, so allow yourself to do that. Everybody, think of a person with whom you're having a dilemma like this, and allow yourself to just list in your head their deepest qualities.

    Stop trying to work it out in your own head

    When you've done all of that, there is a completely essential next step, and that is to stop only trying to work it out in your own head. Now it's time to work it out in the relationship because relationships are dynamic things, and we are dynamic beings, so we change, and the glory of relationships is that we change because of the relationships. If you're trying to work this all out in your head, it will become stagnant, it will become convoluted, it'll be like an ingrown toenail of your brain and your thinking and your heart. It is meant to have oxygen for a few reasons. 1. You got to hear what your partner thinks because your partner might have opposite concerns that will blow your mind, like, "Wow, I didn't realize I was doing this." 2. Your partner needs to hear what hurts you, what's not meeting your needs, what concerns you.

    Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean

    Of course, the rule is say what you mean, mean what you say, but don't say it mean. Take some time to think about why this matters to you. Maybe you came from a family where there was lack of financial responsibility, and so it's a tender spot for you, a vulnerable spot. Maybe it's because you're concerned that you might have to be taking care of him and you don't want to be doing that. You want someone who can take care of themselves. See what it is, but see if you can frame things in an "I" way, huge rule feedback. We often think that the "you" is more powerful, but let me tell you the "I" is more powerful. Someone hears, "You're not being responsible," and they shut down. They circle their wagons. No one wants to hear that. It's a horrible feeling, and you circle your wagons and you shut down around it. Even though it feels like a powerful thing to say to someone, what you get is a defensive block from the other person, whereas, if you said, "I feel scared that I'm gonna need to support you," for example, that'll go in, they'll hear that. 'I statements" actually have a tremendous amount of power, but the main point here is do not try to work this out in your head.
    Give yourself, your partner, and the relationship the gift of letting this become an evolving process because you and your partner need to be talking about this stuff in such a way that you create a shared language around your conflicts, and that's a good and wonderful thing to do. Big, big piece here is don't think you need to work it out just in your head.

    Has there been enough healing in you?

    The final thing I want to say, and this is just a question, is you spoke about your woundedness, wound of shame, around health conditions that you have, and I'm wondering if there's been enough healing in you, emotionally, spiritually, partly even because of your partner, where that now is less of an issue, where you don't need someone who is going to take care of you because you feel more healed and more ready to take care of yourself. If that's so, you are changing. Your partner might be someone who gets their greatest sense of empowerment by giving. If so, they might feel dis-empowered, your partner might feel dis-empowered, as well. This could be a sea change period in the relationship, and, too often, people end relationships because they say, "We both changed," without having done the rich, ongoing, complicated, struggling, but wonderful work of changing together. Those are my thoughts. Good luck in taking these steps, and each one of you, good luck, in taking these steps. The first, honoring your experience, noticing the gifts in you and your partner, and then trying to work it out gradually, caringly, kindly, in real time.

    Question #3: How can you keep the excitement of early sex alive?

    Keeping the excitement of early sex alive
    Photographer: Val Vesa | Source: Unsplash
    The next question is from Steve. Steve: Firstly, I want to say that I'm a big fan of yours, Ken and I've enjoyed your insights and wisdom over the years. My new wife and I, we've known each other for about six months, and we have an absolutely fabulous sexual relationship, but just recently I've started noticing that we are beginning to get a little bit used to each other. Do you have any tips for maintaining that spontaneity and excitement that we had for the past six months or at least keeping it as alive and prolonging it for as long as possible. Or do you think that it's inevitable that it will fade and we'll just have to resign ourselves to it being less inspiring and important in our lives? Thank you, Ken.

    There is a calming down that happens after a while

    Steve, this is a great and important question. We're going to talk about this now, and I hope that some of the information is helpful to anybody in a new relationship, or also there are some very important universal pieces to this as well. Steve, from what I understood, you have known your wife for only six months, and in that time, you've gotten married. This is a really, really new relationship, and you guys haven't stopped moving yet. Getting to know each other, knowing each other, getting married, joining your lives together, in half a year, that's a lot. It's going to be exciting and thrilling, and those kind of thrills can create sex that is incandescent. That's fabulous, and may you continue to have that kind of sex, but there is a calming down that happens after a while, and that calming down requires the development of different sexual circuitry, and we're going to talk about that. There are three questions that each of us can ask ourselves, and they're three fabulous questions about sex to help deepen our sex life, make it more exciting, and also make it more healing in very profound ways.

    Question #1: What makes you feel safe in sex, and what makes you feel unsafe in sex?

    The first question is this. What makes you feel safe in sex, and what makes you feel unsafe in sex? This is a really important question and something very deep to think about. We often don't think of safety in terms of sex, and I don't just mean unsafe sex or sex that can hurt you. I mean a deep sense of emotional safety. That's a really important thing, and when this wild thrill of newness calms down, you might notice more ways in which you and your partner either feel safe or unsafe. That's a rich question for everybody to think about.

    Question #2: What moves you and touches you in sex?

    The second question is, and this is a deep one, what moves you and touches you in sex? In this calming down that happens, we touch a deeper level of being, and in that deeper level of being, we can deepen and enrich and widen our sex life by thinking what kind of pacing, what kind of ways of being touched, what kind of ways of touching each other, what kind of ways of holding each other make me go into that place where there's this dropping down into a deep sense of bonding, intimacy, being moved, maybe being moved to tears? That happens sometimes in sex. What enables me to go into that deeper, deeper space? That's a rich and important question that is huge, and what happens is sometimes, because you both are still getting to know each other in many ways, there sometimes needs to be a period of re-calibration. When you make a deeper commitment often, the sex doesn't match up with the emotions right away. The emotions are scared all of a sudden as things become more real, to connect with this wild sex.
    There's a process of re-calibration where we often feel a sense of sexual discomfort or lack of turn-on, and it's often because our heart is trying to catch up with our genitals. These are some rich things to think about when it comes to the issue of enriching your sex life, not just making it more exciting or keeping the excitement up, but bringing the depth up to match the excitement.

    Question #3: What really turns you on?

    The third question is what really turns you on? That's a rich and important question, too, for you and your wife to be able to speak about together. What are the secret things that really turn you both on? That's a gift also to be able to talk about. What I think you might want to think of this as, Steve, is an enriching and maturing part of your sexual and intimate relationship with your wife. That's all the time we have for questions. I hope these answers were helpful and supportive and help each one of you think about your own intimacy journey, and I look forward tseeing you next week on the Deeper Dating Podcast.
  • The Surprising Key To A Better Sex Life [E015]
    It turns out, there is a magic key to a better sex life and a better sexual relationship. But it flies in the face of almost everything we've been taught about sex. In this episode, you'll learn what that magic key is, and you'll learn three profound questions for deepening and enriching your sex life. So stay tuned to The Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Episode Table Of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Better Sex Life

    Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I'm really excited about what we're going to be talking about today. It's about sex, and sexuality, and healing. I'm Ken Page, and every week, I'm going to be giving you access to the greatest insights, the most powerful practices, and the most essential findings I know for everyone who wants to find love and keep it flourishing, and heal their lives in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the most important skills of all for a happy life. You can also find the whole transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com/e15 and if you go there, you'll also get to hear about my courses, and classes, and intensives. Some new ones are coming up now. I'm also going to be talking about some research in this episode, and if you go to the transcript you'll get all of the links.

    Subscribe to iTunes

    For all of you research nerds there are fabulous links in the transcript. And by the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a tremendous gift to me if you subscribe to iTunes, and leave me a review, so thanks so much for that. I also want to say, last piece of housekeeping before we begin, that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It's to support you in your intimacy journey, and it's not medical or psychiatric advice, or treatment for any emotional, physical or psychological condition. If you're experiencing any psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help, and if it feels like a true emergency, please get emergency help right away. Your life is too precious to put at risk. Before we continue, one last thing. I just want to let you know that if you're interested in applying these ideas, and the deeper dating approach, to your own intimacy journey, you can just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, and press work with Ken to learn more about working privately with me.

    The Magic Key to Better Sex Life

    The key to a better sex-life
    Photographer: Matt Artz | Source: Unsplash
    Okay, so let's begin. As I said, there's a research-based magic key to better sex and better sexual relationships, enhance better relationships, but it flies in the face of almost everything we've been taught about sex, so a great sex life between two people who love each other is like a shared secret, in some kind of amazing way, it cements your bond. It's like a private, quiet sense of joy that you have when you know that you and your partner have a really better sex life, and in some essential way it has sent … It just enhances your sense of well-being, and it enhances sense of well-being in the relationship.
    It's an I love you, and there's a growing body of research that shows how important sexual satisfaction is for relationship satisfaction and stability, but unfortunately for most couples, that satisfaction diminishes over time, and I want to say something here.

    Sex is not just for married people

    This is not just for people who are married. This is not just for people who are currently in a relationship. This is for any human being who has a connection to their own sexuality, and particularly for people who hope at some point to be in a sexual relationship, but whatever, what you will learn in this podcast will be, I believe, inspiring in many arenas of your life. Diving back in. In the honeymoon phase of a relationship, sex is usually more frequent, and it's maybe more desired too, and there's this sense of sexual success at that time that just leads to this feeling for a couple. Jessica Maxwell, who's a social psychology researcher at the University of Toronto, I'm going to be quoting some of her research, says that that honeymoon period usually lasts between two and three years. At that point, that's when sexual incompatibilities and difficulties start to kind of tear at or erode the sexual bond between partners.

    Where the "magic key" comes into place

    Then this critical bond of shared sexual joy, that secret of shared sexual connection, begins a kind of downward spiral, an erosion that in many cases is never reversed. This is where, when I talked about this, the magic key, this is where that magic key comes into place, and not surprisingly, it's the same key that leads to growth, and mastery, and the possibility of greatness in just about every arena of our lives. Drum roll, it's work. In her study, Maxwell and her crew of researchers show that people who believe in the power of consciously working on their sex lives are the ones who have a happier sexual future and the stronger, more resilient bond overall with their partner. Here's where it gets really interesting. What she does, she distinguishes between, and you'll see how this applies to kind of every arena of intimacy, she distinguishes between people who have sexual growth beliefs and people who have sexual destiny beliefs.

    Sexual Destiny Beliefs

    What do your beliefs have to do with a better sex life?
    Photographer: Seth Macey | Source: Unsplash
    She reports that across all of the studies, the results show, the results suggest that people who are higher in sexual growth beliefs, which means who think sex takes work and are willing to do it, are more satisfied in their sex lives and their overall relationships. It's so simple, right? It's so obvious. It's so common sense, but there's this sexual destiny feeling that also is super compelling, and a lot of couples, and a lot of us, to some degree or another, are stuck in, so let me talk about that a little bit. The people who are stronger in sexual destiny beliefs, those are people who saw sexual problems as a sign in their partner, we're not really so meant to be, that they weren't really soul mates, and those people were more likely to lose faith in their relationship when sexual difficulties arose.

    The thing you need most is the hardest for your partner to give

    I want to now relate this to every other area of intimacy. Harville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly Hunt, two wonderful, amazing teachers around sexuality, and relationships, and intimacy teach that it reaches a certain point in almost every relationship where the thing you most need from your partner is the thing that it's hardest for them to give you, and the reverse, and they say that is not the end of their relationship. That's the beginning. That's when the growth takes place, but that's where, in sex and in relationships, and in everything we say "Oopss, it just wasn't meant to be," and we give up. Intimacy, like sex, which is a process of rupture and repair, rupture and repair, ends then with rupture, and this destiny belief that, well, if there was this rupture, it's not worth it. When in fact the greatest, most amazing healing happens when you reach out across that bond. Of course, that chasm of hurt, of vulnerability, of feeling not seen, and you share your needs, your wants with your partner and your partner's able to listen, and you do the same for them.

    Sexual Attraction Could Be Developed

    Better sex life could be developed
    Better sex life could be developed
    That's when, just like when bones break and are placed together to heal, they heal stronger than before they were broken. The same is true in sex, and the same is true in relationships. Interestingly, there's actually some preliminary evidence that same sex couples might be more apt to be high in sexual growth beliefs, so in another study, it was shown that participants who believe that sexual attraction could be developed, and cultivated, and strengthened, were more likely to handle their sexual problems in a better way. Those people who felt like sexual attraction was just what it was, you're either attracted or you're not, and that's not going to change, which I'm going to try to prove to you in a minute is not true, those people would handle sexual problems in more destructive ways, like leaving the relationship, or neglect in response to that kind of sexual dilemma, or cheating, or fleeing to non-monogamy, and I'm going to talk about monogamy and non-monogamy in just a moment.

    Sexual Desire Grows

    But first, let me just say that if you take a minute and think about it, have you ever had the experience of knowing somebody and you weren't really attracted to them, and they did something or said something, and it just seemed so sexy to you that all of a sudden. You developed sexual desire for them? Have you ever had that happen, where sexual desire grows? Sexual desire is more plastic than we're ever taught. It can grow, and it can shrink, and proof of that is the fact that in most cases, if you've seen, if you feel unseen and unmet by your partner, you will begin, including in nonsexual arenas, you'll begin to shut down in most cases sexually, and your sexual attraction will dissipate. Okay. I want to talk about monogamy a little bit. This is like a leap, it's jumping into something else, but I think it's really important, and I want to say that these are my biases, but I think what I have to share is very, very rich.

    The Cauldron Concept of Monogamy

    There is the cauldron concept of monogamy. And let me share what it is. It's really interesting. If you want to bend steel, you need a breathtaking amount of heat, and a cauldron holds that kind of heat, because it doesn't leak. It holds a tremendous amount of molten heat, so that when you place iron in that cauldron, you can then bend it, because of the contained heat.
    Our characters are like iron, and our character defects are like iron, and they don't bend,
    But when … unless there's deep ongoing work and those of us that have sexual and relationship growth beliefs are willing to do the work. In the presence of monogamy, the cauldron does not leak. If you're not sexually satisfied with your partner, you can, and spiritually and emotionally satisfied in a monogamous relationship, you can't escape. You can't get your needs met somewhere else, which basically then sculpts a giving up and the possibility of growth and change in most relationships.

    People who don't want to choose non-monogamy go numb

    These are my biases folks, but it's what I've seen as a therapist, and as a couples therapist, and what I've felt to be true from what I've seen in the relationships that I know in most people's lives. When you can't flee, because you're only going to get sex in one place, when you can't flee because you're only gonna have like one lover, one husband, one wife, one partner, you're faced with a difficult situation. Do I try to bend steel or do I just go numb? A lot of people who don't want to choose non-monogamy go numb, but those folks who are doing the work choose to bend steel, and it's mutual. It's usually your steel, and your partner's steel, so in the context of a monogamous relationship that's growth-oriented, where you keep sharing your needs and your desires with your partner, and you keep talking in a good and healthy way about what you need and what's not working.
    Because folks, the things you most need from your partner emotionally are usually the very things that they need to change to become a better human being, and vice versa toward you.

    The commitment to embrace your growth beliefs will make the difference

    Sexually, it's a little bit different, but the things that you sexually need from your partner need to be heard, and appreciated, and honored by your partner, and then there needs to be discussion, because people have different sexual tastes and that's a really true thing. But in the conversation, and being mutually heard and doing the best that you can to meet your partner's needs, that's where the steel begins to bend. That's where deep, deep intimacy takes place. That's where your partner finally begins to feel when that happens, like you're home in the world, and your lasting home in the world. I just wanted to share this concept, and so for all of you who are in a relationship where you're not satisfied, which is, raise your hand, everybody, there are ways that we're not satisfied, and where you're not sexually satisfied, and I would say pretty much raise your hand everybody there, too. Making the commitment to embrace your growth beliefs will make all the difference in the world. It's like hope for the beauty and the preciousness that you once had in your relationship. It's saying, "I commit, baby. I commit."

    Sexual attractiveness is plastic

    I just want to share one interesting insight about sexual attraction and it's an image, it's about models. It's about fashion models. It turns out that fashion models were usually picked as very, very skinny, but skinny to the point of unattractiveness, so that the wives who went to the fashion shows would see the dresses hanging beautifully and perfectly, but wouldn't get too jealous, wouldn't get too intimidated, wouldn't get too annoyed, wouldn't feel too insecure because these women were so thin that it was considered not really that attractive. But then, with these models being so thin, over time, the aesthetic of beauty began to change to thinner, and thinner, and thinner. The same thing takes place in fashion things, which just looks so ugly when you look back at them, were the height of sexy, and things that now are the height of sexy are going to look really, really silly in a while, because sexual attractiveness is plastic.

    Media is not helping

    It depends on many things other than some true, objective fact. The media is not of a lot of help in strengthening our confidence in sexual growth beliefs. Look at the media, glutted with images of these dizzyingly perfect bodies, and these airbrushed romances, and these fabulous white hot depictions of sex in the couples who are the happy ones. When we're faced with these larger than life depictions of soulmate love and attraction, it just gets so easy to make this crushing mistake of comparing our insides to another person's outsides. If we don't know what sexual growth means, or how to achieve it, it's going to be incredibly harder to be strong in our sexual growth beliefs. And that's where sexual incompatibilities could seem like this total hopeless referendum on the whole relationship. Sexual growth is possible, and we're going to talk about that in about two minutes. I'm going to give you three questions, three powerful questions, and we're gonna talk about this a lot more in a future episode, but three questions that are the heart and soul of sexual growth work.

    Three Questions: The Guide to Great Sex

    Three Questions that can lead to a better sex life
    Photographer: Emily Morter | Source: Unsplash
    I also just want to say sexual passion can be reclaimed with time and with work. What is the work of creating great sex? In my experience as a therapist specializing in intimacy issues, I found that there are three gorgeous, gorgeous questions that can guide the way to truly great sex. Ask yourself these questions, and think about how your partner could answer them as well, and then have a conversation, or better yet an ongoing series of conversations, with each other. Don't do this process. Don't begin it during sex, and definitely don't begin it in the middle of any kind of argument or conflict. Discuss it together, discuss these fabulous questions as a shared project of nurturing, and just deepening your bonds with each other. Okay, here they are. Here are the three questions. What makes you feel emotionally safe in sex? That's one, and you might want to take a minute now and answer that question for yourself. You could even pause this podcast and think about that, or write down your answers. Next, what touches you? What moves you? What makes you feel closer and more loving with your partner during sex? Another fabulous question, so take a few minutes to think about that, and finally in your sex together, what really, truly turns you on? What really excites you? Take a minute to think about that.

    Having sex from the soul

    If you're in a relationship, that's for you to think about with, to talk about with your partner. If you're single, this is, these are rich and fabulous questions that you need to think about now, and they're gonna make a huge difference in your having a better sex life in the future. This is like sex from the soul. This is having sex from the soul.
    This is the place where love and turn on meet, and that's just the most amazing thing in the world.
    Assuming you are with a partner, the more you and your partner, create a kind of shared language over time around each other's answers, and the more you're willing to give your partner what it is that he or she wants, assuming it's not harmful, assuming it doesn't go against your values, or just feel not right to you, the more you can do that, the better sex life you'll have.

    The lesson for relationships is the lesson for sex

    Most of us are afraid in sex to reveal our sexual wild side, and even more afraid to reveal those deep, deep places of tenderness and vulnerability in sex. When we do both of those, it opens the door to deeper intimacy, and greater passion, and a lot of happiness, and the opportunity to recover and even surpass the kind of sexual magic that we had earlier in our relationships. The lesson for relationships is the lesson for sex, and that is where we do the work, we do the work of compassion, of love, and of finding out our own core gifts and who we are. As I mentioned, a later episode is going to teach you how to discover your own sexual core gifts. This kind of research represents a kind of democratization of sexuality. In other words, having a better sex life is not just for the young and the fabulous, the gorgeous, or people who are sexually gifted, or people who are in some kind of a relationship where they never have to do sexual work, and it's definitely not just for new couples in a honeymoon phase. It's for anyone who loves their partner, and is willing to do the work. It's not about magic, or maybe it is about magic, the magic of effort, and the magic of deciding to treat something as precious as our sex life with their respect, and the care, and the love that it deserves. Thanks for listening to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I look forward to seeing you next week.
    Ken's book can help you and your dating and sex life
  • How Gender Role Rigidity Is Crippling Modern Love [E014]
    There's a form of gender stereotyping that's messing up our dating lives and relationships! What are the new rules around gender? I'll share some ideas and research that might change your thinking about this subject forever.

    Episode Table Of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Gender Stereotypes

    It's 2019, how are we supposed to be thinking about gender roles and gender stereotypes? What's a man supposed to act like? What's a woman supposed to act like? Where does the LGBTQA community fit in? Should women try to honor their innate femininity and men, their innate masculinity? Or are those just old sexist concepts in modern packaging? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Show to hear some ideas and some research that might change your way of thinking about gender forever. Hello, I'm Ken Page and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. Every week, I'm going to be giving you access to the greatest insights and the most powerful practices and the most essential findings I know for everybody who wants to find beautiful, healthy love and keep it flourishing, and heal their lives in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the greatest skills of all.

    A point of view to consider

    On this page, you're going to hear about my upcoming courses and classes and intensives and ways to work privately with me. And by the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a tremendous gift if you subscribed on iTunes and left me a review and thanks so much for that. I also want to say, last piece of housekeeping before we begin this exciting, important and controversial podcast, that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It's to support you in your intimacy journey. And it's not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment for any emotional, physical, or psychological condition. It's all just a point of view for you to consider. And if you're experiencing any kind of serious psychiatric or psychological conditions, please get professional help. And if you're experiencing serious conditions, please get emergency help right away. Your life is too precious to put at risk.

    How Modern Brand of Stealth Sexism Cripples Relationships

    Gender stereotypes cripples relationships
    Gender stereotypes cripple relationships
    So, what we're going to talk about in today's episode is how gender role confusion and gender stereotypes are crippling modern love. You know, I think that countless people's dating lives and relationships are being crippled now by a modern brand of stealth sexism. And the result is a generation, a number of generations, trapped in this quicksand of crazy making advice, like women be strong and be independent, but for God's sake, don't scare men away.
    And men, you can be sensitive, but if you're not an Alpha male, you're always going to be the second choice. And LGBTQA people, you better come back tomorrow because we are confused enough as it is.
    You know, in love, just like in every area of our lives we're faced with about a million variants of the same existential choice. Are we going to be us or are we going to be a kind of prepackaged, safe, socially acceptable persona? That's not an easy choice because we're herd animals and it's scary to be different. And tragically, strong women and gentle men and just about everybody else are still being taught to forsake their authenticity again and again when it comes to dating and romance and love. It's like old sexism in a new age pop psychology bottle. And for me, as a therapist and a coach and a teacher, it breaks my heart to see.

    A Sample Story

    A Sample Story
    Photographer: Art Lasovsky | Source: Unsplash
    Let me give you an example of this. Let's just create a story here. Let's think about a successful woman who's leaving a really high powered job and she's going out on a date. And successful women are told things like, leave your fake balls at the office. They're really told that, or risk a failed connection with real men. I know this sounds so 1950s but I cannot tell you how many successful women, powerful, accomplished women I know are haunted by that fear, and how often it's validated by dating coaches and experts and friends and family. So, okay, let's imagine Susan, she's an executive, very successful and she's headed out now to her second date with Jim. And she really is excited about this guy. But okay, she has just closed the biggest deal of her career and she's walking on air, she's bursting with excitement and she cannot wait to share her success with this guy Jim, who she really likes. But then, she remembers the dating advice that she's heard again and again. If you're not in touch with your femininity gals, you will not be able to attract guys. If you're too powerful, you'll turn them off. So soften up or risk failure in love. Because otherwise, if you're too much, too powerful, you're not going to let the man be the man. So, Susan is torn between two worlds here. What would she really love to do? She would love to have like a fist pumping celebration of her coo with Jim. She's feeling really powerful and really proud and kind of fierce. But fierce and powerful don't sound like feminine.

    Date Over: What went wrong?

    And she likes Jim a lot. So Susan decides that she's going to kind of play it both ways. She tells Jim about her co, her success, but she kind of downplays it and she substitutes fierce and powerful with fun, charming, and kind of un-intimidating. So, not surprisingly, the date falls flat. Awkwardness takes over. And awkwardness is like this clay footed compromise between who you are and an inhibition against that. And that awkwardness takes over. And neither Jim or Susan find that easy connection that they were so excited about feeling in the past. Date over. Susan leaves and she feels kinda hollow and disappointed. So, let's look at this. Let's look at what went wrong here. First, Susan was bursting with joy and ambition and a sense of personal power. She had to own that, risk that sense of empowerment or she was going to risk disappearing. But that ran contrary to a slew of dating advice that she had read and heard and been taught. So, in order for her to really be her, she would have had to cross what I call an electrified trip wire of gender stereotypes, and it just felt too risky.

    Dating Advice You Were Told

    Next, there's this advice, there's wisdom in this advice of getting out of work mode before a date. But the thing is, the way that advice is portrayed is women get out of work mode. Because otherwise, you'll be out of touch with your femininity. Excuse me folks, isn't it everyone's job to get out of work mode, not just the woman's? Is emotional availability, and receptivity, and vulnerability really, really, really just the woman's responsibility? It's like women are still being told to hold themselves back for fear of injuring a man's ego. If you strip it down, it's the same disheartening message that women have been taught for millennia. Next, there's a toxic message here, and the message is this. It is fine to step out of your traditional gender stereotypes for a little period of time, but you better return to it or you're not going to find love. And that gender conformity pressure has shaped our lives in countless toxic ways, but we really rarely see it for what it is. Hiding our authentic self is an act of quiet violence. It holds us back from our ability to love authentically. And, if we're single, it keeps us choosing the wrong partners. Whenever we …

    Stepping over the trip wires in your relationship

    We're herd animals, as I mentioned. And whenever we kind of like feel like we're stepping too far away from the herd with our uniqueness and individuality, we get a little bit afraid. You know, John Gottman, one of the most brilliant relationship theorists around, has actually said that LGBT people are about 50 years ahead of the general population in this arena because they're less afraid of crossing those electrified trip wires of gender stereotypes. It doesn't freak them out as much. And we're going to see a little bit later what that means when you can step over those trip wires in your relationship, what happens in your relationship and in your inner life. Okay. Next. There is this assumption that strength and empowerment and passion and drive are these predominantly male attributes. And receptivity and expressiveness and kindness and gentleness, those are the domain of the female. It's the gender binary folks. It's like a simple dusty on off light switch. It's on or it's off, as opposed to a beautiful lighting console that has endless variants of lighting possibilities, which really, really, really our gender expression can and should be like. We are fluid beings. I'm going to share a story here.

    Feel Your Grief

    Feel Your Grief
    Photographer: Yuris Alhumaydy | Source: Unsplash
    The story is that way back, in the 90s when people were dying of AIDS, my best, best friend Michael was dying of AIDS and I felt frozen. I couldn't grieve. I just, I … Well, not that I couldn't grieve, but I couldn't really grieve like I knew I needed to grieve for the closest friend had ever had in my life. And so I went into therapy. So brilliant therapist, his name was Harold Gouden. And he said to me, "Can you feel the part of you inside that's allowed to grieve?" And I guess I kind of felt it. And I said yes. And he said, "What's an image of what that person looks like?" Well, the image that came up was a very kind of wide hipped, very feminine, very emotionally connected woman, which freaked me out a little bit. And I told him about it. And he said, it's really okay Ken. That can be a part of you. When I accessed that part of me, the tears came, the tears poured out. I needed to touch that part of me to be able to feel my grief. So that's just an example that … And I guess in a way it's a kind of gender binary example because it was a woman that was able to do it.

    There Is Someone For Everyone

    But hey, it was my inner life in my inner world and that was what came up. The point being though is that we have endless variance of self inside us and a lot of them break gender rules. So anyway, going back to this concept of gender stereotypes and terms, a lot of researchers are using terms that are not based on Genitalia. Okay. So they're saying instrumental traits include assertiveness, decisiveness, independence, dominance and ambition. And then, there's expressive traits, which includes sensitivity to the needs of other people, altruism, warmth, and cooperativeness. Come on folks. We all know both of those are really rich aspects of all of our beings. And there are countless women with predominantly instrumental natures and countless men with predominantly expressive natures. And there's someone for everyone, folks.
    I promise you that whatever your self expression is in this arena, there are people who are looking for somebody just like you.
    And it's just really true that healthy, wonderful people of all genders are attracted to all of those types. There really is someone for everyone. And the bottom line is that if we're not us, who the hell are we going to be? So, keeping all this in mind, let's re-imagine Susan's state with Jim in two different scenarios. Okay?

    Go for authenticity even when it's scary

    So scenario one, Susan decides that she's going to let herself share all of her excitement with Jim. She's just going to be her. This is who I am and it's who I want to be and I'm really proud. And if that makes him uncomfortable, then I am dating the wrong guy. So she does this, she's herself and Jim is kind of awkward. You know, he congratulates her. And she could tell though he feels intimidated or maybe not even interested. And she leaves the date feeling kind of disappointed, but clear on who she is and what she's looking for. So, scenario two. Susan decides once again that she's going to be her full self and she's going to let herself share all her excitement with Jim. And he is thrilled. He's thrilled for her. He's really proud of her. He is thrilled and she could tell that he really likes her for the story that she told. And they celebrate together even kind of loudly sometimes. And she feels seen and appreciated while in her power, and they both feel closer. And best of all, she feels like Jim gets her. Susan, in scenario one and two, has learned one of the greatest lessons of modern dating and healthy love.
    When you're faced with a choice between gender conformity and authentic expression, try to go for authenticity even when it's scary.

    We're In Such A Weird Place Culturally

    Gender Roles and Gender Stereotypes
    Now, we're in such a weird place culturally because the toothpaste is partly out of the tube and it can't go back in, but it's not all the way out and we're all kind of confused. Women who are very empowered say and feel, "You know, I like it when a guy offers to pay for the first meal. And I think that's a really nice thing." So, you know, we have to honor where we are in the process and be authentic even in those ways too. The thing that breaks my heart, and I've seen it again and again, is when women feel like if they're really themselves, they're going to scare men away. And I remember a man saying to me once, a really wonderful, competent, attractive person who was in one of my groups, who said, "You know Ken, I know I'm an Alpha Guy and I'll always be last in line, middle inline, never first in line." And I looked at him and I knew that he was so wrong, that there were countless women out there who would have been interested in someone just like him. So, when it comes to gender roles, we have been taught terribly, horribly wrong. For example, we're taught that opposites attract and yes they do, but there can be all different kinds of opposites. They don't have to be gender typical opposites.

    There is no one size fits all

    And there can be opposites in different areas. Like someone can be wildly creative and someone else could be very kind of like planted in the ground, and that could turn the hell on about each other. It doesn't have to be gender opposites, stereotypical gender opposites, that attract each other. But similarities also can attract each other. Two predominantly expressive people of any gender can totally fall deeply in love, and so can two predominantly instrumental people. In fact, there's fabulous research showing that spouses with similarity in gender roles are actually more happily married. Why does nobody tells us this? How are we still believing these same crazy myths? So, masculine qualities and feminine qualities exist in every one of us. There is no one size that fits all and we cannot assume that all women are essentially feminine or all men are essentially masculine, or that all men are attracted to women and women to men.
    The choice of personal expression is fluid and it's limitless.
    And the goal is freedom from any kind of hardwired fear of expressing who we really are. And research backs this up. For example, really masculine husbands and really feminine wives actually feel less understanding typically, and less love and less contentment in their marriages. And couples with non traditional gender roles are shown to have more satisfying sex lives. You know, again and again, I have watched clients cross those electrified trip wires of gender taboo and discover that the parts of themselves that they were frightened to embrace actually held a key to their finding happiness in love.

    Take A Drop of Risk

    Take A Drop of Risk
    Photographer: Cristofer Jeschke | Source: Unsplash
    So, now we're going to do what we always do is kind of bring this to you and your journey. And I'm going to ask you some questions here. In your relationships, in your creative pursuits, in your sex life for that matter, have you ever felt timid to express something because it crosses some subtle or not so subtle gender taboo roles, lines? I'm raising my hand. That's for sure. What I suggest is that you take just a drop of risk in breaking or bending those gender rules, and just watch what happens, what power emerges, what depths of self. It's really true folks. Those qualities that we feel timid to reveal because we feel too masculine or feminine, when we don't reveal them, we're on that wobbly ladder, cause we're not us. And when we reveal them, I promise you there are folks who are going to love you for just that. When we reveal them, and we decide we only want people who are going to love us for just that, our worlds change. And when we find those people, that's happiness.

    You will be happy once you meet that person who loves what they see

    So, when you meet that person who loves what they see, when you do that … or let's say you're in a relationship already and you like to stretch a little bit in these areas. And you find that your partner likes it. Oh, you will be so happy. You really will. So thankfully, thankfully, thankfully there are more and more psychotherapists and teachers and experts and coaches who value authenticity over traditional gender roles, and who embrace and welcome the LGBTQA community, and who encourage their clients and patients and readers and students to cross the lines of gender taboo in their own journeys of discovery. We'll be talking about all of this a lot more. And in future episodes I'm going to be talking about how women and men can experience breakthroughs in their intimacy lives by breaking free of outdated gender roles, and what psychotherapists and coaches and dating experts can do to help their clients do that.
    It's a wide, wide world and we're held back around gender taboos in ways that really hold us back in more ways than we even realize.
    There is a liberation when we embody the taboo, expressive and instrumental part of ourselves in our relationship. And here's another thing, it's really sexy to do that. Because it's scary. And a little bit of scary is really sexy in the right kind of context. You will feel a sense of thrill as you do this.

    The missing link toward a level of fullness

    I remember being in a workshop once. And the most macho guys in the workshop, I was not one of them, had to wear dresses. They were told to put on dresses and go out into the street. These were like some really tough guys. And they did it, and they said later that it was one of the absolute most liberating experiences of their lives. I'm not telling you to do that. What I'm saying is those orphaned parts of you that are a little more expressive than you feel comfortable with, and a little more instrumental than you feel comfortable with, are actually the missing link toward a level of fullness and intimacy and eros and joy and meaning that may have previously alluded you. It's a rich world out there. So thank you once again for listening to the deeper dating podcast. I will see you next week. And meanwhile, please leave reviews. Please leave comments. And please feel free to share this podcast episode. Thank you all for being part of my listening community.
  • How Your Deepest Insecurities Reveal Your Greatest Gifts [E013]
    This is the most powerful insight I know: Our deepest insecurities surround our greatest gifts. The very qualities we're most ashamed of are usually the keys to finding real love. These qualities are your Core Gifts. This episode will help you find them.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy
    Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy

    The Insight That Inspired Me Most: Our Deepest Insecurities Surround Our Greatest Gifts

    In my decades of practice as a psychotherapist, this is the insight that has inspired me most: Our deepest insecurities surround our greatest gifts. Those gifts are the greatest, richest key to finding love and helping it grow and thrive. In this podcast, you'll learn how to discover your own core gifts, so stay tuned to Deeper Dating. In my decades of practice as a psychotherapist, this is the insight that has inspired me most:
    Our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts.

    The Key To Finding Love: Your Core Gifts

    Our deepest insecurities is the key to finding real love
    Our deepest insecurities are the key to finding real love. Photographer: Maurice Williams | Source: Unsplash
    I've found that the very qualities we're most ashamed of, the ones we keep trying to reshape or hide, are in fact the key to finding real love. I call them Core Gifts, and I explore them in great detail in my book Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy. It's so easy to get lost in the quest for self-improvement. Every billboard seduces us with the vision of a happier, more successful life. I'm suggesting an opposite road to happiness. If we can name our own awkward, ardent gifts, and extricate them from the shame and wounds that keep them buried, we'll find ourselves on a bullet train to deep, surprising, life-changing intimacy.

    The characteristics I find most inspiring

    Over the years, I realized that the characteristics of my clients which I found most inspiring, most essentially them, were the ones which frequently caused them the most suffering. Some clients would complain of feeling like they were "too much"; too intense, too angry, or too demanding. From my therapist's chair, I would see a passion so powerful that it frightened people away. Other clients said they felt that they felt like they were "not enough"; too weak, too quiet, too ineffective. I would find a quality of humility and grace in them which would not let them assert themselves as others did. Clients would describe lives devastated by codependency, and I would see an immense generosity with no healthy limits. Again and again, where my clients saw their deepest insecurities, I also saw their most defining gifts!

    Understanding Our Deepest Struggles

    Understanding our deepest insecurities is like viewing a tapestry from the back
    Understanding our deepest insecurities is like viewing a tapestry from the back. Photographer: Diego | Source: Unsplash
    Cervantes said that reading a translation is like viewing a tapestry from the back. That's what it's like when we try to understand our deepest struggles without honoring the gifts that fuel them.
    When we understand our lives through the lens of our gifts it's as if we step out from behind the tapestry and really see it for the first time. All of a sudden, things make sense. We see the real picture, the moving, human story of what matters most to us. We begin to understand that our biggest mistakes, our most self-sabotaging behaviors were simply convulsive, unskilled attempts to express the deepest parts of ourselves.

    Susan's Story: Her kindness became a curse

    Susan came to therapy after her boyfriend of two years left her. She had put the whole of her heart and all her energies into her relationship, and when it ended, she felt utterly destroyed. "Why can't I let go and move on like he did, or as my friends tell me I should?" she asked me on her first visit. As she described her relationship history, I saw a consistent quality of kindness in her; a soft-heartedness which people kept taking advantage of. Susan appreciated these qualities in herself, but she also felt like they were a curse. (That very ambivalence is one of the main indicators of a core gift.) I sensed that a key to her healing lay precisely there. Again and again, we worked at helping her reframe her sensitivity not as a weakness, but as a gift that she-as well as her former partners-didn't know how to honor. It sounds simple, but seeing these qualities as a gift was the foundation of new dating life for her. By seeing their worth, she could learn to understand, honor, and even treasure them.

    The Gift Theory

    The Gift Theory
    The Gift Theory | Photographer: Rob Laughter | Source: Unsplash
    When Susan looked at her life through the lens of her gift, she felt triumphant. "I was right all along!" she said. "Those things that bothered me about my boyfriends bothered me for a reason. I wasn't crazy. I just didn't honor my gift and I found men who were all too happy to agree with me." I've named the approach I used with Susan "Gift Theory." The easiest way to explain Gift Theory is by starting with the image of a target. Every ring inward toward the center moves us closer to our most authentic self. In the center of the target, where the bull's-eye is, lie our core gifts.

    Gifts aren't hall-passes to happiness

    Core gifts are not the same as talents or skills. In fact, until we understand them, they often feel like shameful weaknesses, or as parts of ourselves too vulnerable to expose. Yet they are where our soul lives. They are like the bone marrow of our psyche, generating a living stream of impulses toward intimacy and authentic self-expression. But gifts aren't hall-passes to happiness. They get us into trouble again and again. We become most defensive-or most naïve-around them. They challenge us and the people we care about. They ask more of us than we want to give. And we can be devastated when we feel them betrayed or rejected.

    Creating Safer Versions Of Ourselves

    Since the heat of our core is so hard to handle, we protect ourselves by moving further out from the center. Each ring outward represents a more airbrushed version of ourselves. Each makes us feel safer, puts us at less risk of embarrassment, failure, and rejection. Yet, each ring outward also moves us one step further from our soul, our authenticity, and our sense of meaning. As we get further away from our core gifts, we feel more and more isolated. When we get too far, we experience a terrible sense of emptiness. So, most of us set up shop at a point where we are close enough to be warmed by our gifts, but far enough away that we do not get burned by their fire. We create safer versions of ourselves to enable us to get through our lives without having to face the existential risk of our core.

    Discover your own gifts

    The Gift Theory model invites us to discover what our core gifts are (most of us don't really know), to extricate these gifts from the wounds that keep them buried, and to express them with bravery, generosity, and discrimination in our dating life. When we do this, we find healthy love moving closer. If you're looking for love, try to discover your own gifts. They shine in your joys and strengths, but they also live-and hide-right in the heart of your greatest insecurities and heartbreaks. If you learn to lead with them in your dating life, you will find-almost without trying– that you're experiencing mutual attractions with people who love and treasure the very gifts you're discovering.

    An Invitation From Ken

    In future episodes, we'll explore in much greater detail how to discover your own core gifts. In the meantime, I invite you to take two or three minutes to reflect on the following question:
    Are there essential qualities in you which have sometimes felt more like a curse than a gift?
    Perhaps you haven't known how to handle them, or maybe you've had the painful experience of other people misunderstanding or taking advantage of them. Take a minute to begin to put words on these qualities. As you name them, you'll learn to honor them, and you'll come to understand your struggles, your intimacy journey and your life story in a new way.  
  • Life-Changing Wisdom For Everyone Seeking Love [E012]
    NYT bestselling author Katherine Woodward Thomas is one of the greatest teachers I know for helping people finding love. Listen to her speak, and you know you're in the presence of a life-changing wisdom. This interview is a must-listen for everyone who's serious about intimacy, and everyone who really wants healthy, lasting love. Katherine Woodward Thomas, M.A., MFT is the author of the New York Times Bestseller Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After which was nominated for a Books for a Better Life Award, and the national bestseller, Calling in “The One:” 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life. She is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and teacher to thousands from all corners of the world in her virtual and in-person learning communities. Katherine is the originator of the Conscious Uncoupling process made famous by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin as well as creator of the Calling in “The One:” 49 Days to Love online course. To date, Katherine has trained and credentialed hundreds of people as Certified Conscious Uncoupling Coaches and as Certified Calling in “The One” Coaches.

    Episode Table Of Contents

    Resources and links

    Transcript Notes

    Episode Introduction: Life-Changing Wisdom

    Hello everyone and welcome to the deeper dating podcast. I'm so glad to be here with you and very excited about the show today because today I have Katherine Woodward Thomas with us. Katherine is a person whose friendship I treasure and a person whose work I treasure on so many different levels. And Katherine is going to be talking today about the life-changing wisdom gems that inspire her the most, that are the most helpful, and the most important to her out of all of her decades of work in this field, the wisdom gems that touch her the most. But let me start, well, first by a welcoming you, Katherine, thanks so much for being here. Katherine: Thank you Kenneth. It's a pleasure to be one of your first people that you're interviewing on your podcast series. I'm very excited about it. I think it's going to help so many people that'll see right here.

    Meet Our Guest Katherine Woodward Thomas

    Ken: Thank you so much. And it's a joy to have you here. So I want to tell everybody a little bit about Katherine. I want to tell you about what she's done, what she's doing, and then I just want to share a reflection or two of my own about her work and why it's been so important to me to have her on this show. So Katherine Woodward Thomas MAMFT is the author of the New York Times bestseller Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After, which was nominated for a books for Better Life Award and also the national best seller, which is how I discovered her work, Calling In "the One": 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life. She's also a licensed marriage and family therapist and a teacher to thousands from all corners of the world in her virtual and in-person learning communities.

    The Conscious Uncoupling Process

    And Katherine is also the originator of the conscious uncoupling process, which was made famous by many people, but including Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin as well as she's also the creator of the Calling In "the One": 49 Days to Love online course, which I highly recommend and Katherine to date has trained and credentialed hundreds of people as certified conscious uncoupling coaches and as certified calling in the one coaches. What I love most … well there are many things I love about Katherine's work, but I would say that the thing that means the most to me is her unwavering commitment to the discovery of life-changing wisdom and truth. She faces hard, hard truths and consistently faces and reveals her struggles with those truth in her own life and then works so hard to turn those into gems for all of us and does that with an exquisite effectiveness. And that is what we're going to be talking about today.

    Love Out Loud Daily

    Katherine is going to kind of look into her decades of work in the field and her life experience to pick out and articulate the life-changing wisdom gems that have touched her the most and that she has found the most powerful and the most effective for the people that she works with. So sounds like a lot Katherine, but you are more than up to the task and I'm just thrilled to have you here. Katherine: Thank you so much. And I think you were one of the first people to notice that I was sending out these daily love letters to people in the form of the love out loud daily. And we picked up on that right away. That's really what I was wanting to get to people and wanting to support us all because look, anybody who's here is a conscious, caring person. Ken: Yes. Katherine: And we're all on the path together of learning how to love each other. And as the Dalai Lama said, "Kindness is my religion." And I think that's [inaudible 00:04:54] for a lot of us and we live in a really complex world at a very complicated time. So I think we need to hold each other's hands as we're crossing the street.

    Katherine's Life-Changing Wisdom That Stands Out

    Ken: I think that's so true. And that is the antithesis of the cultural unkindness that surrounds the search for love in so many different ways. So I love what you're saying. And I'd just like to launch in and just ask you some questions. First question I'd like to ask you is, as you think back upon all of the teaching that you've done, all the lives, specifically of people who were searching for love, that you've touched with your work, what is one piece of insight, that kind of from this summit place of looking at so much of what you've taught, what is one life-changing wisdom gem that at this moment stands out to you as profoundly important that you would want to impart to this community? Katherine: Well, I think that a lot of us are looking to the past to try and sort through our childhood traumas and the issues that we developed to be [inaudible 00:06:12] that we developed out of what happened to us in the past. Calling in the one begins with the future. And that future is not fixed.
    Many of us kind of go through life like there's a fixed future out there somewhere and we're hoping that it's a good one. And so calling in the one is really about this intention to generate a certain possibility that's present even if that possibility is a narrow possibility. We all know that the past does tend to duplicate itself, which is why we're looking into the past.

    Take a big, bold stand for love

    I want to encourage people, if you're wanting love, to take a big stand, a big bold stand and it's unpredictable from where you're sitting right now, it would be like a miracle happened for you. And you just take that as an intention. You take it out of, "I want this, I'm hoping for this, I'm praying for this." And you put it into that space of deliberate creativity, "This shall be so." And then you start allowing that future to pull you forward. Who would you need to be in order for that future to happen because it will change it. There are going to be things you're going to need to let go of, certain defenses, certain ideas about yourself, certain habits that you have relationally. You're going to have to give up victimization. You're going to have to give up your resentments because then you're still blaming other people and not seeing your part in it. It's really like it's going to call you forward to be the best that you can be because the way for you to have the best possible relationship is by becoming the best possible version of yourself.

    Your past does not determine what's possible for your love

    Ken: That's so powerful what you're saying in a number of ways. And I love the call to bravery, the call to a kind of inner warriorship, of getting past those inner glass ceilings that say, "I can't ask for that." Or, "I can't imagine that." And say, "Yeah, I am going to envision a truly beautiful love and I'm not going to start with where I am looking at all the barriers that I have up ahead. I'm going to start with where I want to be and call to myself from that place." That's just a very beautiful regiment. Katherine: We want to look at the past, not to kind of ruminate on the past. I mean I know a lot of us who've been in therapy for a long time and because we're not newbies to personal development, but what you're doing is you're looking at the past only to see the consciousness that you created in response to what your environment was and what happened to you and the choices that you're making now that are perpetuating that particular story. So we're looking in the past to see the inconsistencies with the future. So a very simple soundbite way to say this is your past does not determine what's possible for your love. The future that you're standing to create will determine what's possible.

    Finding Our Way To The Future

    Find your way to the future with life-changing wisdom
    Find your way to the future with life-changing wisdom
    And then we have to find our way to that future. And we do that by asking ourselves, "Who would I need to be in order for that future to come to me? What would I need to let go of and what would I need to begin to cultivate and embrace? What are my missing skills and capacities that I didn't get in my childhood that I can now learn that will equip me to create happiness and health over a long period of time within a [inaudible 00:09:55]?" Ken: Okay. We need to stop there for a moment because there was such richness in what you just said that I'd like to go over that so that people can really kind of work it, really work with that. I'd like listeners to be able to work with that. That question that is almost like the paramount life-changing wisdom question in the search for love, which is who would I have to be in the world with myself to be able to attract that kind of love? So I'd like everybody to take a minute and sit with the profundity and the promise of that question.

    What do you need to let go of?

    If we did nothing more in the rest of the podcast. That was so empowering, and beautiful, and promising, and challenging as well. So I love that. But we are going to do more. And I want to go with one other part of the questions that you asked, which is what would I need to let go of? Such a rich question. Do you have anything that you want to say about that question to just kind of prepare people to think about that in a moment? Katherine: So I liken it to if you wanted to up level your home, you wanted to up level the beauty of your home, which I'm likening to, we want to up level our relational field and include beauty, and sweetness, and happiness. So if you were going to do it in your home, you wouldn't just start bringing new furniture into the home you have. You first have to clean up the clutter.

    "Destruction before creation."

    You have to make space in your home for something new. Joseph Campbell once said, "Destruction before creation."
    And what he was talking about was that we have to let go of the structures as the structures exist, the habits as the habits exist in our lives. And a lot of us have relationships that are out of integrity. A lot of us are out of integrity in our relationship with ourselves. A lot of us are walking around blaming other people, angry at other people for what we ourselves have not really taken responsibility for yet. A lot of us are not living our best lives. We're kind of settling or we're compromised in our own lives. That's not the space from which to call in the highest and the best love that life has to offer you.

    What do you need to give up?

    Determine what you need to give up with a life-changing wisdom
    Determine what you need to give up with a life-changing wisdom
    So there's some house cleaning. And in order to break lifelong patterns … and a lot of us have struggled with patterns of aloneness, or patterns of abuse, patterns of being with narcissistic people, whatever the particular pattern is, unavailable people and whatever that is, we each have our own flavor variation on that theme. We can't just automatically have a new pattern. You actually have to begin to see yourself as the source of that pattern, how that pattern's been happening through you, and begin to up level how you show up in life in a way that's actually consistent with generating and sustaining a deeply happy, healthy relationship. So there really are two parts to this question. There's like, "What would I need to give up?" Well, the clutter that I have around me, all of the dysfunction, all of the ways I'm giving away my power, all of the ways that I'm dimming down and compromising. I might need to start to give those up and actually clean them out. And then this other piece, "What would I need to now embrace and cultivate?" I can't tell you how often I hear things like, "I just don't know how to set boundaries." Or, "I can't speak up for myself." Or just kind of this victimized relationship with our own psychology. So something got arrested, you didn't learn something, you didn't see it modeled or it wasn't safe in your home, but we're grown now and we're not responsible for what happened to us when we were children. But we are responsible for how we're showing up today and what we're creating today.

    Why we're repeating the patterns

    And there are so many resources to learn the skills that we didn't get in childhood. A lot of us have this idea that we keep repeating all patterns because we're quite trying to "heal". I think that's telling a very small part of this story. I think we're repeating all patterns because we don't know how to do it differently. You don't know how to engage conflict. You're probably always going to wind up in codependent people pleasing situations that end up blowing up. That's a predictable thing. If you're missing the skill of how to have a difficult conversation with someone, what you might predictably do instead is withdraw when you're upset, cut them out of your heart, dismiss them, not engage it, and then you're alone in life. These are very predictable. So if you track that back, you see, "Oh, in that moment where I'm upset with someone, rather than withdraw and do what I want to be done, I have to pick up the phone. I have to learn how to actually share my feelings and share my concerns in a way that would allow repair to happen in that relationship."

    The Final Curve

    Ken: Yes, I love the dance between manifesting, visualization, picturing the dream, picturing the outcome, and then doing the work, and that back and forth process. And just in appreciation of what you said, I really want to take a stand for depathologizing pathology, depathologizing fear of intimacy because if you're breathing, you've got fear of intimacy. Nobody doesn't have this work to do, the work that Katherine is describing. That's our hero's journey, is to admit that we do have that work. There's a wonderful poem by Langston Hughes that I really love, which is when you turn the corner and you run into yourself, then you know you have turned all the corners that are left. And this is a beauty of this work that Katherine teaches is that we do the work. And I just also want to say that in my experience, it's when we tackle these hard realizations and decide to make changes that our worlds open up in the most dramatic ways. There is a payback for the heroism of facing these things. So I just really want to honor both pieces of what you've just talked about Katherine.

    A Profound Level Of Self Responsibility

    Katherine: Thank you. It's a journey and it's an orientation to life because I think, Ken, that most of us are oriented to think inside of victimization. So I'm talking about a real profound level of self responsibility. That poem is beautiful. And I think the Buddhist said it too,
    "There is no one out there who really looked at life from that perspective."
    A lot of his theory stuck, even those of us who were conscious of working on ourselves, we're kind of stuck on ways that other people mistreated us in the past, or we're stuck on how the culture, or our reaction to what you called the unkind dating culture. How people show up their or interaction to what happened to us as children. We feel victimized by the psychological development that was arrested, what we didn't get, what we don't know how to do. Now all of these things are understandable. I don't have a problem with why we go into victimization. I think people do behave badly. I think the dating culture is objectifying people. It can be a very unkind place to be. However, when we're focused here, we're not looking at our current in the subtle ways that we've given our power away, turned away from truth, turned away from our own knowing. Ken: Beautiful words.

    Take responsibility of your choices

    Katherine: We're trying to get people to give us something that we were unwilling to give ourselves. All of the subtle ways that we kind of throw ourselves under the bus. We want to take responsibility for the choices that we're making and the actions that we're taking and face them so that we can truly change because that's the only place where change is going to reside. So I always say even if it was 97% the other person's fault, look at your 3% because that's where your growth journey is. That's where the breakthrough is going to happen is in your 3% because once you [crosstalk 00:19:16]- Ken: I love that. Katherine: … yet, then you can make a different choice. But we have to make these things conscious. Ken: I think that's so true. Katherine: [crosstalk 00:19:23] conscious, they're running our lives.

    The Conscious Uncoupling Book

    The Conscious Uncoupling Book
    The Conscious Uncoupling Book
    Ken: Yes, yes. And you really teach that in your Conscious Uncoupling book in very powerful ways. I just want to say to the listeners, as you hear points that touch you, as you hear points that just feel kind of redolent with life-changing wisdom, I just want you to allow yourself to let them ripple through you. They're going to be moments … excuse me … in this conversation where ideas and insights touch you. Allow yourself the luxurious feeling of letting them ripple through you because when they do, they will begin to kind of download and shift your circuitry. And I imagine there are going to be many moments like this listening to Katherine speak.

    Life-Changing Wisdom That Touched Katherine Most Deeply

    Katherine, I have another question for you now. It's another wisdom gem angle that I'd like to take. In your own personal intimacy journey, I'd like you, if you could, it's a vulnerable question, what I'd like to ask you to share, one life-changing wisdom gem that possibly has touched you the most deeply in your life and your journey, means the most to you in your ongoing journey. Katherine: Well, I find that there's so much that's coming out about attachment theory. And one the things that I've been working with is the core sense of self that happens inside of ruptures and attachment, particularly when you were young. But what I have discovered is that once you identify the core breakdown and begin to make different choices, you see yourself responsible for things, you start to make different choices, everything changes. Ken: How so? Katherine: Well, I guess, you're asking me something I don't think most people would ask me. So it's not like I have a retort for this question. Ken: Well, good.

    Relationships matter

    Katherine: So, I mean, the thing that I can point to just recently because I'm a stand for happy, healthy love across the board. So I'm always working on all of my relationships to have great relationships. Relationships matter a great deal to me. So I work on my relationship with my daughter and with members of my family. When I was young, my mother had me when she was a teenager and she was really ill-equipped to be a mother and she was quite a terrible mother, actually. I mean she [inaudible 00:22:04] admit it now. We talk about it, we're fine now, but she was a very rejecting mother, she was a depressed mother, an overwhelmed mother. She did not want to have a child. It ruined her life. All of that was going on. So here I am [inaudible 00:22:23] and all I know is that I'm just alone because there's nobody holding me.

    The Insecure Attachment Patterns

    So that's a rupture of attachment. That created what we call insecure attachment patterns for me that then followed me throughout adulthood, like confusion with things like object constancy, the ability to hold someone in my heart even when you're not there, which of course created a tendency toward we activity. These are all the things that were underneath my painful patterns in love from that core place within myself. So my mother tends to still be a little bit avoidant of closeness. Now I don't take it personally. I understand my mother and I love my mother. And I have a teenage daughter. So I told her last year that I wanted to come down to Florida to just visit with her. Now I hadn't visited just alone with my mother in decades. [inaudible 00:23:28] I bring my kid. So it's just not something I do. Her first response was, "Well, don't travel all that way just to see me." Because that's her. And I said, "No, no, no. I'm going to come just to see you. This the only reason I'm coming. It's just to see you." And we ended up having a really delightful time and it was very healing. There was a lot of repair then happened. We touched a little bit upon the past. She doesn't like to talk about it too much, but those conversations were productive. I went in the spirit of forgiveness. I went with [inaudible 00:24:04] being close to her. So it's really a lovely trip.

    Entering into the rupture and building the bridge

    Interestingly enough, when I got home, I'd been having struggles with my teenage daughter that anyone who has a teenager understands and I know you understand. They get distant and we start getting a closed door. I came home and without making any particular effort with my daughter, we suddenly just got closer. We were just more bonded. So I could say, "Oh, my teenager's a teenager. She's got her door closed. It's her." This is what I mean by orientation is it's other people. But see, I shifted something in my relationship with my mother. I deepened into my forgiveness and my compassion and I made the effort to be close to her in spite of her defensiveness and it shifted my relationship with my daughter. How did that happen? Ken: Isn't that fascinating? Yeah. Yeah. Entering into the rupture, and the heart of the rupture, and the heart inside the rupture is such a brave and healing journey. And I love the way that you are speaking about those core, core ruptures of trust and also actions and jumping back and forth, the actions that heal that, not just staying in that ancient rupture forever and exploring it and exploring it, but finding the tools to build a bridge out of it. So I just acknowledge both of those pieces of what you're saying and also the bravery of the journey that you propose to your audience, which is that they do this too.

    The commitment to have great relationships

    Katherine: Well, and let me just point it out, it's what I was saying at the beginning of the conversation because I have a commitment to have great relationships across the board. And so that is the future that's calling me. So I not only have a psychological understanding of what happened between my mother and I, and I not only have a psychological understanding of her wounds with her mother, and have labels for who she is, that she's lovable and that she's tendency towards being self absorbed and a little narcissistic. We know all these labels, but when you're standing for a particular future, you're accountable for showing up in ways that are generative of that future. So I picked up the phone and I said … how it got started is that I told her I was taking my daughter somewhere and she said, "Oh, I wish we could go on a journey like that too." Right? So she actually planted the seed and she said it another time, a couple of months later about something else. So I said, "Okay, that's the invitation." So I called her, "I'm coming. I'm setting this week aside. I'm going to come just to be with you to be closer to you." Ken: You heard her, you heard that call.

    Have an empowered relationship with everyone in your life

    Katherine: [crosstalk 00:27:13] future. And I'm just saying, it completely transformed my relationship with my daughter outside of any conversation that I had with my daughter, outside of any intentional effort because everything's connected to everything. And if I'm disconnected from my mother, there's a rupture in our attachment, it's going to show up in my relationship with my kid. This is why one of the principles of Calling In "the one" in the second week, we have like you need to get into an empowered relationship with everyone in your life. If you want to call in an empowered partnership. If you're in a toxic dynamic with your bossy, narcissistic sister, if you're people pleasing your mother all the time and you're afraid to set any boundaries, if you're in this relationship with a boss where you feel exploited because you're working every night and every weekend for no extra money, that's going to be a problem. When you then go to call in happy, healthy love, you can't see them as separate. They're not separate.

    We have all dated that guy

    Ken: It's so true. It's so true. And then in the dating arena with these people that you might have had one date with, or one conversation, or one text, or two dates, these same lessons really, really apply. I'm remembering a story of somebody I was dating and he frustrated me a lot for kind of very similar qualities that you're describing about your mom. He didn't listen, he wasn't that interested, he liked talking about himself. And I remember thinking, "Well, I just have to- Katherine: We have all dated that guy. Ken: It's only one guy. It's only one guy with a lot of costumes. Yes. But I remember speaking to my closest friend at the time and and saying, "It's probably the why's and sane thing to do to just end this." And he said, "Why don't you try something else?" He said, "Because I think this guy really wants to be a good guy." And he said, "Why don't you create an ask where you really ask just for what you want and see what happens." And I did. It was a little … it was scary and embarrassing.

    There are so many options for the same kind of learning

    "I want you to be able to listen to me more when I'm saying something. I want to feel like you really heard me and you have questions about it." And I did that. And he said, "Oh yeah, you're right. I need to do that more." And he couldn't, of course. And I ended up having to end the relationship, which was fine, but to turn my hurt and anger into an ask was one of the most empowering lessons. And so in our dating life, the same kind of thing applies just what you described, Katherine. Right? There's so many options for the same kind of learnings. And I'm wondering if there's anything you want to share about that, like in the dating world, how these things apply as well. Katherine: Well, I love that, hearing you comparing that to an ask. That's wonderful. I think it's about not giving our power away. Gosh, there's a beautiful Hafez quote. I have to kind of search for it for a little bit, but I have it up here just for this, just on my desktop, just in case I want to open it. Okay. So this is Hafez. I should know when Hafez lived, but Sufi poet,
    "Your love should never be offered to the mouth of a stranger. Only to someone who has the valor and daring to cut pieces of their soul off with a knife and then weave them into a blanket to [inaudible 00:31:07]."

    We're giving too much away

    So I share that because too many of us give too much away. Like somehow our gifts we have to over give to prove our value and that's loss of power. And then we leave little pieces of ourselves out there and then we get mad at other people for it. So for example, if you're on a dating site and you're aware that there's like a certain meat market aspect to the dating site, you don't pour your soul into what you're saying to someone on first communication because you don't know who that person is, you don't know what they're up to, you don't know what they're available for, you don't know that person. So sometimes we go into fantasy and then we started over giving. So for us it's about holding our power and waiting until someone has shown something about themselves or kind of emptied up before we give too much of ourselves away.

    Dating Is A Challenge Today

    I think a lot of our resentment is because we're just giving our power away to people and then we feel disempowered and we resent them for it. So I think dating is a challenge today, but I think it's a wonderful thing to do if you're not giving too much of yourself away, you're just enjoying people's company and getting to know them and you're not taking things personally. You're seeing everything is information about the other person, and what they're capable of, and where their consciousness is, and what their commitments are. You're getting to know someone.

    Dignifying yourself along with the innate spirit of generosity

    Ken: Yes, yes. And how do you hold that kind of dignifying of self along with an innate spirit of generosity? Part of this is that so many people have a kind of innate spirit of generosity, but it's hard to sync that up with the dignifying of self that you're describing. Do you have any thoughts or reflections on that? Katherine: I think generosity is tricky because we all want to be generous people. And those of us who have patterns of codependency, we'll often source our value in giving to other people. So you have to do a bit of work to understand what's motivating your generosity. If it's true generosity and it's not reciprocated or received well, then you are not diminished by that because you understand that that's about that person and you're no longer interested in that person. But that's the information you needed about them. Ken: That's exquisite. Yeah. Yeah.

    The loss of power in giving

    Katherine: But if you have given to somebody and then you feel that somehow you are diminished in that exchange, my guess is there's some way that you were giving to try and get something. You wanted them to like you, you wanted them to choose you, you were kind of auditioning for the role of girlfriend, or husband, or wife. There's a loss of power in giving and it has to do with the motivation. And this is where self awareness is so important for us. Ken: Wonderful. So that's a reflection point. Am I expressing this generosity because there's something I want or am I expressing it with full consciousness that it's my generosity and I'm choosing to give it out. And just the subtle, but very powerful difference between those two, that's a wonderful, wonderful tip. Katherine: And also I'm choosing to give it to see, to learn more about this person. Do they reciprocate it and do they [inaudible 00:34:54] and then expect more? Who is this person?

    Does your soul feel safe with this person?

    Ken: That's right. That's right and to me that is the question that I ask people to ask as the primary question. Does my soul feel safe with this person? And of course we might not know that right away. But that's the question or a question. Katherine: It is a question. I think it's actually the number one question- Katherine: … what we've been talking about is someone with good character. [inaudible 00:35:21] good character is the number one thing on someone's list of what they want. Ken: You know what? That's right. Katherine: We know we want someone who is good looking, and sexy, and fit, and has money, and is funny, and really super smart. And we have all these lists and we don't even think, "oh, how about they're trustworthy, they're honest, they're in integrity, they know how to apologize when they're wrong and make amends." Ken: Because if you don't have that character, if you don't have that, nothing is going to work. So I want to highlight and honor this life-changing wisdom gem as a really big deal. It's the foundation of that.

    The Most Important Thing

    Katherine: It's the most important thing. So whenever you're dating, you're assessing character and people will not accurately self report. [crosstalk 00:36:23] tells you a narcissist looking for a codependent. They don't write that in their profile. Narcissist seeking beautiful co narcissist to admire me and give me all of your pearls for very little in return. Nobody writes that profile. Ken: No, you got to assess that one out. Katherine: So I think it's important for us to focus on character. [crosstalk 00:36:57] it matters. So we're looking at someone consistent. Do they do what they say they're going to do? Are they responsible for themselves? Are they blaming everybody else for why relationships haven't worked or are they coming up with some humble self reflections on what they needed to learn?

    The integrity of the message

    Ken: Beautiful. And Katherine, what I notice about this is that those questions that you're asking people to ask about the people they date are precisely the questions you ask them to ask themselves about themselves. Those were all the questions you asked in the beginning of this podcast for us to examine within ourselves. So I just want to acknowledge the integrity of that message. Katherine: Thank you. Well that's what's going to create good relationships everywhere. Back to the toxic dynamic, I love what you did with that guy you were dating. I think there's a kind of blanket assumption that we should just get rid of all the toxic people. But the problem with doing that is that then you're not owning how you were a co toxic person. You're a part in that. The ways that you kind of were people pleasing, you were not playing the truth, or were not setting boundaries and then you're likely to just great another dynamic like that elsewhere. So it's very, very important when you have someone you have this kind of unhealthy dynamic with, to have the courage to do one of two things.

    Tell the Truth and Set a Boundary

    One is to tell the truth and the other is to set a boundary. So in a way, you told the truth, you had the courage to tell the truth. "This is what I desire from you. This is what I need from you." And then my guess is, when he didn't do it, you might have pointed it out and eventually you just decided that that was done, but you graduated from that. Ken: I graduated. Katherine: How nice is it? Ken: Yes. That's right. And the way that I know that I graduated was that my heart swelled and I felt my humanity. I felt generous. I felt stingy when I wanted his attention. When I asked for what I wanted, I felt generous. So yeah, that kind of point, do you feel like a victim or is there some love lesson that you're really embracing? So thank you for pointing that out. That's so true. Katherine, you have given us riches. You have given us gems and your work is to be plumbed, and to be explored, and to be followed. And there are so many ways that people can do that. The last question I'm going to ask you is going to be for one last piece of life-changing wisdom for the community of listeners. But before I do that, I'd love it if you could tell people how they can learn more about your work, how they can follow your work, how they can become students of your work, and become part of your learning community.

    Gift from Katherine: 375 Minute Seminar

    Calling In The One Free Starter Kit
    Claim your free Calling in "The One" Starter Kit and begin creating the miracle of happy, healthy love in your life today.
    Katherine: Thank you. Yeah. And there's actually two things I want to give. I think it's because I'm not sure what … there's two offerings that I want to make and you can take both if you like. One is at callingintheone.com. I have a 375 minute seminar that takes people through this process and helps people to identify the specific ways they've been getting in their own way. We have different offerings. I can't remember exactly what's not there, but I call it, calling in the one starter kit.

    Gift from Katherine: Love Out Loud Daily

    The other thing, because we're talking about life-changing wisdom today is at katherinewoodwardthomas.com. People can sign up for the love out loud daily, which I write five days a week. And it's just a journey of continuing to grow our capacity to love and be loved, simple truths for having extraordinary relationships. And I sent them out. I started them about a year ago because I realized that with everything that we're going through in the world and how difficult life is for so many of us right now, that I needed to just be giving a lot more way. So that was my integrity as a teacher. So they're not trying to get anybody to enroll into anything, they really are like,
    "We're all in this together. We're all growing our capacity to love and be loved."
    And it's my thoughts along those lines. Ken: It sure is. And I got to say something about this. I want to encourage every listener to sign up for these. They're amazing. I look at them and I think, "Every day? How do these things come out of Katherine every day?" Because she writes with an exquisite hand and with a deep commitment to truth and life-changing wisdom. So we really are talking gems and they come out every day. I just think no student of intimacy should miss these.

    Devote yourself to a certain discipline

    Katherine: Thank you so much. And at this point, you know because you're a creative person. I know a lot of listeners know this too. That when you devote yourself to a certain discipline, you start getting into almost the vortex of that particular discipline and then it starts coming through you. I was just like [inaudible 00:42:16] about art. So really, literally, no matter what state I'm in and, "Oh, I have to write the [inaudible 00:42:22] all daily's now when I'm distracted or whatever." And I sit down to write it and within 30 seconds, it's just pouring out of me. So I'm grateful that that's happening. I think there is a commitment that I have and many of us share, to living truth, to living wisdom, and in response to the escalating tensions in our world to up level our commitment to learn to love. Have a wonderful [crosstalk 00:42:53]. Ken: Beautiful. Yes. Katherine: Thank you.

    Cultivate and guard a sense of possibility

    Ken: Thank you. Thank you Katherine. I encourage everyone to take advantage of these beautiful resources. I'm so excited to have gotten to have you share these insights and these tools, these life-changing wisdom tools, these dating tools with our community. And are there any last words that you would want to impart to this audience before we close? Katherine: I just want to encourage people to really cultivate and guard a sense of possibility in what it is that they're committed to creating and to even take all of the disappointments as learning opportunities to get you closer to what it is that you're committed to creating and stay close. Stay close. Ken: Beautiful. Katherine, thank you so much. Ken: Thank you all for being here for the deeper dating podcast.

    Resources and Links Mentioned

  • Q & A with Ken: Expert advice for all your questions about love, dating and sex [E011]
    What to do when you're frustrated in your search for love; when you fear you're losing hope, when nothing seems to be working well enough, or when you just feel stuck in your intimacy journey? And how do you show your authentic self in a dating profile? How do you search for the qualities that matter the most when you're searching people's profiles online? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating podcast as I answer these questions and more in our monthly Q & A with Ken episode.

    Episode Table Of Contents

    Introducing our Q & A with Ken Sessions

    Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I'm Ken Page, and every week, I'm going to be giving you access to the greatest insights, the most powerful practices, and the most essential findings I know, for everyone who wants to find love and keep it flourishing, and heal their lives in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. You can see the transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com/e11. And if you go there, you'll also get to hear about my courses and classes and intensives. And by the way, if you like what you're learning here, it would be a tremendous gift if you subscribed on iTunes and left me a review, so thanks so much for that. I also want to say, last piece of housekeeping before we begin, that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It's to support you in your intimacy journey, and it's not medical or psychiatric advice, or treatment for any emotional, physical, or psychological condition. Everything I say is just a perspective for you to consider, and if you're experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help. If it feels like a true emergency, please get emergency help right away. Your life is too precious to put at risk.

    Q & A With Ken: How To Deal With Longing For A Relationship

    Q & A With Ken: How to Deal with Longing for a Relationship
    Q & A With Ken: How to Deal with Longing for a Relationship
    Okay, we're going to begin now with the first question, and this is from Katja in Slovenia. It's a huge question. It has universal impact, and I'm going to answer her question, but guide every one of you through a process that's going to bring you out the other side with, I think, a deeper and richer sense of your own journey. Katja: Dear Ken, my name is Katja, and I come from Slovenia. I did contact you twice. And once we had … also one short conversation with Skype, because I really wanted to invite you here to Slovenia, and I still have this wish. But now I just have this question for me. I'm 40 years old, I will be this year. And I'm also Family and Marriage Therapist. And I'm chronically single, like you wrote in your book. I'm reading it all the time, and I'm really thankful and grateful that I found you. And my longest relationship lasted for two years, and ended when I was 21. And then, for 16 years, I've been single. And now I have this emotionally, really strong relationship, which ended one year and a half back. And it was really strong, and we stayed friends, with this man.
    But sometimes it's just really hard for me to deal with this longing for a relationship.

    I'm slowly losing hope

    And since, in last three or four years, I did a lot of dating, a lot of things have changed. I'm not ashamed to be single anymore. I don't have problems to go on a date. I feel comfortable, I feel relaxed when I go, when I meet other men. But it's just … I'm slowly losing hope, because it just doesn't happen.
    And every time that I meet a man that I like … and that's really rare … it just always started to complicate something. So I don't know why, and I'm also asking myself what I'm doing wrong.
    Otherwise, my life is okay now. I have strong social networks, I don't have problem to organize my free time. But, my question would be, just how to deal with this longing for a relationship. Because I just finally wish to plan my life with someone. I never lived with someone until now. And, I just miss this feeling of two, and of course I also miss that, I miss kiss, I miss sex. And, all of these things that come with a relationship. I just feel that I'm slowly losing hope. And, what could you say, or what would you say to me, how to deal with this wish, and with this longing that, it just doesn't happen. How to stay in touch with this hope, that also for me, it is possible to happen one day. Thank you very much.

    Finding the Light in the Middle of the Tunnel

    Q & A With Ken: Finding the light in the middle of the tunnel
    Q & A With Ken: Finding the light in the middle of the tunnel
    Ken: So Katja, thank you so much for your lovely words and for your wonderful, important question that I think a lot of people relate to. I talk about this in my book, Deeper Dating, and it's the task of finding the light in the middle of the tunnel. Not at the beginning, where you see the light behind you, where you're coming from, or at the end, when you see the light ahead of you, but that middle phase of dating where you're learning and you're growing, but love just does not feel like it's in sight. I'm going to be answering your question, Katja, but I'm also going to be doing it in such a way that everyone can follow along with the questions that I ask, and take a little journey of your own to see where you're at and what your next steps are. Katia, you've spoken about how to keep hope alive, how to get through the stuck point, and how to get a sense of your next steps that really make sense to you, that sit right, and have wisdom and strength and solidity. That's what we're going to be looking at.

    Where do you need to start?

    I think the place to start in situation like this is always with looking at how far you've come and where you've come from. Not only will that help you bypass a sense of hopelessness and a self criticism, but it'll give you a picture of the tremendous journey that you've been on to get to the point where you are right now. And when you see that and feel that and hold that in your hands, you will have a beginning incipient picture of the next steps for you. Let's just look at this. Katja, for the first time in 16 years, you've had a relationship. You've done all this work on yourself. You are not ashamed to be single. You actually can get out there and date, and feel comfortable and relaxed. And another thing that I would call a gift is that your longing has come alive.

    Your longing has come alive

    That longing, to some degree, has been in hibernation, but longing for love is rocket fuel to get you out of your old patterns that might be holding you back, your timidity, self sabotage, isolation, anything that might still be going on to hold you back. That longing is the rocket fuel that's going to bring you out of that orbit. It's the awakening of your Eros. It might be hard to manage. It might be bitter. It might hurt, but it can save your life, because you've hit bottom with being romantically alone. I'd like everybody to do that same step now. Just ask yourself a few questions. Have you been on a journey to deepen your own self esteem? Have you grown in your ability to accept yourself? Have you grown in your ability not to tolerate bad behavior from other people? Have you grown emotionally, spiritually, in terms of your own capacity to communicate? Have you grown in any of these ways? If so, take that in. Really acknowledge that. Think about your journey, where you came from, what you've learned, and how you've grown. Just take a minute to do that.

    You're moving closer to love

    And if you feel that you're progressing, then that's real. That's wonderful, and it means that you're moving closer to love, because this is most essentially a journey of growth. When you grow, you change the field so that different things come in, different people come in. You notice and appreciate them differently. You make better choices. It's a journey that gets wider and deeper all the time, and so that's the first step, to acknowledge your journey of growth. I want to say something about how the field actually changes. This is something that, in my years of practice as a psychotherapist and a workshop leader and intensive leader, that I've seen again and again. When we take these steps to learn to love ourselves, and honor ourselves, and have compassion for ourselves, and make wiser choices in terms of the people that we're with, and we allow ourselves to show more vulnerability, we care more about love and intimacy, when those things happen, the field changes.

    The field is changing

    Somehow, we begin to meet different kind of people. Our attractions actually begin to change. Our opportunities change, and I think if we don't know that, it's hard to take advantage of that fully. This is something I tell my clients all the time as they're growing. I say, "The field is changing. Get out there, because different things will begin to happen, and you're going to handle things in different ways." It's a huge and precious thing when your field is changing, and Katja, that's happening for you. And I imagine that it's happening for many listeners. If that is true, that's a really great thing.

    What Are Your Next Steps?

    Next, Katja, you talked about, "What can I do? What are my next steps?" I want to share a few thoughts with all of you for what your next steps are, especially if you're in this middle stage of the middle of the tunnel, where you're growing but you haven't seen the fruits of your efforts as much as you wish you would, just in terms of meeting somebody wonderful and being with them. Okay, here's one thing. This is strong medicine, but it's beautiful medicine and it works. Think of a couple friends who really love you and really know you, and who have your best interest at heart. Ask them, especially ones who really know the details about your life and your dating life and your relationship life, and ask them what they see. Is there something they see that they wish you would do differently? Is there a pattern that they still see you stuck in? Is there an activity or something that they would like to see you do to help you along your way? And what they say, take it seriously.

    Think about your next brave steps

    Q & A With Ken: Your Next Brave Steps
    Q & A With Ken: Your Next Brave Steps
    Think about the same thing for yourself. What do you think your next brave steps are? Maybe they're scary. Maybe you'd rather not take them, but admit to yourself. Take a minute now, everybody, to think about that. "What are my next brave steps? What have my friends been hinting that I should do differently?" And if they haven't, you might want to ask them.

    The Inner Mentor Process

    And now, finally, I'm going to teach you a process that is … I talk about this in episode three. It's the inner mentor process. It is quite simply the most fabulous process that I know for creating growth, for getting through difficult crossroads, for making wiser choices, and for learning to love yourself. I adore this process, and I'm going to lead everybody in a really quick version of it right now. Take a minute, get comfortable, and take a breath. Exhale and let it go, and I'd like you to remember a time that you felt really comfortable in your own skin, really comfortable and good and happy in your own skin. Just remember what that felt like. Just gently, you don't have to get the memory exactly. Just get that feeling. And remember a time when your heart was just filled with love, for anyone, for a pet, a spiritual love, a grandparent, a partner, anyone.

    Remember what it's like to have love flowing through your heart

    And remember what that's like, to have love flowing through your heart like that. How good that feels, but also how you that feels. Remember that you. And now think about someone who has really, really loved you in your life. Just picture that person, and I would like you to picture someone who, it still leaves a good taste in your mouth. It's not someone who's loved you and really let you down. It's someone who, when you think of them, it's a good, warm feeling. Think of that person who has really loved you, and how that made you feel, and what that was like. And just take all these feelings and imagine a you who lives from this place. You don't have to earn this person or try to get there. Just fantasize. Just imagine who lives from this place of comfort in yourself, of loving and of feeling loved, the freedom of that place, the warmth of that place, the flow of that place.

    Imagine you

    And just imagine this you, who's on the other side of all of your inner glass ceilings that hold you back. It's like a more evolved, older brother or sister person version of yourself. Just picture that you, that gorgeously evolved you, that you're meant to be. Picture her, picture him, picture them. And imagine what it would be like now just to jump in to their body, jump in to this you that you're meant to be, this flowing, loving you. It's a fantasy. Just imagine you're there. Just imagine you're there, that you're inside these wonderful feelings, inside this you that is just such a fabulous you, full of compassion, full of insight, full of love, full of flow, free. Imagine what that would be like, and just become that person in fantasy. And from this fabulous space of being your more evolved self, this you you're meant to be, imagine looking at the you of today, right here, right now, with all of your challenges, your struggles, everything.

    What do you most want to impart?

    To the you of today, what do you most want to impart? You are this wise self. You're in her, you're in him now. Look at the you of today from this place. What do you most want to impart to the you of right now? Good, good. And now imagine joining together somehow with this inner mentor, this more essentially you person, and how good that feels, because that person's you anyway. And just think of that message. Imagine if, just today, you could love that message. Not even do it perfectly, but just love it and hold on to it. Now, if you do that exercise with your dating life, if you do that exercise actually even every day, your life will change. Your path will speed. It will speed and ease your path to love and a richer, happier life, and it will dramatically reduce your tendency to self-criticize. It's an amazing process. There's a lot of fascinating research that backs up why it works and how it works and that it does work. But it's yours, and I'd like to encourage all of you to use it.

    Address the primary issue

    One last thought here: If anyone who's listening to this podcast is thinking about your next steps, but has a substance abuse issue or has a serious psychiatric condition that is not stabilized or treated, has any significant, real addiction or compulsion, address that first. Because nothing will stick and nothing will hold well enough until you address that primary issue. That's just something I want to say to everybody. Okay. The next question is from Catherine.

    Q & A With Ken: How To Attract A Man Of Inspiration

    Catherine: Hi Ken. This is Catherine with a question about online dating. I agree with your thoughts about attraction of inspiration. Character is important to me. If I want to attract a man of inspiration, what would his dating profile look like? Also, in my own profile, how do I advertise kindness, bravery, and honesty, for example, and come across as modest? I have tried showing rather than telling, but here is my concern about that approach. I've always believed that if I do a good deed, the reward is in the doing. I don't believe in getting credit by trumpeting the news, but how else do I show my authentic self? Specifically, I'm a retired English teacher who now spends her days volunteering as a tutor and online advice columnist, a theater usher, a storyteller, and a homeless shelter worker. I have a number of other interests such as reading mosaics and hiking, but my volunteer work probably speaks best both to my passions and my character. If I mention my volunteer work, I worry that I sound like a braggart who's trying to get credit. But if I don't mention it, then I worry that I sound like someone who has a lot of time on her hands and very little to do. Thank you, Ken, for any guidance you can offer. Catherine.

    Online Dating Questions

    Ken: Catherine, thank you for this great question. This question is wonderful for anyone who is pursuing online dating, but you'll also see that this question is wonderful for anyone at any stage of their intimacy journey. We're going to work with it on a few different levels. Catherine, your question is, "What would an attraction of inspiration look like, a healthy, good, positive attraction in an online dating profile?" Then part two is, "How can you show those qualities in yourself without boasting or seeming arrogant or just somehow strangely listing every wonderful attribute that you have?"

    Attractions of Inspiration versus Attractions of Deprivation

    Well, I want to start with the question of when you're looking at someone's profile, what's going to help you know what's an attraction of inspiration? I'm going to back up for a minute here. My last episode, I talked about attractions of inspiration versus attractions of deprivation. That was episode 10. The key point being that we can be attracted to someone because there's a certain way that they almost treat us right or are almost available or are almost honest. Those attractions can really grab at us in very intense ways because we think we need to prove ourselves, and we get sucked into that again and again. We feel like love is almost there, and we can get lost in that, and it really deepens our sense of low self-worth. It's just not good. So many of us have been stuck in relationships like that, but we also have the capacity, the circuitry to be attracted to what I call attractions of inspiration, and those turn-ons based on someone's goodness and decency and consistency and availability and generosity. Those are the turn-ons we're looking for.

    How can you tell which is which?

    Catherine is asking, "How can you tell which is which?" I want to start out, and of course, you can't know perfectly until you get to know the person, but let's just start with looking at a profile. Here's what that kind of profile, that positive profile wouldn't look like. It would not reflect arrogance or judgmentalness or nastiness. You can sense that from people's profiles. People who show that in their profile, what they're showing you is what they're going to give you. I would say if you notice those qualities, it's really best to stay away. Some people's profiles are going to show good qualities. They're going to show funniness, warmth, show their values, show how they value the relationships in their lives, their family, their friends. There'll be a quality of positivity. You'll get the sense that they're serious about looking for a relationship, but I want to say that a lot of people don't know how to show that in their profiles, and we're going to be talking about that next. That's why you, ultimately, you need to spend an appropriate amount of time speaking in this online venue, but then you need to really speaking via email, and then really speaking on the phone, and then actually meeting, not in each other's homes for the first date, but for a cup of coffee or for dinner if it feels like a really good match so far, et cetera. You need to get to know the person.

    Seeing a person's goodness in their photo

    Another thing that might show a person's attributes is their photo because people who really do this in a wise way choose photos that reflect their soul, really reflect their heart, and in a moment, we're going to get to how you can do that too. But on occasion, you can actually kind of see a person's goodness in their photo, see their decency, get a sense of that. That's another really good thing to look for. You can also do a search. I really believe in this. I really believe in, from the very beginning, being proactive about saying, "I am completely not interested in dating attractions of deprivation, and I only, only want to pursue attractions of inspiration.
    It is immeasurable how much time you will save, how much grief you will save yourselves, and how much more quickly you'll be on the path to finding a happy relationship if you make that decision.

    Do a proactive search for inspiration

    You can do things like doing a search word. You can search for words that reflect those qualities, like the phrase "family and friends," the word "volunteer work," or if your religion, your spiritual is really important to you, some of those words, if nature's really important to you, that word, or related words. Do a proactive search for inspiration. Do that. Save the time by doing that.

    Showing qualities of inspiration in your online profile

    Now, I'm going to talk about how to do your own, how to show your qualities of inspiration in your online profile. I'm going to first speak to Catherine. Catherine, you've asked how can you show these qualities without boasting or bragging. What I want to say is that in hearing the qualities that you describe, there's a theme here. Your passions are very much in the arena of giving and service and generosity. Those are wonderful, precious qualities, and the first step is honoring and the dignifying, which I'm sure you do already, but the full-acknowledging them and knowing that so many of the things that you do and love doing are about serving and giving and that that actually gives you great joy. Folks, listeners, I'd like you to take a minute and do the same. Think about the qualities in you that feed you the most, that matter the most to you. What are those qualities? Maybe it's creativity that when you get to be creative, it just fills you with joy. Maybe it's service. Maybe it's giving. Maybe it's nature. Think for a moment about what your passions are, the things that really give you happiness and meaning. Take minute to just name them in your head.

    The determinant of our happiness and meaning in life

    Those qualities where we care the most and we have the most passion are what I call core gifts, and they're actually our relationship to them. The degree to which we dignify them, enjoy them, play with them, honor them, respect them is actually the main determinant of our happiness and meaning in life and our relationships. Of course, there are other main determinants like the people we choose, the relationships we have, but those, if we honor these parts of ourselves we are infinitely more likely to make good choices in love and to be able to keep love alive during the difficult times. What are those qualities in you? If you can find a way to share those qualities in your profile, not as if these are my credentials that you are this kind of a person and that kind of a person, but simply by sharing from the heart about how much these attributes mean to you in life, in other people, and maybe even some of the ways that you live them in your life or how that you feel gratified, Catherine, maybe even a story about something that happened in your volunteer week that really illustrates why it matters so much to you would be a wonderful thing.

    Let your passion show

    This is about, in your profile, letting your passion show. If you can move that from the arena of "am I boasting" to the arena of "am I revealing myself," then you're going to be connecting to the living quality of your gifts as opposed to worrying about how they look on display, which is an agonizing process that we all know all too well. I would say, for all of you, whatever those attributes are, find a way to write about them in your profile from the place of the meaning that they have for you, that personal way. Something else I want to say about this that's pretty universal, and it speaks to how you write your profile and how you date and how you build love and how you maintain love is this:
    There's an awkwardness that happens when we reveal ourselves. There's a kind of sense of nakedness. There's a ring of fire of vulnerability that we go through when we reveal who we are.
    It could feel awkward, but it's ultimately beautiful, and it's brave, like the first time maybe you let yourself say "I love you" to someone or the first time you really get naked with them or sharing your needs, longings, desires, telling someone what you appreciate about them.

    Sharing your vulnerability is going to feel awkward

    It's not easy. Don't think it needs to be easy. There is a ring of fire of awkwardness and embarrassment and shyness that we go through that is why it's a big deal to do. It's a kind of bravery, but when we know consciously, yeah, sharing this vulnerability is going to feel a little awkward, but it's my bravery, it's my authenticity, and it's what I believe in, when we do it that way, it is experienced so many times as an act of generosity, and people feel that. Listeners, do you ever remember going through that being with someone you care about, someone who is safe and good, and you shared something vulnerable, that kind of ring of fire that you had to go through? We're supposed to go through that when we write our profile, when we talk to people, when we're in a relationship appropriately, of course, but I want to acknowledge that that pang of vulnerability is part of the process, and there's another side to it, and when you get to the other side, if you're with someone who's safe, if you're with someone who is decent and cares about you, there's a sense of gratification and fulfillment, a kind of mini-exaltation and delight that happens that is worth everything.

    Find photos that capture your soul

    That's also what I want to say to you Catherine and to everyone who's writing your profile, find a way to show that, by connecting to your passion and then just somehow revealing it in your profile. These are just a few tips. There's a lot more we'll be talking about in other episodes, but these are big ones. The other one that I want to say, the last one that I want to say is find photos that don't just make you look good. Of course, find photos that make you look good, but find photos that capture your soul. Find photos of where you're glowing. Find photos where someone you love would look at that picture and say, "Oh, that is you. That is you." Look for those pictures or get those pictures or make those pictures that show your glow.

    You have a question?: Click on Ask Ken

    That needs to be the last question that I answer today. This goes a little bit slowly because I'm trying to universalize it and take everyone on a journey where they can explore themselves as I answer these questions. Thank you, and let me say that if you have a question, go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. Click on Ask Ken, and it will bring you to a microphone. When you click that microphone, you'll be able to leave me a message, which I'll be able to play in the podcast and then answer. Thank you all. I will see you next week. Have a great week, and thanks for joining me at the Deeper Dating podcast.
  • How To Tell Which Attractions Lead To Love And Which Lead To Pain [E010]

     

    This is the most powerful insight I know to determine which attractions lead to love and which lead to pain. It’s the step that changes everything–but that no one teaches us. Oprah.com excerpted this insight from my book Deeper Dating.
    I'm Ken Page and every week I'll be giving you free access to the greatest insights, the most powerful practices, and the most essential findings to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy and the skills of intimacy are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    Episode Table of Contents

    Attractions Lead To Love Episode Introduction

    Attractions Lead To Love Episode Introduction
    Attractions Lead To Love Episode Introduction
    Well, today I'm going to share something that I think is huge. It's the single greatest insight that I know. Use this simple tool and watch how much changes in your life and your dating life in ways that I think you'll find wonderful. Today we're going to talk about how to tell which attractions lead to love and which lead to pain. If you go there, you're also going to get to hear about all of my upcoming courses, classes, and intensives. And by the way, if you like what you're learning here, please do subscribe to this podcast and leave me a review on iTunes. It's a great way to say thank you. I'm really excited about this subject, and here's what it is. In a really simple, binary way, all of us have two circuitries of sexual and romantic attraction. Two circuitries. One leads to real love and one leads to a nightmare forest that you can get trapped in for a very, very long time, thinking it's finally going to bring you love and happiness. I call these two different circuitries of attraction, attractions of inspiration and attractions of deprivation.

    The most important thing you can do if you're looking for real, lasting, beautiful, generative love

    Attractions lead to love: The most important thing you can do to find real, lasting love
    Attractions lead to love: The most important thing you can do to find real, lasting love
    Here's what I believe is the most important thing that you can do if you're looking for real, lasting, beautiful, generative love. Learn how to recognize the difference between your attractions of deprivation and your attractions of inspiration, which is not always so easy to do. And then, only, only pursue your attractions of inspiration. I truly believe that that's the wisest path to love. But, wise does not mean easy, because attractions of deprivation look and smell and feel like love to us until we know better. Attractions of inspiration hold challenges that very few of us are trained to meet, and that's what we're going to talk about today. We're going to explore both types of attractions so that you can chart a path to love that lasts.

    Attractions Of Deprivation: The Almost People

    We are going to start with attractions of deprivation. Now these guys are, I guess the best way to capture the essence of what they feel like is if you ever had a bug bite or poison ivy or anything like that where you just had to scratch an itch and you felt like it would feel so good to do and happiness would come to you if you did it and there was just no choice. But you do it and you open up your skin. You do it and it doesn't help at all, although at the moment it feels good. Attractions of deprivation are like that. The people who carry that attraction are the almost people. The people who almost can commit to you. The people who almost treat you right. The people who almost don't usually drink too much. The people who almost respect you, and the people who can almost commit to the work. There's enough there that you don't leave. But there's not enough there that you can really build a good life together.

    Attractions of deprivation keep you feeling inadequate

    Attractions of deprivation draw us in like an undertow and they almost always get us hurt. When you're in an attraction of deprivation you keep feeling like you have to do some thing to win your partner's love or approval or care, and you spend way too much time worrying about what you've done wrong, or how you could get stronger, or how you could get more confident, or how you could lose weight, or what you could do differently to finally make things right. These relationships trigger a sense of need and longing that rob us of our sense of balance. And that need can take your breath away. In some essential way, your attractions of deprivation keep you feeling inadequate, but they dangle a carrot in front of you for something better.

    The two major reasons

    If these attractions cause so much pain, why are they also so hard to break free from? There are two major reasons. One, because they activate one of the most primordial human emotions of all, fear of abandonment. Another reason is that they trigger our sense of inadequacy. Ways in which we feel flawed or ashamed of ourselves, and we feel like, oh well that's why this person doesn't love us enough. It's because of these horrible embarrassing flaws, and if I could finally fix those I could get this person to love me. There are other reasons as well why these relationships just keep trapping us and we can explore those in future episodes. But for now, one thing I also want to say is that many attractions of deprivation are what behavioral theorists call intermittent reward systems. What is that?

    The Intermittent Reward Systems

    In these systems, you get rewarded, only sporadically, and you cannot control when the reward is going to come. Interestingly, they are the most compelling system of reinforcement, and the hardest to break free from. Gambling's a great example of intermittent reward, so are attractions of deprivation. Have you ever experienced an attraction of deprivation? Have you ever been crazy about somebody who just wasn't available or wasn't good for you? Or, have you ever invested way too much thinking and time and attention trying to teach someone to treat you right? Or, have you ever felt desperate for the affection of somebody who sometimes treated you well and was available and other times just not at all? If you've never been there, I don't think we've met yet, because these are the most universal and sneaky and seductive attractions of all. They look like love to you. They feel like love. They smell like love. It feels like you must scratch that itch to get your needs met. But ultimately, they leave you lonely alone, and a secondary bad thing that they do is they deeply reinforce your sense of shame and inadequacy.

    Attractions Of Inspiration: Your Path To Happiness

    Attractions of Inspiration: How attractions lead to love and to your path to happiness
    Attractions of Inspiration: How attractions lead to love and to your path to happiness
    I've spent years, years following attractions of deprivation because somewhere deep inside I knew that it was true that I was somewhat flawed and I knew that it was true that I had things to be ashamed of and I knew these guys were sexy and hot and wonderful and almost interested in me. It was not for many, many years until I realized that although I've powerfully had that kind of circuitry of attraction to these attractions of deprivation, I had another circuitry too. It was a circuitry where I could be attracted to people who were really wonderful and really good for me. I call these attractions of inspiration and they are your path to happiness. I promise you that. Let me talk about these attractions. But let me just start by saying, I really believe, and I want to share with you, that the great secret to finding love, the great secret, right here, lies in choosing and cultivating only your attractions of inspiration. This is such a simple insight, but it takes decades for most of us to arrive at this awareness, if we ever do it all.

    He or she's going to love you for who you are

    Attractions of inspiration. They have a quality of warmth and easiness. There's a sense of quiet joy, of rightness, of home, of goodness, of safety, of a kind of joy that has a quality of goodness and not a quality of desperation or deprivation. In these kinds of attractions, in these relationships, our challenge is to accept our partners caring, not to try to win it again and again. Your partner, if it's an attraction of inspiration, will challenge you to be better, but at bottom, he or she's going to love you for who you are.
    Your attractions of inspiration are fueled by a real sense of well being that the relationship creates in you, not buy this unrelenting itch for something that's being denied you.

    These attractions unfold differently and more slowly

    Here's another thing about these attractions. They unfold differently. They unfold more slowly. They get richer as time goes on. They may take a lot of work, but these relationships are precious because they allow the work of intimacy. They make us feel love, not desperation. They're the only relationships to build your life around. They're the only ones that deserve the gift of your most intimate self. Some people know this naturally and they end up in these relationships right away because they're smart enough to know it. The rest of us need to learn it, and most of the rest of us are never taught this. That's why I think this teaching is so precious and so important. I want to read you a quote that comes from my book, Deeper Dating.
    We can measure the quality of our lives by the relationships of mutual inspiration we've cultivated. Without such inspiration, any love will wither. And without these relationships, we too will wither, reverting to smaller, more defensive and wounded versions of ourselves.

    I think of human beings as rubber bands

    Sometimes I think of human beings, in my practice, as rubber bands. A rubber band, if you leave it alone, it shrinks back to its most comfortable, tiny size. But, if you hold it out to a greater size, if a force outside itself holds it out to a greater size, it can stretch and stretch and stretch. Without relationships and attractions of inspiration we revert to our smaller size. When our life is full of relationships of inspiration our life and our heart and our soul expands to a size that we could never achieve alone.

    How do you identify an attraction of inspiration?

    How do you find, how do you identify an attraction of inspiration? Here are some questions to help you identify these attractions. One, are you inspired by this person's mostly consistent, caring, and acceptance? Two, are you inspired by this person's goodness and decency? Three, is your love fueled by respect for the kind of person your partner is? And four, are both you and your partner willing to do the hard work of healing your relationships areas of weakness? If the answer to these questions is yes, and of course if there's physical attraction, then celebrate baby, you have found an attraction of inspiration and you should treasure it. It's the kind of relationship you've been looking for. It's the kind of relationship that can sustain a future of love.

    The principle of instrumentality

    Let me tell you a little bit about what I've seen when people make this choice, this choice to only pursue attractions of inspiration. A few fascinating things happen. One thing is, and there's fascinating science to back this up, when you make the decision that you are going to change your dating approach and you're only gonna look for and only pursue these relationships, you're going to start to notice these babies more. You really will. It's called the principle of instrumentality. That when you set a big goal for yourself that really matters, you're going to be more likely to notice the people who meet that goal and you're going to be more likely to be attracted to them. I have seen this in my practice and in the emails that I get from people who've read my work, again and again and again, is that when you make this distinction, doesn't mean it's not hard, because those attractions of deprivation can be so compelling. But when you make this choice, you start noticing and meeting kinder, better, more available people, and you find that you're more attracted to them. When that happens, something else happens, you sense inside of you that you're on a path to happiness, finally. There's such great joy in that, and that's something that I've witnessed happening, in my own life, and in so many of my clients lives.

    There's joy when you're with someone who is sexy to you

    There is a joy, there's a joy when you're with someone who is sexy to you and who emanates goodness and cares deeply about treating you right and being a good human being in the world. There's a joy that bubbles up and then explodes inside you when you find that kind of relationship. By making this choice you will be setting yourself on a path to find that kind of relationship. Many of us really believe that attractions of deprivation are real love because they are so exciting, they draw us in so intensely. Just like when you've got that kind of an itch, or I guess an addiction or a compulsion is also a really good metaphor for that. Down to your bones, you know, you have got to fulfill this need. But it's not a good thing.
    These attractions suck us in and change our thinking.
    I don't want to pretend that's not true because this is not an easy thing to change. And then, when they let us down, we believe it's because of a lack in us and not because of a fatal flaw that's embedded into this very attraction itself. And that's the killer.

    You've got another circuitry

    I've known a lot of people, myself included, who at one point in our lives have had an epiphany. Yeah, you can be attracted to these bad boys and these bad girls and these unavailable people. You can have this circuitry of attraction, and almost all of us do. But you've got another one. In almost all cases I have found this to be true. You've got another circuitry under there and you know about it and it's where you can be attracted to people who are kind and generous and giving and caring and smart and all those other good things. That you have an attraction where you could fall in love based on that as well. And when there's physical and romantic attraction and then this attraction of turn on to inspiration, that's happiness, that's happiness.

    Don't worry about the turn on folks, it's going to happen if it's going to happen

    Maybe your most immediate intense attractions, like oh, kind of attractions, are toward unavailable people, but you also have this other circuitry which is maybe a little quieter, a little more hidden, at first, but which can grow and grow and grow into such power. The problem is, we go out there looking for immediate turn on first and inspiration is something we hope will follow. Our order is off.
    Don't worry about the turn on folks, it's going to happen if it's going to happen.
    It takes care of itself. But noticing inspiration, that takes a choice, that takes a conscious decision and it takes a little bit more time. When you switch your focus and look for inspiration first, watch what happens. Go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and press Ask Ken and click on the microphone and share your stories about what happens when you try this, because you are going to have some good and hopeful stories, and other people would love to hear them, and I'll have your message on my show.

    You can choose which wiring to follow

    You've got two different systems of wiring and you can choose which ones to follow. Yeah, most of us are wired to want the hard to get, and people who devalue us make us want to convince them of our worth. Those are the circuitries of deprivation. You know and I know that, as compelling as they are, baby, these attractions don't lead to love. Please note that you, even if you have a hair trigger attraction to deprivation, it does not mean you can't be deeply attracted to inspiration as well.
    We just haven't been taught how to distinguish between these two attractions, or that we can actually make a choice and cultivate passion and sexual heat in these positive relationships.
    Attractions of inspiration though, have their own challenges, and this is a really fascinating thing. Whereas, your attractions of deprivation trigger fear of abandonment, as I said, your attractions of inspiration trigger another kind of fear. They trigger your fear of intimacy. We're going to be talking about what to do with that in future episodes, but let me just say this, don't worry about having fear of intimacy. It is just a line of crap that it's only unhealthy people that have fear of intimacy.

    You're human

    If you're breathing, you have fear of intimacy, because love is the most precious commodity on this planet and there is no way that you are not going to have fears of being hurt, being let down, having it taken from you. You're human. That's a given. Our task is not to eliminate our fear of intimacy, it's to become wiser in how we hold it. You might be worrying that the kind of this approach of like, oh, I have to be inspired by someone, might lead to a judgementalness or an inability to remain in a relationship in times of conflict because you say, oh, not inspiring. Those are real concerns, and we will explore them further. But, I want to say that in my experience, the reverse is much more likely. In an attraction of deprivation, baby, you're going to be prone to deep self judgment and you will also be prone to a quiet, or active, disdain of your partner. In an attraction of inspiration, you will discover a capacity for patience, generosity, gratitude, and a humility that lets you lean on and value your partners deepest gifts.

    A little activity to close this episode

    With these insights, I want to invite each one of you, right now, to take a minute, we're going to do a tiny little process together to close this episode. Picture an attraction of deprivation that you've had and how scratched the itch it was, or is, and how much it hurt, or hurts. I want you to picture your vision of an attraction of inspiration, where there's turn on, but there is goodness, there's goodness and hope and solidity and picture being with someone like that. And see if, at this moment, you're willing to make a decision. From now on, I am not going to pursue those attractions. From now on, I am going to look for goodness and inspiration, online, at parties, on dates. That's what I'm going to look for, first and foremost. And when I find it I'm going to cultivate that if it's an attraction that feels like it's a romantic one, or even if it feels like a friendship one. I am going to make a choice to carve a path for my future life that is a road of pursuing and cultivating and developing on all levels my attractions of inspiration and not deprivation. This will make you stronger. This will make you happier and this will lead to love. Thank you all so much for joining me and I'll see you on the next episode of Deeper Dating.
    Finding love with Ken Page’s book called “Deeper Dating”
  • The Toxic Dating Myth That Seduces Us All [E009]
    There’s a toxic dating myth that says that the best way to find love is to make yourself more attractive. This myth damages your sense of self-worth–and erodes your chance of finding healthy love! What’s an approach that’s kinder, wiser–and vastly more effective? Find out here!

    Episode Table Of Contents

    Toxic Dating Myth Episode Introduction

    Toxic Dating Myth Episode Introduction
    Toxic Dating Myth Episode Introduction
    There are many toxic dating myths that are just baked into our cultural awareness, and so many of these myths just seem to me like they've been created by a group of anxious teenagers, not by wise adults. The focus of so much of how we are told to find love is that the best way to find love is to make yourself more attractive. Make yourself look more sexy. Make yourself act more confident: flirt better, dress better, have better glutes, have better abs, a million different things that are all about this one thing that just seems to be the obvious simple truth, which is if you make yourself more attractive, you're more likely to find love.

    But there is a fatal flaw in this approach to finding love

    Actually, there are a number of fatal flaws, and these flaws are proven by really solid research. So let's just take a minute to look at this toxic dating myth, this myth that has just this beautiful kind of bright shine to it. Who would doubt that this wouldn't be true? Make yourself look better, make yourself thinner, make yourself act more charming, make yourself look younger, make yourself be more confident. All of that sounds like self-improvement, but what it really is is self-criticism in a really sexy outfit. And self-criticism does not lead to love, it leads to insecurity, and over time a sense of desperation and helplessness. So if you look at the books and the magazines and what they say, it's kind of almost all on the same theme; you must make yourself more attractive. There's a landslide of information telling you–telling all of us–about the latest and greatest ways to make ourselves more attractive. Now I want to say more about what's wrong with this approach, but I also want to say: There is nothing wrong with making yourself look more attractive, in fact it's a gift that you give yourself, and you give the person you're going to be meeting. I am all for that. It's about the fixation, and the belief that it's the best key to find love, that's where it all goes south.

    The Myth Of Not Being Attractive Enough For Finding Love

    The Toxic Dating Myth Of Not Being Attractive Enough For Finding Love
    The Toxic Dating Myth Of Not Being Attractive Enough For Finding Love
    The underlying message is, quite obviously, somehow, right now, you are not attractive enough to have your best shot at finding love. That's just how it is. And it speaks to all the fears that every one of us has about not being attractive enough. Every one of us has a list, a litany of the ways in which we're afraid we're not attractive, and this toxic dating myth triggers all of them. It's endless, it's repetitive, it's wrong, and more than just wrong, it's harmful. And how is it harmful? It's harmful–it's a funny kind of thing–because the message is, you don't really deserve to be confident yet, because you're just not attractive enough. Therefore, you have to fix yourself now. BUT– until you do, you'd really better act confident, because that's the only way to make yourself more attractive. So you shouldn't really be confident, because you don't look good enough. But you better be confident, because that's the way you're going to find love. It's like you're screwed either way. This is actually the kind of mess that we get into with these messages.
    "Act more masculine, guys." "Women, act more feminine. Act more vulnerable. But God forbid, if you're too vulnerable and you don't act confident! You gotta act confident too."

    We live in a culture that is twisted up into knots around these beliefs

    And now I'll add in another one: you gotta look young. So you reach a certain age, and you feel somewhat disappointed. You reach a later age, and you feel disheartened. You reach an even later age, and you begin to feel hopeless. This world of dating chews us up when we're younger, and spits us out when we're older. Because the messages tell us again and again that the older you get, the less likely you are to find love. And it's not true. It tells us that any way that you veer from that perfect incredible shape that you think you should be in is going to diminish your chances of finding a partner. It's really not true though. Arthur Aron, who's a brilliant and highly respected researcher (who I quote a lot) in the field of attraction told me that in fact, truly gorgeous people actually have less chance of finding love, because being truly gorgeous kind of brings a whole other set of inner and outer challenges to it. But think about this for a minute: think about the people you know who are young, and hot and successful, and gorgeous. Are these people any more lucky in finding lasting, beautiful, nourishing, healthy love? No. They're not. Because those are not the qualities that draw lasting, healthy love.

    A Study: What qualities are the most desirable for you?

    What qualities are the most desirable for you?
    Photographer: Stéphan Valentin | Source: Unsplash
    And we're going to talk about what some of those qualities actually are. And we're going to use some science to help us understand this. So now I want to talk about a study that's seminal, and that I think captures so much of what we're missing with this misguided, painful, painful emphasis on the need, the driving need, to make ourselves more attractive right now. So David Buss, who's another really well-respected researcher, did a very large study of men and women, all ages, all backgrounds, huge variety of locations. And the study asked, what qualities are the most desirable for you, in your search for a mate? What are the ones that matter the most? So you'd probably think that attractiveness would be number one. Well it's not. It's actually number two, maybe number three, depending on the gender of the respondent. But guess what number one is?
    And this is across the board, men and women, all different ages, locations, and backgrounds: number one is kindness and understanding.
    Now if that's true, then why the hell do the majority of articles, and books, and blog posts, and advice pieces not start with kindness and understanding? How many pieces have you actually read telling you, "Baby, you want to find a great relationship? Well the key is developing your kindness and understanding." How many front pages of magazines have you seen that on? Probably none. And yet, it is in fact the most desirable quality. And Arthur Aron also told me that it is in fact the single greatest forecaster of a relationship that can last; the quality of kindness and understanding in both partners.

    The land of dating can be a culture of unkindness

    So how much time do we spend cultivating kindness and understanding in the land of dating? And I can tell you, as someone who's done a lot of work in this field, the land of dating is a culture of unkindness in so many ways. Not completely, not many of us, many of us not so, but so much generally, it's a culture that sculpts jerky behavior. We are not taught that we need to be kind, and that's a really critical piece of information. So, again and again, what are we taught? We're taught we need to be buff, we need to look young, we need to look great, and we need to act confidently. But remember, vulnerable too.

    Ken's story from his 30's

    So I just want to share a story about me, from my 30's. So I believed, hook, line, and sinker that the reason I was chronically, chronically, chronically single was because–if you really got down to it–it was because I was overweight, and because I wasn't confident enough. My belly was too soft, and my heart was too soft. I wasn't cocky enough. So that was this way deep down thing that I believed, and I believed too, if I could change those things, I would be so much more likely to find love. Well, in fact I did change some of the things. The confidence; we'll put that one aside. The soft stuff, the soft heart, we'll put that aside. But let's talk about the weight, and the getting buff. I really got in shape, and I got really buff. So did I have more sex at that point? Yes I did. Did more people notice me? Yes, they did. Did I get more dates? Actually no, I didn't. And was I any closer to finding healthy love? Not one drop. In fact, I was years away.

    There is a different set of skills that works better

    So for those of us who've been beleaguered by these messages, kind of like a dog or a cat with a can tied to your tail, we can begin to let go of them. What I discovered over time was that there were another set of actions that I took, an entirely different set of skills and actions, that worked infinitely better, and made me like myself more. And we're going to talk about what those are. But I want to say one something else too, and that is, I just want to point out that there really are lots of different kind of attractions. It is just not true that everyone is attracted to a 20 something, buff looking person who is witty and acts confident. Now, that's like a scratch-the-itch type that many or most of us have, but many people are turned on to people who are shorter than the norm. Or actually are turned on by people who are taller than the norm. People who are turned on to people who are older than we're supposed to look for, or people who are of different weights, different physical challenges.

    Old sexism in a new age bottle

    Photographer: Martin Sanchez | Source: Unsplash
    There are a world of different kinds of turn-ons, and I really mean this. I cannot tell you how many people I know who came to realize that there were a huge number of people that liked older women, overweight men, overweight women, men who are not "alpha men," women who are not this model of femininity, and that is a whole other toxic dating myth that you get taught, that if you're a guy you have to be an alpha male, confident, and kind of tough, and very protective. A leader, you have to be a leader. And women, no matter how empowered you are in your profession, if you want an alpha man, you need to==as they say, and I hate this– "Leave your fake balls in the office," because otherwise you're never going to attract a masculine man. This breaks my heart. It's old sexism in a new age bottle.

    Guess what happens when we're not ourselves?

    And these messages are psychically violent, because they deny the fact that the magic that we have for a person who's going to love us for who we are, the magic we have is the person who we authentically are. Trying to be these other things, tying ourselves into knots, well guess what's going to happen? We're going to either find someone who's looking for the kind of person we're pretending to be but are not, or, more likely, we are going to be attracted to people who sense weakness in us. They sense our insecurity, our lack of self-acceptance, and the people who are attracted to that are the people who go in so they can leach from us, or take from us, or step on us, or get to feel better than us. So, for so many reasons, it is the path of authenticity that has nuclear power, baby. Not the path of self-fixing.

    Toxic Dating Myth: I can't really date until I have a better job

    So, another piece of this toxic dating myth that I want to encourage people to consider abandoning is this: I can't really date until I have a better job. I can't really date until I lose those five pounds, or 10 pounds, or 15, or 20 pounds, or 50 pounds. Well what I want to tell you is this: chances are the person who would love you for who you are is going to love you, even if you're 10 pounds heavier. Is going to love you when you're unemployed, or when you're employed. Because you are who you are. They're going to be attracted to you because they're attracted to you. And they could be attracted to you emotionally, because of the life that you've created, and the way of being that you've created and curated for yourself.

    When we're ourselves, we glow

    When we try to be something else, maybe we're slick, maybe we're shiny, but we don't glow. And really we only glow with those people with whom we feel safe, and feel right. And that's what we need to start looking for. The key, really, is less working on your attractiveness, as it working on your attractions. Because attractions can't be forced, but they can be educated. And here is a really amazing thing: this is something that I have seen to be true, that I never would've guessed, but I see it again, and again, and again, from people that have worked through, worked with my book, from people who are in my intensives, from people who are in my courses, from people who've never heard of me but have kind of figured these things out on their own, and that is this: The degree to which you start embracing who you really are–not this airbrushed version, but the person you really are–your attractions will begin to change. You will notice this is really true, and you will end up being more attracted to people who love you for who you are, and are good for you. You'll notice them more, you'll probably meet them more, you will be more attracted to them, and the chance of a reciprocal attraction is much, much greater.

    The deeper physics of dating

    This is like the deeper physics of dating. And I don't exactly know why it's true, although I have some ideas, but in my role I see it again, and again, and again. You can rewire your attractions. When you do this act of shifting away from this dreadful thing of how you have to fix yourself, and instead shift to this kind of existential choice to treasure yourself, the field will change in your dating life. It really will.

    Three tools to help you change the way you date

    So I want to suggest three tools to help you change the way you date. And these three tools are movements away from this obsessive fixation on making yourself more attractive. And they're movements towards something that will make you a better human being, that will make you happier, and it will actually make you more attractive to the right people. Really.

    Number one: Start practicing kindness and understanding in your daily life

    David Buss's research. Start practicing kindness and understanding in your daily life! Try that. Actually try to become kind, become understanding, become generous, or let those parts of yourself show. Of course don't do it in complete blindness, do it with a sense of discrimination, because when you do that you want to be really careful to just look for people who are not going to take advantage of you. When you decide to be kind and understanding there's a corollary part to this, and that is that you look for people who are also kind and understanding. And when you make that decision, that you're going to consciously choose to lead with kindness and understanding, and then consciously only choose people who know how to do the same, you will already have made a profound shift in your dating life.

    Number two: Try being who you naturally are

    I want to suggest to all of you, that you take all of this advice that you had to swallow, that's left you feeling anxious and insecure, maybe driven to a kind of "I have to get the perfect whatever", but also feeling insecure, (who wouldn't go nuts with this advice?) All this kind of advice that tells you to be vulnerable, but be confident, be authentic, but be charming, and all this kind of crazy advice, and what I'd like you to do is imagine that all of this advice is on a desk, piled up; a whole bunch of articles and magazines and everything, and just imagine taking your arm and moving your arm along the desk, until every one of those piles of advice has been knocked off into a garbage pail. Because baby, you don't need them.
    And instead, try this: try being who you naturally are. Try being the you that glows, instead of this false shine that you're told you're supposed to have.

    How do you glow?

    You glow when you feel safe with someone. You glow when you're loving who you are, that's how you glow. And when you're with the wrong person you kind of feel like, well, if I'm going to have to act confident and comfortable and all that, I'm going to really have to fake it at this moment. You want to be with people with whom there's a sense of easiness. My friend, the author Pamela Cytrynbaum says that her mom taught her that men are like shoes, you want to go to the shoe store, and you don't want to leave with a pair of shoes that's uncomfortable and tell yourself "I'll grow into it." You want to leave with a pair of shoes that feel comfortable. It's the same with men, women, whatever the gender is that you're interested in. And why has nobody taught us this?

    Number three: Does my soul feel safe with this person?

    I have a question that I would encourage you to add to your dating life, as the central question, the number one question you lead with. Just try this and see what happens. When you date someone–and you won't know right away, but it's a question that's going to shift your entire approach. Ask yourself, "Does my soul feel safe with this person? Does my deep heart feel safe with this person?" If the answer is yes, then you've got gold, you can take the next step.

    Now, are there more questions?

    There are a million more questions, including: is this a safe person, am I physically and sexually attracted to this person, are they interested in me? There's a million more questions, but when you lead with the question, "Hey, do I feel safe with this person?", there's a way that you are dignifying your authentic self. It changes the way you carry yourself. It makes you kinder and more understanding, it makes you softer, but it also gives you more of a backbone. And when you make that your question–which, again, it's amazing that we have not been taught this–but when you make that your primary question, your dating life changes, because this is the path to happiness in love. This is X marks the spot of where you want to build your home in the world, with someone with whom you do feel safe.

    Break the back of your fear of rejection

    So what also happens when you make that decision, when you go out on a date, and you say that your intentions are to be kind and understanding, and see if the person does that too, and your intention is also that you're going to ask yourself, "Do I feel safe with this person?" When you make those your commitments, you actually begin to break the back of your fear of rejection. It's really true, you disassemble your fear of rejection, because you have shifted your focus from, "Am I worthy enough?", to "This is me, and do I feel safe with this person?"

    I'd love to hear your stories!

    Try this, you will love it. It's a kind of life-changing tool, and let me know what happens. You can actually go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com, and at the bottom of the page there's a microphone icon. I'd love to hear your stories about what happens when you try these three tools. So there's so much more here, and I do want to say, once again, that it is great to make yourself look attractive, but that you are not obligated to be with someone you're not attracted to just because they're a good person, and you feel safe with them. You have a right to be attracted to them. And there's nothing wrong with improving the way you look, but when that need becomes tyrannical, when it rules your sense of self-worth, you're screwed. Not only will you probably not find healthy love, you probably will be drawn to relationships that chip away at your sense of self-worth.

    The truth that we're not taught

    So I'd like you to consider making these shifts, and just notice, because what I want to do is promise you right now that at your weight, at your height, at your age, there are unequivocally people who would you find you the cat's meow. And that's just the truth, and it's the truth that we're not taught. Although I do want to add one caveat here, and that is, if you have an active addiction, something like an active addiction or a serious psychiatric condition that is not stabilized or treated, those things need to be addressed before you're going to be able to find and keep love. You need sobriety, because otherwise you'll spin around in circles. So the greatest gift you can give yourself, if either of these two things apply to you, are that you get the help that you need. Either that you get sober, or you get the mental health treatment that you need. For everyone else, try these ideas. They will shift your approach, they will shift your life, they will shift your dating life, and they will save you so much time, and so much heartache. They'll make you like yourself more, they'll make you feel more comfortable with your own humanity, and they will lead you to the kind of love that can make you happy.

    Ken's Bestselling Book: Deeper Dating

    Overcome Toxic Dating Myths with Ken Page's Book: Deeper Dating
    Overcome Toxic Dating Myths with Ken Page's Book: Deeper Dating
  • How to Find True Self-Love — the Key to Attracting Your Beloved [E008]
    Today we're going to talk about how to create and cultivate true self-love, the single most important ingredient for finding your beloved–and keeping love alive. When it comes to learning self-love, I cannot think of anyone wiser and more helpful than my dear friend Margaret Paul, Ph.D., the co-creator of Inner Bonding.
    Deeper Dating Episode 8 – True Self Love
    Get ready to learn real tools for deepening your own self-love and transforming your search for love!

    Resources and links

    True Self-Love Transcript

    Introducing Margaret Paul

    Ken: Hello, everybody. Welcome to Deeper Dating. Today we're going to talk about self-love, how to create and cultivate self-love, which is the most important ingredient for being able to find your beloved. I cannot think of someone better, wiser, more insightful, more wisdom filled around this subject than my dear, dear friend Margaret Paul, the co-creator of Inner Bonding. I'll tell you a little bit about Margaret Paul in a moment, but I want to say first is that this subject is indescribably important for all aspects of our lives, and hence just as fully for the wiser search for love. This is what Margaret has focused her entire career on, is that deeper understanding. Ken: Dr. Margaret Paul is a bestselling author and a relationship expert, and the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding self-healing process, which is recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette and countless other people, myself included. She's appeared in numerous radio and television shows including Oprah. Her book titles include
    • Do I have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?
    • Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved by God?
    • Healing your Aloneness
    • Inner Bonding
    • Diet for Divine Connection
    Scroll to the bottom of our show notes for links to these. Margaret has successfully worked with thousands of people around the world and taught classes and seminars for over 50 years and changed countless lives including my own. I'm just very grateful and excited that we're going to get to dive into this incredibly important subject with the wonderful Dr. Margaret Paul.

    Welcome Margaret

    Margaret: Thanks, Ken. It's great to be here with you. Ken: It's great to have you here. Today we're going to do some deep work for our listeners, so that when they leave this podcast and this video, they're going to really be able to have some very real tools for deepening their self-love and changing their search for love as a result of that. Margaret, could you tell us about the importance of true self-love, and how it's found, and how it's not found? Margaret: True self-love is actually vitally important for all aspects of life, but especially in relationships because first of all, we attract at our common level of self-love or our common level of self-abandonment. If we want to attract somebody who's going to love us, who's going to share love, we've got to learn how to become that person first. We've got to learn to become our own beloved in order to attract another beloved because if we're abandoning ourselves, which most of us learn to do as we were growing up, and I can talk about the four major ways. Would you like me to talk about the four major ways people abandon themselves? Ken: Sure. Let us briefly know about that. That's important.

    Major ways people abandon themselves

    Margaret: Most of us have learned these four ways without realizing that it's self-abandonment.

    We stay in our heads

    One of them is that we learn to stay up in our head rather than be present in our body because when we were little we couldn't manage big feelings. Big feelings were overwhelmingly, so we learned to go up in our head, but our feelings are in our body. Let's say that you have a child who comes to you feeling upset and instead of attending to the upset you just go play on your computer or something, you go up in your head. That child is going to feel abandoned, going to feel rejected. That's what happens with our feelings. We can call our feelings an inner child, and we feel rejected on the inner level when we stay up in our head, and we ignore our feelings.

    We judge ourselves harshly

    Margaret: Then another thing that most of us have learned to do is judge ourselves harshly. You're not good enough. What's the matter with you? You'll never make it. You're going to end up on the street. You're ugly, you're fat, whatever it is. We go on and on with self-judgment believing that this will motivate us to do better, but all it does is really make us feel anxious, make us feel depressed. Again, if you had a child you treated that way, that child would feel terrible, would feel unloved, and rejected, and abandoned. That's what happens on the inner level, and this is the cause of so much pain. Then we don't realize. We don't realize we're the cause of the pain. Margaret: Let's say we judge ourselves. We end up feeling anxious. Then we turn away from the anxiety. Instead of moving towards it, instead of being open to learning and saying, "What am I telling myself? How am I treating myself that's causing this?" we may then turn to various addictions. I'm anxious, I better eat. I better have a drink. I better smoke a cigarette. I better watch TV. I better go try and have sex, whatever it is. I better go shopping, whatever it is to avoid the feelings. Ken: Let me just interject here that it's so clear that this is the hero's journey because this is a journey of bravery, and dignity, and authenticity. What I love about your work is you don't shy away from the truth, that we have to answer these questions, that we have to embody our feelings. Go ahead. I just wanted to acknowledge the power in that.

    Courage to move towards our feelings rather than away from them

    Margaret: Yeah. It takes courage to move towards our feelings rather than away from them, to embrace them, and learn from them. Again, if you had a child, the child was upset or anxious, and you just went and grabbed a drink, that child is going to feel rejected. Again, that happens on the inner level.

    We make somebody else responsible for our feelings

    Finally, one of the big ways in relationships is that we make somebody else responsible for our feelings. Instead of taking care of ourselves, valuing ourselves, learning to truly love ourselves, we say, "No, I'm not okay unless that person loves me, that person approves of me." Once again, the child analogy. If you had a child and said, "Look, I'm not going to be the one to love you. You've got to go and press that person. If they like you, then you're okay." That's going to create all kinds of stress in the child, all kinds of pressure. That's what happens on the inner level. We pressure ourselves and say, "That person has to define our worth. That person has to make us feel safe and worth," instead of learning to do that for ourselves. Then when we're abandoning ourselves in all of these ways, we're going to attract somebody who's doing the same thing, and that's going to create an unhappy relationship.

    Mystery is the essence of learning and growing

    Ken: Yes, yes, so true. You know, just to say a few things about this, I just want to acknowledge the presence of mystery in this because when we do this step of embracing our feelings and being in our feelings, there is a mystery. There's a sense of I can't. I just can't do this. There's a discovery that happens in that process. We actually discover who we are by embracing the mystery of how am I going to bear this feeling? You give us a pathway to get through that potentially very terrifying situation there.

    We look to others for acceptance

    Then I also want to say that there's a mystery with other people because often when we abandon ourselves and look to them for acceptance, there's an interrelationship, and we don't do all the work ourselves. We do it in relationship to them, but that involves being able to embrace ourselves first and then reach out and honor our needs in the context of the relationship as well as there. I'm just acknowledging such mystery and learning, such things happen when we do this that we don't have the answer to when we start. Margaret: If we didn't have the mystery, life would be very boring. Ken: You know it.

    The ego wants predictability

    Margaret: The mystery is the essence of learning and growing. It brings the juice into life and the juice into relationships, but the wounded part of ourselves, that ego part of ourselves wants predictability, doesn't want mystery, wants to know what's going to happen and predict everything, and control everything. That's the problem. That's also the part of us that can't handle our feelings. When we say to ourselves, "I can't handle this, I can't bear this," we have to realize that we're operating out of this ego wounded part of ourselves who's a child or adolescent, and who can't manage our feelings. As people learn and practice the inner bonding process that I teach, they learn to developer what's called a loving adult self who is open to learning, curious, loves the mystery, and is able to access our source of love, our higher wisdom, whatever that is for a person that's what gives us the strength and the resiliency to go in and learn from our feelings rather than avoid them.

    How to be a loving adult

    Ken: How can you create this loving adult? How can our listeners, how can our viewers take the next steps in the journey after doing what you've done to actually develop a connection with a loving adult self especially those people who feel like, I have never had that. I have always been endlessly criticizing myself. Margaret: I asked that question too. When spirit brought in this six step inner bonding process, I thought
    "Okay, I'm supposed to be a loving adult, but I have no idea how to do that."
    My parents didn't role model that. We can look around society. Where's the role models for loving adults? That's when we realized that we have to be able to access a higher source of wisdom. This is not so hard as people think it is because we live … Science has actually proved that we live in this energy of love and wisdom. It's here. The space around us is not empty. It's filled with love and wisdom, but it exists at a higher frequency than we normally operate at. In the inner bonding process, there's only two intentions. One is the intention to protect against pain, shutting down, abandoning ourselves, avoiding it any way we can, which lowers our frequency and makes it impossible for us to access that wisdom. The other intention is to open to learning about loving ourselves.

    Diet can play a role

    Margaret: When we truly open to learning, and we keep our body fairly clean with good food rather than a whole love of junk food, which bogs us down, then we can raise our frequency high enough. It's not actually that hard. People are amazed that if they're eating pretty well, and they're open to learning, and they start to ask questions even if they're just asking the air questions like, what would be in my highest good right now? What would be loving to me right now? What's the truth about this situation right now? You start to get answers coming in. Ken: You actually do. I want to chime in here and really validate that. Some of the steps in the inner process, and steps that I teach in my inner mentor work, which are the communication between your current self and a higher self. When you just do that, when you just set up a communication, you will be amazed at how you bypass the circuitry of self-criticism. You go into this zone of wisdom that is so readily available. For all of those of you who don't eat well, I want to tell you that yes, it raises your frequency to eat well, but even if you're eating McDonald's, you can still do this process, and you will get insight. The insight might be to eat a little bit better at certain points, but don't wait for that to do this process of this kind of inner dialogue.

    Eating well will make it easier

    Margaret: Yeah. Now the thing is that eating well will make it easier. One of the things that I discovered because it's been really important to me to have what I call at will divine connection. That's what my new book Diet for Divine Connection is about. It's beyond junk food and junk thoughts to at will spiritual connection. That's what I've wanted. I wanted to feel it all the time, to know I'm never alone, to be having that information come in all the time. If you want that, you can have it, but then you have to have the discipline to eat well. Other than that, if you want it here and there, if you want to ask it and open to it, that's great. Like you said, it can come in, but living with that nonstop connection is truly an amazing way to live. It's so different than how I used to live where I used to try and figure out what was right for me, and what was going on, and what should I do? What's the best thing, and how to make decisions, and all that? I don't do that any more.

    The search for love and how this applies to dating

    Ken: Yes, and that's a wonderful thing. As you grow in this process that we're talking about, that will come easier and easier to you. I want to now talk about the search for love and how this applies to dating because dating is one arena where our pain and our self-criticism gets activated so often. If we're saying that the core of the wiser search for love, and that's what we're all about in this podcast and in this work is the wiser, more effective search for love, how Margaret, does this translate to the search for love? What can single people who are listening do to actually directly be able to shift their search for their beloved with these ideas?

    Step one of inner bonding

    Margaret: First of all, if people start to practice step one of inner bonding, which is staying present in their body, this is where there feelings are. This is where their inner knowing, their intuition is. If they're in their head, and they meet somebody, if they're already abandoning themselves, and somebody comes on really strong and is very charming, and wants a relationship right away, and says the greatest things, and tells them how fabulous they are, they might not be able to tune into the level of narcissism that might be going on there. They may be very vulnerable to somebody like that, and they open, and they get hurt. Ken: Beautiful, incredibly important point.

    Tuned into ourselves

    Margaret: It's really important that we have to be tuned into ourselves. We have to be present with ourselves because that inner guide, our feelings are a source of inner guidance. If we're disconnected, then how do we know what's happening? Ken: That's right, that's right. Folks, take this in. This is really big. All of you daters, when you're dating, move out of your head because your head is going to be telling you am I attracted to this person? Is this person attracted to me? What is this person's resume like? Does my hair look okay, et cetera, et cetera? When you go down into your body, you will pick up wisdom. You will get a feel of what the energy is like between you and this person. All daters out there, listen to this. Drop down into your feelings because you'll get hugely different information than you will from your head.

    Margaret's Course: Attracting your Beloved

    Attracting Your Beloved Course
    Margaret: Yeah. I just finished teaching my 30 day course, Attracting your Beloved. I'm getting feedback from people saying, "Wow, this is such a different experience to go out with somebody and not be thinking about, what are they thinking about me, but to think about how do I feel with them? What am I picking up? Do I enjoy being with their energy? What's happening here?" Ken: Yes. If nothing else, this nugget is gold, and it's life-changing. There's obviously so much more, but I just want to highlight this. This is a beautiful, beautiful tool for every one of you to take into your search for love.

    Knowing who we are inside

    Margaret: Right. If people practice getting in their body being present, then they're going to have that intuition. They're going to know. If they're also learning to love themselves, to bring that love inside, learning with their higher source who they are, these core gifts that you talk about, which are so important. If we don't know who we are inside, if we don't know these beautiful gifts that we might have grown up discounting, judging. Sometimes it's the most beautiful parts of ourselves like our sensitivity, our creativity.
    If we don't know who we are inside, then we're going to make that person responsible for defining us.
    Ken: That's so true. You know, Margaret, even in your words, just those words, folks, those words, knowing who you are inside. It evokes a feeling of love. It evokes a feeling of self-appreciation. It's a self-love question. Margaret: Right. When you're operating from not that place of neediness where you need somebody else's attention or somebody else's approval, but you're operating from that place where oh boy, I love and value my beautiful gifts inside of me, then you're not going to be abandoning yourself with that person. You're not going to be saying, "Look it, this person is giving me all this approval and all this attention. This might be the right person for me." It might not at all. If you're really, really connected to yourself, you would know that.

    The Pratfall effect

    Ken: Absolutely. If you spill soup on your blouse or your shirt, you might have a moment where you get upset at yourself, but when you do this process you'll come back to your innate value. If you say the wrong thing, the same thing because dates are full of slip ups. Here's actually a really interesting point. There's something called the Pratfall effect, which is that if you make some kind of ridiculous mistakes in dating, that's actually something that can endear you to the other person. Having this voice of kindness that you're describing, Margaret, is just huge. In the strange land of dating, it's invaluable. Tell us more.

    Talking about kindness

    Margaret: Talking about kindness, one of the things that we stress in inner bonding is moving out of that self-judgment and into compassion and kindness. Compassion is so important for ourselves. If you make that mistake, you don't want to be beating yourself up. You want to be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Other people are going to reflect how we treat ourselves. Ken: Yeah, that's true. That's true. How much dating advice do we get that captures this wisdom? Not too much. Margaret: No, not too much at all. People don't realize how treating ourselves gets reflected to other people. Ken: Well said.

    Why it's so important to learn to see and value, and love yourself

    Margaret: That's a big reason why it's so important to learn to see and value, and love yourself. It was amazing to me, Ken, what happened when I started loving myself because I didn't used to be treated well, not by my family. I just wasn't treated well, and I didn't know. I was such a nice person. Why shouldn't people treat me well? I was so self-abandoning. I was a caretaker. I was taking care of everybody else completely abandoning me. I was thinking that if I caretake other people, then they'll care about me not realizing that giving myself up and trying to take care of them was a form of control. Nobody likes to be controlled. It's a subtle form of control, and so people would treat me badly. It was like I had a sign on my back that said, "Kick me." I was kicking myself. I was ignoring myself. As I learned to love myself and value my core gifts, then people started treating me well. It was really amazing.

    An entirely different approach to the search for love

    Ken: Margaret, you're actually talking about an entirely different approach to the search for love that is literally based at its core on true self-love. Margaret: That's right, that's right. It was so interesting, a little story here. I was once conducting one of my five intensives, and there was a man there that his wife had said, "You have to come" because he'd been having affairs. He talked about the fact that he could when he was with a woman he could tune into exactly what she needed to hear. He had that capacity to tune into exactly what she needed to hear. Then she would go to bed with him. He revealed all of this in the intensive, so everybody knew that he knew how to do that, but a couple weeks later some of the women came to me and said, "Look, I know what he's doing, but he's doing it to me. He's so good at it that I'm getting pulled in." What I said to them is, "That's an indication that your needing to see those things in yourself." He's tuning into what you're not seeing in yourself. It's like you're hungry for somebody to see these gifts that you have. It makes you vulnerable to somebody like that.

    The dignity of honoring and valuing ourselves

    Ken: So true, so true. There is a dignity that happens when we learn to honor ourselves and value ourselves. I want to say something else about that. That does not mean that we need to become hardened. We can remain generous, kind people. If you could say something about that, Margaret, because I know in your life, and in your teachings you don't just stress stay away from toxic people, stay away from narcissists, fend them off. You teach love. You teach love, not that you're going to give yourself away to narcissists, but you never let go of the importance of kindness and compassion, so if you could say more about that.

    You can see that wounded child in them

    Margaret: Yeah. The thing is the more you learn to treat yourself with kindness and compassion, the more you can not only see the beautiful core essence of others, but you can see their woundedness. You can see that wounded child in them. You can feel compassion for them. It doesn't mean that you want to spend a lot of time with them, if they're coming from a lot of woundedness. It also doesn't mean that you're going to be harsh, and mean, and rejecting because when you learn to be a kind, caring, and compassionate, loving adult to yourself, that extends out to others. It extends out to everybody. It's unconditional. That's what we want to aim for, is that unconditional love towards ourselves and extend that out to others. It doesn't mean that you want to be with that person or have a relationship with them, but it doesn't mean that you're mean or unkind with them either.

    A little further with the inner bonding process

    Ken: So true, so true. Let's move along a little further with the inner bonding process and how it really applies, and how self-love really applies to the search for love. You approach it with an attitude of openness, of wanting to learn. You have a willingness to take responsibility for yourself and to notice what your feelings are. You get into a jam with somebody. You're dating someone, and you just get into a bewildering, messy situation. What tools do you use in this process? How do you continue with this? You're losing true self-love, let's say, in the process.

    Loving ways of managing a conflict

    Margaret: What I tell people is really there's only two loving ways of managing a conflict with somebody. One is you move into an intention to learn with them and see if they're going to be open to it. Let's say we're having a conflict, and I might say, "You know, Ken, there must be a good reason that you're upset about this, or you're feeling this way. I know there's a good reason I am. I'm wondering if we can just talk about it, and learn, and explore, and see what comes of it." That's my first choice, is to be open to learning. Margaret: If somebody is closed, let's say you do that, and somebody says, "Don't give me that psychobabble" and just goes on trying to win, or control, or be mean. Then the only other healthy response is what I call lovingly disengaging. To lovingly disengage, it means you don't march away muttering how stupid this person is, or how unloving they are, and what's the matter with them?

    Taking a break

    You just say, "You know, I don't think we're going to get anywhere right now. I'm going to go. I'm feeling a little hurt, I'm going to go take care of my feelings. I'll check in with you in half an hour. Maybe we can talk about it then." One of the things that people don't accept well is that we cannot get anywhere unless we're both in our adult with an intention to learn. Margaret: If we have gone down into that ego wounded part of us, when we're in that state, we are in the lower part of our brain called the amygdala. In that state, we can't hear each other. There's no logic. There's no access to the higher brain. We just want to win. We want to not lose. We want to protect ourselves from being hurt, and we don't hear each other. We can't get anywhere when one, or the other, or both of us are not open to learning. Ken: So important, but that's so hard because you have this impulse to stay in, and get your point across. Margaret: How often do you? Ken: Right, pretty much never. Margaret: The person can't hear you. Ken: Yeah, wonderful wisdom. That's great, that's great. If the person repetitively is not available for that, or even worse than isn't available for, shames your, or blames you for who you are. Then you have more information about a chronic feature in this relationship that may not be fixable at this point.

    Open to learning

    Margaret: Yeah. One of the things that I stress when I work with people who are looking to date is that number one, first they have to make sure they're open to learning. Then being open to learning has to be high on the list of who they choose. Very often, they're not going to know this until there's conflict, what people do in conflict. Ken: It's so true. There's a Native American saying, which is you don't know somebody until you have your first fight. Margaret: Right. That's right. There's that Chinese symbol of conflict where one meaning is conflict, and the other is opportunity. Conflict is an opportunity to learn if you're open to learning, but if this person, you may be very attracted to them, but if in conflict they shut down, they get mean, they withdraw, they resist, they're just not open to it, that does not bode well. You are not going to be able to reach resolution for things, and that's very important information for you. Ken: That's very, very true. That's very true.

    What do you do when your feelings are growing faster than the other person's?

    Now let's say you're with someone. I'm just throwing out different possibilities that you're reflecting back a very wonderful filter of true self-love. Let's say you're in the process of dating someone, and you're falling in love with that person. You feel their integrity, their decency, their goodness, but they're not quite falling in love with you yet. They're still interested, but it's a hard point. You know you maybe want to give it more time, but it's a very vulnerable point. It's really easy to get needy at a time like that. What do you do when your feelings are growing faster than the other person's, and while we're at it, the very reverse.

    Don't get so attached to the outcome

    Margaret: See, once again, if you're really taking loving care of yourself, if you're staying connected to yourself, and you're not making that person responsible for you and putting yourself in a needy space, then you're fine letting that person take as long as they want. We don't get so attached to the outcome when we're staying connected to ourselves, when we're holding ourselves with love, when we're not handing ourselves away to the other person. We don't get so attached to what happens with them, and the reverse too. If you feel that somebody is falling in love with you, and you're not there, you don't take responsibility for their feelings. If they're not willing to just take care of themselves, and give you the time you need to get there, then they're not the right person for you. If they get really needy and demanding, and make you responsible for how they feel, then this isn't going to work. That's one of the big things that I teach with people because I've worked with couples for over 50 years.

    Take responsibility for your own feelings

    Margaret: The thing that they need to learn is they need to learn how to take responsibility for their own feelings. This is a big part of inner bonding, is learning how to do that rather than okay, I'm falling in love with this person. They're great, but they're not committed to me. Now I'm feeling anxious. Now I'm feeling stressed out. I'm responsible for that. I'm responsible for what I'm telling myself, how I'm treating myself, how I might be abandoning myself. What aspect of my worth am I attaching to how this person feels about me? If I'm not taking that responsibility, I'm going to try and control that person in various ways. I'm going to push them. You're taking so long, and when do you think you're going to know? What do you think that does? Pushes them away. Ken: Yeah. Now what about those of us who are in a middle kind of state where we can't achieve that kind of full responsibility for ourself, but we've progressed in that path? What about the ability to just share our inability to do that and all of our feelings with our partner? What about the concept of healing together when we aren't finished healing alone? Margaret: It's unrealistic to think that we're going to be finished healing alone. Ken: That's right.

    That's just intimacy

    Margaret: Relationships offer a wonderful arena for healing together as long as that's the agenda, as long as both people are open to learning, and they can say, "Look, we're not there." We don't yet know how to take responsibility for ourselves, but we want to learn together. We want to support ourselves and each other in this learning and healing process. That's great. Ken: That's intimacy. That's just intimacy. That's a sexy, warm, wonderful, human thing. Margaret: Yeah. It's not realistic to think I have to get enlightened before I can be in a relationship. No, it's not like that. That's why I say one of the most important things is for you to be open to learning about yourself, about what you're doing, about your feelings and for the other person, but you don't have to be an expert at it. You don't have to do it right all the time. You just have to have that intention.

    What are the inner bonding tools that have helped you the most?

    Ken: What are the tools that you most have loved in your own relationship life, in your intimacy life with people you care about?
    What are the inner bonding tools that have helped you the most?
    If you could actually tell us a story from your own life about a time you've really grown in true self-love in a difficult situation. I know I'm putting you on the spot here, but you're Margaret Paul, so I feel like I can do that.

    I'm staying tuned into what's right for me

    Margaret: You know, there's a lot that's happened, for example, with my kids because I went through a period quite a while ago. I was the caretaker. I gave myself up with everybody including them. When you give yourself up, and I was Mother Earth, didn't take care of myself at all. When inner bonding came into my life, and I started taking care of myself, nobody was happy about that. You're caretaking, you're giving yourself up, you're being there for everybody, and suddenly you're starting to take care of yourself. They get pretty mad about it. I had to go through this with my kids, and sometimes it still comes up because unfortunately, they were all late teens by the time I started to take care of myself. I have had to be a role model. I have had to stand very firm when there's been demands on me to give myself up and caretake them. That's what I do, and I still do that. It's challenging sometimes, but I know that underneath there's a respect for me that was never there before because I wasn't respecting myself. The result that the life I live now, Ken, I have such a dream life. I absolutely love my life because I'm not giving myself up to my loved ones. I stay tuned into what's right for me. I do what's right for me, and what happens for me is that I end up feeling so much love.

    Some tips for online dating

    Ken: How wonderful, how wonderful. I'm going to get nitty gritty again here and say everybody confronting the world of online dating, it's like, oh my god, so I have to online date. That's the only way to meet people, but it's a complex kind of thing because there are such challenges with online dating, such bad behavior, such impersonality. Tell us some inner bonding self-love tools for people who are entering into that very strange and often deeply impersonal world of online dating.

    Practice your intuition

    Margaret: One of the things that I tell people is online dating is a great way to practice your intuition because let's say that you meet somebody, and you feel some connection, and maybe start to email, or you start to talk. Practice tuning into what's happening on the energy level, the frequency level, not what's happening on the outward level, but practice tuning into what's happening inside with your feeling self. Let's say you connect to somebody, but you get a feeling that something is off. You know, follow through. See what happens. Then you might find out yes, indeed, something is very off. Then that validates your inner knowing. See it as practice. I tell people, "Go practice. Go practice trusting yourself. Go practice [crosstalk 00:35:52]." Ken: Go practice trusting yourself. Margaret: Go practice. Ken: What a great way to think of going out there to date. Go practice trusting yourself. Think about that, everybody. How fabulous, how different would it be if that was your intention for dating, that you were going out to practice trusting yourself.

    Projections of fear

    Ken: I want to bring up something else too, which is the areas where we can't trust ourselves, those strange areas, and both of us as psychotherapists know about this so well, where fear comes in and tricks us. We trick ourselves, and our guts, and our feelings are telling us things like, "Get out of here. This person is not right for you," or whatever it is that is actually based on terror manifesting as a desire to flee, manifesting as a strong feeling. Can you talk about that, those strong feelings that feel real, but are actually projections of fear?

    Learn to differentiate between 2 kinds of fear

    Margaret: One of the things that I teach, like let's just talk about fear. There's two kinds of fear. There's fear of real and present danger, somebody is attacking you in the moment. A mountain lion comes out of a tree and jumps on you. That's real fear. The kind of fear you're talking about is fear that's coming from that programmed, ego-wounded part of ourselves that makes things up. Ken: Yes, and tricks us, literally. It's a master illusionist.

    Is the ego part of yourself in charge?

    Margaret: Right, but here's the thing that I teach. If you're feeling fear, but there's nothing happening at that moment, then that fear is letting you know. The information that that fear is giving you is that you've put that ego part of yourself in charge who has no access to truth at all. That's in the lower part of the brain. It has a very low frequency. It cannot access any source of truth. The fear itself is letting us know that that part of us is telling us lies. Ken: Yes. There's a great quote in 12 step programs, which is that in certain arenas of our life our thoughts are not a safe neighborhood to be alone in. Margaret: That's right. Ken: This is one of them.

    Tuning into your feelings

    Margaret: That's why step one of inner bonding is going inside, breathing in, and tuning into your feelings, your feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, terror, aloneness, emptiness, jealously. All these feeling are what I call wounded feelings that come from the lies we tell ourselves. They're not based on reality. They're based on our programmed, false beliefs. Ken: You are saying that all of these painful feelings are connected to false beliefs that we're telling ourselves, our insecurity, our loneliness, our hurt. Margaret: Not necessarily our loneliness. I divide feelings into two kinds. There's the existential feelings of life like let's say you're open, and you want to share love, but there's nobody around to share it with, or whoever is around isn't open. You're going to feel lonely. That's an existential feeling of life. You're not causing it. It's coming because of life, or grief. You lose somebody you love, or heartbreak. Somebody is being really mean to you, or mean to others, or mean to themselves. Then you might feel helpless over them, which is also an existential feeling because we don't have control over them. These are what I call the existential painful life.

    Aloneness vs loneliness

    Margaret: Then there's the other ones, the anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, emptiness. Aloneness comes when we're abandoning ourselves. That's different than loneliness, which is when we want to connect with somebody else. When we feel these wounded feelings, we have to know that we're causing them with our false beliefs. In inner bonding you go inside. You move into compassion for these. You decide you want responsibility. Then you move into the intention to learn, and you access your compassion. Then you explore. You go in and say, "What am I telling you from this wounded part of me?" How am I treating you from this wounded part of me that's causing you to feel this way? My inner child is telling me with the anxiety, and fear, and depression that I'm treating her in some way that's a life, that's causing from false beliefs. I can start to understand these kind of subconscious or unconscious false beliefs by tuning into these feelings and looking at what I'm doing to create them.

    A dialogue with our higher self

    Ken: Am I hearing you say that the way we know the difference between this existential feelings and the more neurotic feelings are by tuning into our feelings and asking our inner child what's going on, and then doing the process then of having a dialogue with our higher self, our wiser self to be able to suss this out, to be able to separate what is a pain being caused from wrong thinking, and what's a pain that just comes from a valid, existential part of our humanity?

    There are different kinds of feelings

    Margaret: That's right, that's right. There are different kinds of feelings. There's only so many of those existential feelings. I've isolated maybe seven or eight of them like fear of real and present danger. You want to pay attention to that. That's telling you something. Sorrow over our planet or how people are treating each other. These are existential feelings along with the heartache, the heartbreak, the loneliness, the grief. These are existential feelings, but all of those other feelings like the anxiety, and the depression that so many people have in our culture, people don't realize that there's two major causes of that, and that's what I talk about in the Diet for Divine Connection. There's the self-abandonment, telling ourselves the lies, judging ourselves, predicting the future, which the wounded self loves to do. Tell us all the bad things that are going to happen, which we have no way of knowing. Ken: Which is so absolutely compelling.

    Effects of toxicity

    Margaret: From the food, because when we're eating junk we're creating an imbalance in our gut. The research shows now that that creates toxicity. It goes right up the vagus nerve into the brain, and it's a big reason for people being anxious and depressed. Ken: Very important point. That word toxic, I think, is a really important one. In our intimacy life, when do we sense the presence of something toxic in our feelings, toxic toward us, toxic toward other people. That's a sign that there's wounding going on, sadness, grief, even anger. Those are their own feelings, but when there's this toxic feeling, this attack feeling, that's an indication that some deeper healing work is needed. Relationships is such a powerful place for that to play out. Margaret: That's right, that's right. We may be being toxic to ourselves with food and with the self-judgment and all that, but we can also be feeling the toxicity with another person. That's why we need to be staying tuned into that.

    Ken's takeaways from this episode

    Ken: So important, so important. I think I'm taking away as one of the greatest pieces of wisdom of this that an act of true self-love is a commitment to know what it is that you're feeling, to go into your feelings and begin to honor, and dignify, and learn from them, that that's almost the central source, the beginning, the ground of a self-loving perspective. Does that seem true? Margaret: That's so true. That is so true because in inner bonding what we encourage people to do is move towards their feelings. What everybody has learned to do is move away from their feelings, and that's the self-abandonment that you move away, but you want to move towards them. You want to listen. You want to know, learn what they're telling you about how you're treating yourself, or what's going on with another person or situation. Our feelings are a very powerful source of inner guidance.

    Ken's story of using the inner bonding process

    Ken: I would like to tell a story about inner bonding for me. My husband and I were getting close to getting married and being procrastinators we had done nothing, and the wedding date was getting closer, and closer, and closer. I was getting really, really afraid, and this was an existential fear because our wedding date was really coming close. I remember waking up in the morning, opening my eyes. My husband was still sleeping. I thought, "Oh boy, we're really in trouble. We have to get to work. We have to really create a lot of wonderful stuff and really quickly at this point." I said, "I'm going to use the inner bonding process." I lay there in bed, and I felt the pain of what we had not done. I went through every one of the steps, and in that process I went from feeling very pretty anxious and upset to feeling empowered, smooth, calm, clear, and self-loving, which is my experience of the inner bonding process. In a moment or two, I'm going to ask you to tell people where they could learn more about this after I ask for some last wise words.

    Getting things done like they've never been done

    Ken: I went upstairs, and within a very short period of time I was able to use all of the choices we made and find the cake, the musician, the rings, everything. Everything fell into place, and my husband woke up and was so happy with it. We had been ditzing around, but the process, John Lennon said it. He said, "When you're one, really one, you get things done like they've never been done." That was my experience. I've used the inner bonding process in so many different ways, but that was the first time I used it and the first time I realized the wonderful power that it has. Margaret: That's great, that's great.

    Last tips from Margaret

    Ken: Yeah. Margaret, before I ask you to tell people how they can learn more about your incredibly important, valuable work, if you're working on true self-love, Margaret is the go-to person, I would say. Inner bonding is the go-to process. Before we do that, do you have any last words for our single folks who want to understand self-love and transform the way that they search for love? Margaret: I recommend they learn inner bonding and practice inner bonding because everything changes on the inner level. Everything changes with the energy when you really see, and love, and value yourself. Like with the people that I work with who are looking for a relationship, like so many of these people just took my Attracting Your Beloved course. They said, "You know what? I am so excited about myself. I am so excited about who I am. I know I'm going to find somebody. It's going to be completely different than what I did in the past, but I'm so happy now that I don't feel needy. My happiness is not dependent on finding somebody. My worth is not dependent on finding somebody. " What I've seen over and over is when a person's happiness, well-being, and worth is not dependent on finding a partner, that's when they find their partner. That's when they draw that person in who's right for them. When they're abandoning themselves, and they're needy, they're not going to draw in the right person.

    If you're needy, don't blame yourself – the solution is true self-love

    Ken: So true. Folks, if you're needy, don't blame yourself. Just practice not abandoning yourself. The solution to neediness is not self-shaming, it's self-love. Thank you. Margaret: If you're needy, that's just an indication. That's just information. See, if you shame yourself, you cut off learning. Shaming, judgment cuts off all learning. If you feel needy, if you feel like you're attaching your worth and your happiness to somebody else, open to learning about it. There's no point in judging or shaming. You're just going to cut off the learning, so say, "There must be a good reason that I'm feeling needy right now." Ken: Exactly. Margaret: I'm going to work on that. Ken: Yes, exactly. Need is a very deep human emotion, but need shamed turns into neediness. Margaret: Yes. There's a lot we need from others. We need people to have our back. We need people to learn and grow with. We need people to share love with, to play with, to laugh with, to grow with, to have passion with. We need each other, but that's different than making somebody else responsible for your worth and your safety in life. Ken: Margaret, thank you for these beautiful, powerful and inspiring lessons in true self-love. I hope all of you take these ideas home with you. Practice them, play with them. Enjoy them, and learn more about the inner bonding method, which is a method that I adore, and speak about, and believe in very strongly.

    Resources and links to Margaret Paul's work

    Innerbonding.com.

    There's so many ways that people can learn and practice inner bonding. To get started, I would suggest people take our free inner bonding course.

    Books by Margaret Paul

  • Q & A with Ken: Expert advice for all your questions about love, dating and sex [E007]
    Q & A with Ken is where, once a month, Ken answers your personal questions about love, dating, sex and more. Today’s powerful questions are:

    Introducing our Q & A with Ken sessions

    Q & A With Ken Transcript Notes
    Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I'm super excited about what we're going to do today because this is our Q and A session. We're going to have one of these every four weeks, and if you go to the Deeper Dating podcast.com website and scroll to the bottom, you will see a microphone there. And if you click the link there, you can actually leave me a message with your question and I will do my very best to answer it on the air. So I have a bunch of really wonderful, powerful, important questions and my hope is that, and my expectation is that at least some of these questions you are going to really relate to and both the questions and my responses are going to touch you.

    Is there such a thing as having too much baggage to find a wonderful relationship?

    Q & A With Ken - too much baggage
    So I'm very excited about this and we're gonna get started right now with a question that I think is just huge. It's from Kim and here it is.
    Do you believe that soulmate love is possible for everyone or are there some people in this world who have just too much gunk, too much old baggage from childhood, too many limiting beliefs, to be able to overcome, to find that soulmate love and this go around in this lifetime?
    So I love this question and I have a lot I want to say about it, but first of all, I just want to acknowledge its universality because how many of us feel like I'm too whatever to find love or I'm not enough, whatever to find love or I'm too old or I'm too overweight or I'm too thin, or I'm too unemployed or I'm too poor, or I'm too challenged, all these different things and it's a universal pain and I want to say that in a very essential way, I don't believe that any of those things mean that we can't find soulmate love.

    I think there is a mystery to how love is found.

    There's a deeper physics to the process of finding love than we ever get taught. That said, I think the issue is so much less about the challenges and the baggage that we have, than how we hold that baggage and who we are with it. There used to be this horrible thing that you would see a maybe you still do on dating sites where people say, I want somebody without a lot of baggage, or then there's like a, kind of slightly more sophisticated version of that which is I just want somebody who's baggage is small enough to fit in the overhead racks. But really those are very unkind things to say and it's just not the way it works. The issue is the humanity with which we hold our wounds, our baggage, our challenges. I have seen people who are paraplegic. I have seen people with polio and legs that don't work. I've seen people in their nineties fall in love and enter into incredible relationships. I've seen this. I have interviewed these people. My Dad was a holocaust survivor with the most brutal, horrific childhood. He married and loved my mom and they were together until the day he died, so no, I don't believe any of those things are enough to stop you from being able to find a soulmate love.

    The issue of how we hold our baggage is huge.

    If we've got shame around our wounds, well, we're human. If we have shame around their wounds and that makes us push people away or hide, then we're going to have a really hard time finding that soulmate love. If you feel deeply unworthy of love and you stay home and don't let yourself go out, don't take risks or push people away, really good chance you won't find love. So now you might think that I've got this new age line next which is so you have to work on your feeling unworthy about being lovable enough, and I would say, yeah, that's a great thing, but what I would also say is if you feel unworthy of love and you still are brave and you still get out there and you make the wise decision to only choose people who value you for who you are, the chances are huge that you will find love.

    The issue is not that we have minefields, we all have minefields.

    The issue is do we know where those minefields are? Do we know what makes them detonate? Do we know who we become when they detonate? Can we hold ourselves with compassion and try to treat ourselves and the other person with dignity around the presence of our minefields? If we can do that, it's enough. This takes place. This also, I just want to say, relates to people with deep trauma like the trauma of sexual abuse. If you can be in a relationship, let's say that you are a survivor of sexual abuse and you can be in a relationship and you know when you're going to be deeply triggered, and you can make space for it and talk about it and give room, and if you've got a partner who you've educated about that who can also hold you and be with you in the way that you need, then when that gets triggered, you can have experiences that are profound and actually even healing. In fact, if you do have deep baggage, it might actually help you find love in this way. You will need a partner with a vastness of heart to be able to be there for you and baby, those are the best partners in the world. There's a filtering system that you have, so if you can have a vastness of heart or some kind of spaciousness and patience and find language to make room for the trauma when it hits, the fear, the sense of unworthiness, in your relationship, and you're with someone who can make space for that. baby, your gold. And I want to tell you that I believe that those are some of the strongest relationships that exist.

    So can your baggage be too much?

    Can there be too much gunk, too many old childhood limiting beliefs for you to ever be able to find a soulmate? No, but if you hide, if you enact unhealthy patterns again and again, and if you push people away, those are the things that will stop you from finding love and those are things that are in your control to work on. So Kim, keep your hope for all of the reasons I just said.

    What can I do to help a new relationship grow stronger and deeper?

    Q & A With Ken stronger and deeper
    Now onto question number two, an anonymous reader, caller, listener said,
    "I've been dating a really wonderful guy for about 20 months, do you have anything that you want to say about maintenance and growth during these first one to two years? Any advice, any insights?"
    Well have a lot to say about this. You can always create changes in a relationship even after it gets kind of very patterned, even after a relationship becomes very patterned. But in the early stages of a relationship, the cast is kind of softer. The boundaries that you set and the behaviors that you create will influence the future of your relationship. So what you want to do in the beginning of the relationship is you want to kind of create a container wherein it's assumed that the two of you will be kind to each other, that you'll listen to each other, that you'll deeply respect each other. That these are the kind of the rules and the framework that you're going to kind of go the extra lengths to be generous with each other. That you're going to have adventures together and kind of eat life together. That that's going to be a commitment, that you're going to grow together. The more you make these things, what happened in the first year or two of the relationship, the more trajectory and power you have for a wonderful healthy future.

    All of these things also apply in the bedroom.

    Are you being kind or you being attentive? Are you listening for the language of what turns your partner on? Are you listening for the language of what touches your partner's heart during sex? Are you letting those two things happen together? Are you creating an environment of safety? Are you sharing deep love as well as hotness and passion? These are the molds that you're creating for your future, and there's something else too. In this honeymoon phase, you're kind of bottling sunlight because there are going to be harder periods, there's going to be winter time, and the more joy you hold, the more you let yourself relish and delight in the magic of these early stages, even if you're telling yourself, oh my gosh, is this limerence? Is this not real? Is this the hypnosis of crazy love? Yes it is, but we need that. We need to hold it and to bottle those memories for the times that come ahead where we need to uncork them and remind ourselves of them. So I would say that's a huge, huge task in this early part of a relationship and of course thereafter, but certainly in the early part and that is in joy. Have Adventures, love, relish, be so grateful because you've looked for this for so long.

    The wave of distancing

    One other thing that I just want to say is that something else can happen a lot for some of us in that first year or two, and that's what I call in my book, deeper dating, the wave of distancing. So what is that? That's, you meet somebody. You like them, you're attracted to them, they're attracted to you, they're available, they're kind, they're decent, you bond, you start a relationship, and then at a certain point you notice that you're getting bored or you've noticed that they have nose hairs that just make you want to like flee. You want to go back to the kind of hunt once again, you find yourself repulsed by them a little bit. You find yourself bored, distanced, judgmental, often those things happen because you're scared, because here's someone who's really available, who really likes you, who really wants to be with you, and that triggers an impulse to flee. So you're probably going to have this wave of distancing come up and I want to tell you how to handle it in the first, from the second date on, into the first, second year. And then for some people it lasts even longer than that.

    What not to do

    The thing you don't do, there are two things you don't do. When the wave hits you, you don't flee. You do not leave the relationship, and you don't pressure yourself to be more intimate than you feel like being. You take more space. If you need more sexual space, if you need more emotional space, if you need more kind of distance in sense of space, you can explain to your partner that you're just feeling a need for whatever, a little bit of alone time or that you like to not sleep, cuddled up all the time or, or whatever it is, just to give yourself space. You might have an adventure. That's a great thing to do because that adds a sense of space to go have an adventure together, but you give yourself space. You don't crowd and suffocate yourself and you don't flee, and what you will find almost miraculously is that like a wave it will pass and when it passes, you will find yourself more aware of how good the match is, if the match is right, if it isn't right, and if it is right, you'll feel even more committed. So that's a warning about the wave. That's one thing that can get in the way. Those are the things that I want to say to you. I want to say to you, risk, enjoy, be kind and have adventures, and those are the things that I would suggest for growth and maintenance in the first few years of a relationship.

    How do I decide if someone is truly right for me if some important needs aren't being met?

    Q & A With Ken needs aren't being met
    Here's a question from Sophia. Sophia: What should I do in dating when I meet men who are attractions of inspiration in some ways and attractions of deprivations in other ways? I'll be a little more specific. Since starting this work and honoring my own core gifts, I found men who can honor some of them who are very inspiring and in some ways who are deeply sensitive and emotional, and can honor those things in me. But there's one core gift of mine that I'm finding still not honored and it's leading to a deprivey feeling, and that is like a gift for like generosity, I guess, and giving a lot of love and wanting to spend a lot of time together, which I'm finally realizing is a gift but I'm not finding people who can meet me there. They're often still unavailable, or like workaholics, things like that. And so my question for you is:
    When I meet these people, should I say an immediate no to them because they don't see all of my core gifts, or should I give them a chance because they're half of the way there?

    Treasuring your own core gifts

    Well, Sophia, first of all, it's wonderful to hear your voice and I'm so glad that my work has been so meaningful to you and has been so helpful and it's thrilling to hear how you've been learning to identify and name and treasure your core gifts and that that's changing things for you and that you're meeting people who are more inspiring and less deprivational, and this is a really good question. The question is that in some ways, this new generation of people that you're meeting, these guys are much more inspiring, but they also have this pull back, this unavailability that hits you in your core gift of generosity and love and affection and effusiveness and enthusiasm and leaves you to feel deprived.

    Learning to embrace our authentic self

    So here's what I would say about that. One thing that I have seen again and again is that when we do this work of learning to embrace our authentic self, our vulnerable self and we make this commitment that we're only going to choose attractions of inspiration as opposed to our attractions of deprivation. When we make that commitment, things change in profound ways, but they don't change all the way. It seems like there's a stepping stone process that happens that can be frustrating for people, but I've seen it happen again and again where the next batch of people that you meet in your dating life are so much closer to being there, but not quite there yet, so I just want to kind of frame this out as a transitional process and what I would say is that these qualities in you, as you learned to even further dignify and treasure and honor them, more and more, your attractions will change and even the kind of people you meet will change. I know that sounds very woo woo, but it happens. How it happens? I don't know, but it does.

    Turn your deprivation into a constructive ask

    So that said, it sounds like you're meeting great guys. These guys sound wonderful and inspiring and what I would absolutely, absolutely say is give them a chance. If there are no real red flags, if there's no abuse, no poor treatment, and they may feel stuck in those ways, absolutely give them a chance and it's a chance for you to grow by dignifying and honoring your needs and your enthusiasm and these qualities in you of generosity and enthusiasm. So you express them and you express them in a positive way ,saying how good you feel about the connection, how inspired you feel, and how you'd love to have more time and sometimes it could be a little difficult because it seems like he's busy a lot, or however it is, you just put words to what's in your heart, without blaming him. You turn your deprivation into a constructive ask and then see what happens. That's going to bring you to a next step who you will both be as potential partners will be different after that conversation and very often the most beautiful bonds develop.

    It could be a perfect invitation for more

    When one party says something's missing for me. I am loving this, but I want something more, or I need something more. It might be a perfect invitation for this person, and that'll bring you both closer or maybe the person will gaslight you and blame you. That's not a good thing, but you want that information. Or maybe the person will say, I get it and be unable to do it, and then you'll make a decision about, is this worth it? Does this feel like a worth it relationship, but you can't get to that step until you share what's in your heart and when you share what's in your heart, there's something else that happens, which is you stand more firmly on the ground of treasuring yourself. That's intimacy when you do that, because if you don't do it, you'll excuse me, you'll resent yourself or you'll resent him and you don't want either of those two things happening. So what I would say is try sharing in a generative way, your enthusiasm and your desire for more and see what happens and you can call back and let us know. So thank you, Sophia.

    Why do so many of my new relationships keep breaking down–and what should I do about it?

    relationships keep breaking down
    The next question is from someone who chooses to stay anonymous–which is absolutely fine–and this person says that she's dating and she's grown a lot.
    She's doing things in different ways, but she finds that she keeps breaking things off and she doesn't know if she's really seeing red flags or if it's her and her fear that leads her to keep breaking things off.

    About red flags

    So that's a wonderful and rich and important question and it's one that we can only find the answer to by experimenting. So what I would say to you is if the signs that you think might be red flags are an active substance abuse problem, an untreated serious psychiatric condition, an unstabilized serious psychiatric condition, abusiveness lying, cheating, or any of these kind of very, very real red flags, assume they're real red flags, disappearing on you and not being forthright about it. Any of those kinds of behaviors, those are real red flags. And, and they're worthy of taking seriously, of being taken seriously. On the other hand, in early stages of good, so if your answer is yes to any of those red flags, proceed with caution or do not proceed at all. If your answer is no to those things, then there's a good chance that there might be an aspect of fear going on for you.

    This is the wave

    This is what happens. It's the greatest saboteur of healthy, new love that I know in the world. And when the wave hits, you're with someone and you find them available and kind and decent, and then you just want to get out of there. And what we do at those times is we blow up minuscule or not so minuscule problems that we see, but we blow them up until they take up the entire field of our vision and then we feel justified in leaving. We do not want to do that, as I talked about before, the process to do potentially when the wave comes up is you give yourself space but you don't flee and the wave will pass. You do fun things with this person. You enjoy them. You do not suffocate yourself and you do not flee and the wave will pass and then you will see more. Often we act in reactive ways and we flee or we feel guilty and so we kind of suffocate ourselves by giving more than we want to give. And then there's no way to go but out. So you want to not do those things. And after you go through that wave, your eyes will be more open to whether or not this person really is a match for you. You are describing a number of times of this occurring that sounds like a pattern to me.

    Patterns of making bad choices

    So in my book, Deeper Dating, I talk in chapter four and five, particularly chapter five, about the patterns of making bad choices that we do, or the patterns of fleeing love. Look at what those patterns are. What were the attributes of these people that bothered you and disturbed you? What were the actions that you took to shut the relationship down? Were they made from a place of peace and clarity or were they made from a place of kind of, intense reactivity? Note what the patterns are because that is something that you want to change and you want to work on.
    This is a really rich question and the only way for you to find out the answer is to take the next steps. The other last piece of this is if there are real things that are bothering you and I imagine there are or you wouldn't even potentially call them red flags.

    Have you talked to this person about them?

    Have you turned your anger into an ask? Have you turned your sense of deprivation into a request? Have you shared your feelings and your vulnerability and your needs? If you haven't, you will not be able to find the answer to these questions, and your relationship, your potential relationship will not have the room to grow, so do that in a positive, constructive way. Make your asks, listen to what the other person has to say as well, and you may find that by doing that, not only do you realize this is a relationship you want to move ahead with, but a certain level of fear and reactivity will dissolve. If this person's responses are wonderful, so don't try to figure this all out in your head. We are interdependent beings. Find your answer through interdependence, through communication, through connection. Unless there are serious red flags and then you really need to watch out or get out.

    Wrapping up today's episode

    So these are all the questions we have time for today. I'm thrilled to answer your questions. There are many more questions that I didn't get to and I will get to, but I want to invite every one of you to also reach out and go to Deeper Dating podcast.com. And, ask me any questions that you want to ask me because I'd love to hear them. Everything is fair game about intimacy and relationships. So thank you all. It was a joy to be with you and I'll see you in the next episode.
  • The Truth About Sexual Attraction That No One Discusses [E006]
    We all know we can’t force our sexual attractions. But what no one teaches us is that we can educate them! In this episode, I'm going to teach you how. Even if you are relentlessly attracted to the bad boys and the bad girls, you can still develop this capacity. These are not gimmicks; they are the lifelong skills of romance and intimacy; the same skills you'll use to keep passion alive in your next serious relationship.

    Introduction

    Sexual Attraction Truths That No One Discusses
    What follows is a transcription of my talk about sexual attraction truths that are seldom discussed
    Have you ever felt like the people you're most attracted to aren't available or aren't good for you? And that the people who are available and are good for you are just not the ones you're attracted to? Today we're going to tackle what might be the most common struggle of all, in the world of dating.

    What to do?

    We can't force ourselves to be attracted to someone we’re not attracted to, just because that person is good for us, it doesn't work, and if we try, it's going to put us and our partner through hell. We can't force our sexual attraction. Most of us have learned that the hard way. But, there's something profound that most of us have never been taught. Even though our sexual attraction cannot be forced, and cannot be controlled, they can be educated.

    Before We Start: Consider Working With Ken

    The 2019 Enrollment period to work directly with Ken closes on May 30th:
    Work With Ken
    In today's episode, I'm going to share some ways to cultivate sexual and romantic attraction to people who are good for you and available. Even if you are relentlessly attracted to the bad boys and the bad girls, or unavailable people, you can still develop this capacity. And these are not gimmicks that I'm going to be teaching you. They are the lifelong skills of romance and intimacy. They are the very same skills you're going to use to keep passion alive in your next serious relationship.

    The attraction spectrum

    The sexual attraction spectrum
    Sexual attraction and romantic attraction lives on a spectrum
    In my own life, and after working with thousands of people, I’ve learned that sexual and romantic attractions can change. Not quickly, but like if you picture a giant ship in the ocean needing to turn, that turn happens gradually, but it happens. Let's discover how that change can happen, because if you learn to educate your attractions, you will be on the course to happy, fulfilling love. And these are lessons that we are not taught. So, we can begin by creating a kind of measuring stick for our attraction, sexual and romantic. And I call it the attraction spectrum.
    Every time you enter into a room full of people, you make choices based on your attractions. Who do you notice? Who do you pass over?
    There was a woman I knew, a young stockbroker from Chicago whose name was Deb, and she said to me once: "You know, it's just almost magical. I can go to a party and there is always one person I am most attracted to and, if I date him, within a few weeks or a few months, I discover that he has the same attributes as the guy before him, and the one before him. But, when I first saw him as a complete stranger from across the room, I had no idea that that would be true."

    Our attractions are forged in the deep space of our being

    And they’re born of countless, and often unknowable, forces. When you encounter someone for the first time, your psyche and your heart begin an astonishingly complex scan. They begin to pick up obvious cues, like physique and facial structure, but they also register a huge amount of subtle cues, like body language, facial expression, the tightness or the looseness in the lips, the nuance of the voice, the muscles in the eyes and around the eyes, and what they tell us. You instantly process this information without even knowing it. All you feel is desire. Or the lack of it. This is amazing. Scientists tell us that a silkworm can smell one other silkworm moth of the opposite sex from six and a half miles away. One moth, six and a half miles away. Our mating instinct might not be quite that developed but, nature has programmed you with a romantic radar with astounding sensitivity to find just the right person to trigger whatever emotional circuitry gets you the most, and most needs to be worked through. Every one of us is attracted to a kind of type of person that stops us dead in our tracks. Physical type and emotional type, a personality type. So now, let's imagine that you have a spectrum of attraction from let's say 1 to 10, and the people who are around one just aren't physically or romantically attractive to you at all. But, the people who are nines and tens, are like icons, they're just compellingly attractive, and they leave you weak in the knees, and they trigger your longing, and very possibly, they trigger your insecurity too.

    Parental influences

    Harville Hendrix, who is the founder of Imago therapy, and just a brilliant, brilliant theoretician, illuminates this phenomenon in a way that just sheds light on our entire intimacy journey. He teaches that these people are so attractive to us, in part because they embody, not only the best characteristics of our parents, but the worst ones as well. Think about this for a minute. It's breathtaking. The people you are the most crazy for, you are so, in large part, because they embody the worst emotional characteristics of your caregivers. Is that conscious? No. But all of us have unresolved childhood hurts, due to betrayal, anger, manipulation, abuse, not being seen, being neglected. Unconsciously, we do seek healing through our partner, and we try to achieve that healing by bonding. Get this. With someone we sense might hurt us in similar ways to how we were hurt as children, not by acting out the same exact behaviors, but by doing things that make us feel the same way. We sense that, and somewhere deep inside, we begin to build a hope that we can convince this person to finally love us right, and accept us fully. This is a wild blueprint. And is something we need to know.
    Our conscious self is drawn to the positive qualities we yearn for. But your unconscious, will draw you to the qualities that remind you of how you were wounded the most.
    This amazing insight partly explains, well, it partly explains a lot of things, but one is, it explains why it might be that you get so awkward and insecure around people to whom you're wildly, wildly attracted. And it also explains why our greatest heartbreaks happen with these most intense wild-fiery attractions.

    Dating on the low end of the sexual attraction spectrum

    So, some of us relate to that reality by only dating people on the low end of our attraction spectrum, we're just scared of the intensity, we don't want that painful loss again, when we approach those people we’re just crazy for, and often we feel safest with people who maybe don't do much for us physically or romantically or sexually, but they're comfortable and they’re safe. And of course the downside to that can be a lack of passion, boredom and frustration.

    Dating on the high end of the sexual attraction spectrum

    Others of us only date people on the high-end of our attraction spectrum, because they believe that that's where real love and passion lie, because when you're in that state, it feels like total, pure, healthy, real, right attraction. It may not be, but it feels that way. So with someone who's a really high number on your attraction spectrum, you will be able to tell that you're attracted in a fraction of a second. And that can be achingly exciting, but it's usually not going to be comfortable or secure. So, as someone who has worked with so many people in this arena, I have come to see that people who only date on the high-end of their attraction spectrum, think if that might be you, are more likely to remain single. And, people who only date on the lower end of the spectrum, are much more likely to be coupled, but unhappy and unfulfilled.

    Finding the sweet spot

    Find your sexual attraction sweet spot
    Find your sexual attraction sweet spot
    So, I am not telling you to stay away from people who make you weak in the knees from day one. They might be your soulmate. And I'm not telling you to stay away from dating great people who you're not necessarily attracted to it first, because attractions can grow. But what I am saying is this.
    There's a sweet spot that you might not be focusing on, and if you do, it's going to make a huge difference in your journey.
    It's the middle of the attraction spectrum where there is a spark, but not necessarily a tsunami. So, take a minute to think. It's a great question for you to reflect on, if you want to create a conscious journey to love. What is your pattern? Where, on the attraction spectrum, do you tend to focus? So, I want to talk a little bit about this sweet spot that I mentioned, which is focusing on people where there is a spark, who are somewhat more in the middle of your spectrum, they're fives, the sixes, the sevens. So, with those folks, it usually takes a little bit more time to get a sense of how interested you really are. That is why we court. That is why we date.

    Attractions can grow

    I had a mentor, his name was John McNeil, and he taught me a lot about love. And I was dating someone at the time and it was someone who was a really nice guy, but I wasn't crazy about him, and there were no real wild sparks, but I found him attractive. And I said to John, "I don't know if I should go on a third date with him. I don't know if it's worth it. " And John said to me, "if you're not sure, and there are no red flags, go on the third date, go on the fourth date, if you need to. Here's what happens. Over a little bit of time, he's either going to become more beautiful to you, or he's not. And then you'll know that." And I thought that was beautiful and wise advice. People who are willing to date in the mid-range are more likely to find real and lasting love. And you know, it's not a matter of selling out, because immediate attraction is not the best forecaster of future passion.

    It's easy to get blindsided through intense attractions

    Intense immediate attractions can blind you to the actual quality of your interactions with someone. And then you get blindsided. Because if you are blinded to someone's actual character, you're in grave risk.
    So, attractions can grow. And many of us have had the experience of becoming more attracted to someone as we get to know them more and better. Have you ever had that experience? You might want to reflect on that. Now, once again, I am not telling you date people that you not attracted to, because they're good for you. That will never work, and you have the right to a wonderful sexual passionate relationship. What I am saying is, don't just think love lies in the places where you instantly feel like you're falling in love.

    Avoiding snap decisions

    So, Okay. Let's follow this through. What you do when you meet someone who inspires you, and you do feel a spark of attraction, but not enough where you feel like, I know I could fall in love with this person? Well, sexual attraction is much more mutable than we've been taught. We all have types that turn us on wildly, immediately, intensely. But as I said, attractions can grow. Is really unlikely that you’re going to end up attracted to somebody who's completely not physically appealing to you. But if someone holds a spark for you, of attraction, and has other qualities you love, your attraction absolutely can blossom. So, the next time in your dating life that you meet someone for the first time don't make a snap decision, based on whether you’re instantly attracted to them on a physical level. It's not a valid thing to think that someone is only right for you if you know that, given the opportunity, you would be open to sleeping with them really soon. Even if you choose not to, because you know it's not the best thing to do. If you're not sure, go out with that person again. And remember that in time, something lovely might happen. He or she might actually become more beautiful to you. And if not, you will know that it's time to stop dating them.

    Learning to squint like an artist

    If you've ever seen an artist working on a portrait, you'll notice that oftentimes they'll squint as they work, because squinting, I asked an artist about this once and she said to me, I squint because it helps me focus on the essence of my subject and it doesn't distract me by their harsh outlines. We need to do that in our dating life. It's so easy to get lost in that hard and rigid, and instant assessment of someone's imperfections, but it serves us better to simply sense their spirit and notice and taste the connection with them. And if it's a good one, and you keep noticing it and riding with it, that is what makes attractions grow. As we start caring more deeply about someone, invisible tendrils begin to grow, in our thinking, in our sexual imaginings and longings and in our growing sense of dependence on this person. Our psyche, our sexuality and our hearts begin to create attachment to that person. And to make him our own, or her our own. So when we build the muscle through exercise our bodies need to create new capillaries to feed it. When we create new love, something similar happens. New neural pathways and emotional pathways. New rituals, new sense memories. New appreciations of sense and touch and sexual activities and emotional need get created. An entire web of new connections gets created inside of us as our hearts allow this, one stranger, to become our loved one. So we become specialized in them in so many ways. And that's why breakups can hurt with real physical pain because these lovingly billed tendrils are just ripped out. That's an experience of anguish.

    Inspiration or deprivation?

    But the point that I'd like you to consider is this. When you choose someone whose character is truly solid, who is good and decent, and able to manage their life. Who really cares about you, and with whom your soul feels safe. You are decreasing the chances of that horrible pain occurring for you. Remember that in the end, it really does come down to character. I speak about this more in other podcasts, but in a very binary way, there’re two kinds of circuitries of attraction that we have.

    Attractions of inspiration

    There are attractions of what I call attractions of inspiration. That's where we get attracted to someone because of their goodness, their decency, their creativity, their solidity, the way they live in the world, the way they curate their lives, and their stability and their availability. And those are a different kind of stuff. That's a different kind of circuitry. It grows slower. It roots down deeper. It brings much, much, much more joy. And it's the rock upon which you want to build love in your life.

    Attractions of deprivation

    There are also attractions of deprivation, and they’re sexy and hot as hell. And those are attractions where somebody almost loves you right, and is almost ready to commit, and almost doesn't neglect you, but they keep reverting back to that. And these people can be our types, for the reasons I talked about before, and it can feel like real love, and God knows, those attractions of deprivation just grab at us and pull at us. But once we know the distinction between the two, and we reach a point where we make a choice to only choose attractions of inspiration, our world changes. But, in those attractions of inspiration, it could take time for your attraction to build. And, at those times it could be difficult to resist the impulse to flee, in search of something where you know you’re instantly turned on right away. So as a result of that, many, many, many potential wonderful relationships are cut off before they're even given a chance to grow.

    What you focus on, grows

    So let's talk about this now. Let's talk about what you do when you meet someone who is like an attraction of inspiration for you and there's some attraction, but maybe not full on attraction yet. Well, here's a piece of instruction that will make a real difference with that. The more you focus on the things that trigger your desire and your connection with that person, the more your attraction can build. So, if you are attracted to someone in the way I just described, the first step is to give yourself space, to recognize that no matter how wonderful is this person, you are not obligated to be one drop more attracted to him or her than you are. Forcing your feelings is only going to block the natural flow of attraction. Pressure and demand is death to new Eros, well maybe not death, but it's kind of Kryptonite.

    Reflect on your attraction

    So instead, what I would encourage you to do is allow yourself to reflect on what attracts you to them. What turns you on, and what you appreciate. And when you do that, you'll be building these new pathways of attraction and connection. So when you do that, think emotionally. Think about how he is with his dog. Think about how she is in her career. Think about how he or she laughs, and how good that sounds and makes you feel, how it makes you laugh. And think sexually, too. Take time to let your fantasies unfurl. Then maybe, the fantasy that you have is just simply, it would be nice to kiss, or I'd love to hold hands at the movie, that would be so nice. Or just gently to touch. Or maybe your fantasies are more sexual, may be they’re long lazy sex or quick hot sex or kinky sex or tender sex. Allow yourself to honor whatever you're imagining in your own head, and, as appropriate, and I'll talk about that in about one second, see if you can ask for what you want, if the relationship develops, because that's how we grow passion. And to listen to the same from our partners.

    When to first have sex

    And here's my advice around this question of when to have sex.
    When we desire someone and postpone the sex for at least four or five dates, we develop surprising new pathways of attraction. It’s a great way to grow passion.
    And more important. Having sex too early is like miracle-grow for fear of intimacy. It makes us want to flee, or it makes us want to cling and grab. Neither of those things are good in early relationships. So, go slowly on the outside. But inside allow yourself free reign in your fantasy life. And, if your desires are more sensual and sexual, that is fine to. I know someone who met a guy who lived in Europe and she knew she liked him, but she wasn't attracted enough to want sex. She just wanted to cuddle with him. And he invited her to visit and she didn't know if she should make the trip. And she was speaking to a friend of hers and she said, "I don't know if I should go all the way to Europe just to cuddle with someone." And her very wise friend said, "Really? I can't think of a better reason to go to Europe." And my friend took the trip, and over time she fell deeply in love. And she was wise enough to take all the time she needed with this guy. And he was wise enough to let her.

    Attraction is about chemistry, and that can be grown

    See, another research shows that it's so much less about the person you think is your exact iconic type, and it's so much more about the chemistry. What I'm teaching here are tools that most of us are never taught. They’re the tools about how to grow attraction. They’re the deeper skills of intimacy. I know I spent decades chasing people who didn't want me. Who I ultimately couldn’t end up being with, because maybe I didn't respect them enough, but some internal bell was ringing and saying, this is what attraction is. Thank God I learned better.

    There's a greater journey

    And as you learn this approach, you find that the pain of dating and the ugliness and the disappointment that we can experience in dating, diminish. You'll feel a growing sense of wisdom and sanity in this crazy making world of dating, when you practice these things. And you'll feel more of a sense of hope. But most importantly, you will see real life changes in your search for love. You will find your attraction growing for the right people. You will, over time, lose your taste for people who chip away at your sense of self-worth. And you'll find yourself more and more likely to meet people like that, to find them interested in you, and to be interested in them back. It's amazing how that happens. But that's the wiser path to understanding our attractions.
    Navigate sexual attraction with Ken Page’s book called “Deeper Dating”
    Finding love with Ken Page’s book called “Deeper Dating”
  • Why Your Longing For Love Is Wisdom, Not Weakness [E005]
    In this episode, we’re going to take apart one of the most toxic dating myths of all–the belief that your longing for love is something to be ashamed of; that it's needy or codependent. In fact, it's one of your greatest gifts!
    I’ll tell you why that myth is unhelpful and untrue—and back it up with research. In fact, I’ll explain why your longing is one of your absolute greatest gifts, and I’ll teach you how to use it as rocket fuel in your search for healthy love.
    Longing for love transcript

    The toxic myth of longing for love as a weakness

    In my decades of work as a psychotherapist, I’ve become convinced that one of the biggest reasons why more people don't find healthy love is the toxic myths that we've been taught; about what love is and who we are. About how we find love. One of the most toxic myths is the belief that our longing for love is a kind of weakness, that we should just be really okay on our own, and if we find a relationship, well, that’s great. But that we should be confident anyway, we should be just fine. And that deep and painful longing for love is kind of a codependency and a kind of weakness. And I think it's actually one of our greatest strengths.

    Wisdom, not weakness

    And I just want to share something that I wrote in my book Deeper Dating.
    "In my opinion, longing for love is not weakness, it’s wisdom.
    Numbing our loneliness is a path to a despair that plagues our culture. We are not meant to be alone and self-sufficient. Without lives filled with love, we wither inside. Intimacy is oxygen. We don't need to transcend our hunger for love; we need to learn to honor it. "{ And of course there's so much science to back this up. Eli Finkel, a very well-respected researcher in the field of relationships and attraction, says that the quality of your intimate relationship affects your happiness about twice as much as your career, your friendships, or even your health. There are so many studies that show things like, for example, just holding a loved one's hand lowers your blood pressure and reduces pain. We are meant to be connected. And in fact, it's the people who care the most about connection and often who feel the most longing for it when it's missing, who are the healthiest people of all, and the people most likely to actually find love.

    Why is this myth so harmful?

    So, this myth that tells us that it's a weakness to need love like that; why is it so harmful, why does it cause such damage? Well, one reason is, it teaches us to be ashamed of our vulnerability. And shame around our vulnerability is the death knell to healthy love. We need to be able to bear and tolerate and express and handle our vulnerability if we’re ever going to really be able to have love. Another reason is that when we suppress our need for love, it turns into neediness. Need suppressed turns into neediness–and then we become manipulative. It's like you can only hold your stomach in but for so long, you can only hold a beach ball underwater for so long. Ultimately, shamed need comes up and it comes up sideways and it comes up in ways that aren't good.

    A common result is attraction to the wrong people

    Here's another way that this belief that our deep longing for love is a weakness is harmful: to the degree, (And this is an amazing thing and it sounds kind of woo woo, and if I hadn't seen it so much in my decades of work with really thousands of people, I wouldn't believe it.) And here it’s what it is:
    The degree to which you shame yourself for this all too human quality of longing for love, to that degree, you’re going to end up sexually and romantically attracted to people who cannot treasure that quality in you.
    Why that's true? I don't fully know, but I have a lot of thoughts about why that is, we’ll talk about in a future podcast, but I have seen it to be true, literally countless times. But the corollary is true, as well. To the degree that you dignify your longing for love, that you dignify it and honor it and learn to cherish it and treasure it and respect it, to that degree, your attractions will actually begin to shift and you will become more sexually and romantically attracted to people that honor and treasure and take care of that part of you.

    Our greatest gift

    Now, there's another reason as well, a deeply important reason why this phenomenon, this kind of shaming of our longing for love matters so essentially. Here's why: that shame hides what may be our absolute greatest gift in the realm of intimacy.
    In fact, maybe our greatest gift altogether in life—longing for deeper love, for more love, for richer love.
    Our longing for love comes from the deepest roots of our being. It is a part of who we are, it is essential to who we are and what I've come to discover is those people who care the most about love, about having love and finding love, are the people most likely to have and find love.

    Quoting Barbra Streisand

    You know, but here's a gay man quoting Barbra Streisand but, what can I do, that song that says
    “People who need people are the luckiest people…”
    I used to wonder about that, why people who need people as opposed to people who have people and what I came to realize is it's about the wise people who know that they need people, who do the work to find people, to build a life that's rich with love because they know it matters that much.

    The importance of connection

    And they are people who really feel the importance of connection in a deep way. There are those of us–and I would imagine that many of you listening fit into this category–who hurt when connections are broken, when connections aren’t right, when they just don't feel right. But who also feel a lot of joy when there is a good and healthy connection. Some of us just register that with deeper passion and deeper sensitivity. And those people are those of us who long most deeply for healthy and lasting love, with our families, with our relations, our romantic relationship, with the world. So, this quality of longing for love, of caring that deeply, is one of the greatest qualities that we own. If you are someone who cares like this, I just want you to acknowledge that you are not one of those people who has spent your life numbing yourself to love, to your need for love because of your fear of pain. You are not someone who has settled for a relationship where there's not enough love and completely resigned yourself to that. You still care, that feeling of passion still burns in you.

    Who are the people most likely to find love?

    In my opinion, it's people who feel that, who are really in many ways, the most precious people of all. They are for me as a coach and a psychotherapist, the people most likely to be able to find love. And another reason for that is because it's those people who care that deeply who are willing to do the hard work of change. When we let ourselves feel our longing for love it burns, it hurts, it's a hard thing. But then, that longing becomes a kind of rocket fuel that gets us out of the gravity zone of our complacency, our fear of getting out there, and our kind of marriage to anti-intimacy patterns that we've lived with for a long time. The pain of not having connection is one of the only things that can burn deep enough to make us get out of our own way in finding love. So what happens, what happens then, when we make this change?

    Letting go of the myth

    What happens when we begin to let go of this myth that our longing for love is a weakness and we begin to think of it as wisdom? Well, one thing that happens is, and you know we need to be real about this, the feeling of longing is not an easy feeling. There’s a reason we run away from it. Loneliness is one of the hardest things that we can experience. So what do we do, what we do with that pain when we experience it? Well the first step when we experience longing, and this is something that I would like you to try the next time you're at a wedding and you're not with a partner, the next time you go to sleep alone, whatever it is that makes you feel that pang of missing this kind of a relationship.

    I want you to try this exercise:

    I want you to see this longing as part of the beating heart of your humanity.
    I'd like you to think: I'm starting to see it as a gift, as a gift of deep and profound caring, and I going to cherish this, and I’m going to honor it, and I'm going to recognize that if I let myself feel it, it's going to burn through old patterns of distance and avoidance that have kind of made things difficult for me in the past.
    Another thing is that a way to bear the pain, is to share it with someone you love and trust, someone who's not going to shame you for it, but who's going to honor it and kind of validate it and just be that kind of friend who makes space for it.

    Thich Nhat Hanh

    Thich Nhat Hanh, who is one of my great heroes, is a Buddhist monk who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King. I heard him speak about kind of the bitterness of pain and what to do with it, and he used an image of a vial of ink and he said, “Imagine you have a vial of ink and you empty it into a glass of water. That water is going to become pitch black from that ink. Sometimes our container can't bear the pain that life brings us, it's just too great. And, now imagine taking that vial pouring it into a river. Well, it would dissipate so much that you would barely even see it. “ And there is a magic that happens when we share our pain with people we love and trust. So that's one thing we do is share that.

    Doing what it takes to find the love you're longing for

    The other thing that I would ask you to do is work with the rocket fuel of your longing to say, "All right, this hurts, so I am going to make changes. I am going to do what it takes to find the love that I'm longing for. I am going to dignify this pain by saying it's here for a reason and it's teaching me something." And to use it as a way to get out there and try new things. But I want to say something about that too. It’s usually not enough. It's great to say I'm going to get out there and join a website. It's great to say I am going to join a dating service. All those things are great, I am all for them. I'm also really all for doing in-person things, in environments with people who share your values. But I want to say something else too because there's another piece to this, and that is I want to encourage all of you to think, you know when we get out there again, it's kind of like, there's the hope for a new beginning, but there's a fear of a replay of what happened before. And if you've had patterns that have ultimately not worked; the kind of attractions that you've had, the people you've ended up with, the situations you've ended up with, if there are patterns that have happened to you again and again, I want to encourage you to do more than just get out there. I want to encourage you to learn. Because your intimacy journey is one of the greatest journeys and the most important journeys of your adult life and we need to learn, we need to learn new skills.

    The deeper lessons of finding love

    The heart and soul of my book Deeper Dating is–it's a course in a book–teaching people the deeper lessons of finding love. There are wonderful, amazing teachers out there who teach it as well. But you don't want to look for a teacher that tells you that you need to become “irresistible.” You don't want to look for a teacher who tells you all the things you're doing wrong and that's why you're not finding love. You don't want a teacher who's going to make it all about how to “fix yourself” to make you more attractive to the right person, because this is a path of depth and meaning, and the deepest lessons of intimacy are the deepest lessons of dating and, healthy dating, successful dating, depends on not game playing but the deepest laws of intimacy. So you want to look for a teaching that empowers you and supports you and really feels like it has wisdom. So I'd like you to take a minute and just think back in your life. I like you to think about kind of, when you were child, any memories you have of your longing for love, and see if you could remember them now, not with self-condemnation but with the sense of, "That was a gift of mine. I was right. I was right to care that much about love that wasn't there, that I needed." Maybe think to your teen years or your young 20s. And longing that you felt then.

    Think of the wisdom in that longing

    How was it true that healthy love was missing for you, even if you didn't know how to look for it at the time? Now–think about right now and think about the longing for love and intimacy that you have, that for example led you to listen to this podcast, and see if you can honor it and cherish it and just kind of give up those messages that tell you it's a weakness. It is a gift. Your sensitivity and your passion around this issue is a gift, and it's in fact, one of the best parts of you.

    So the next time you feel that longing, try this process.

    Try this practice of beginning by honoring it and thinking, "I don't have to run away from this pain, I don't have to denigrate this pain. I can actually see it is one of the most precious and important parts of me and if I do that I will begin to get whispers of what I need to change and what I need to do differently. And I will listen because I will be recognizing how much this matters." This path of honoring your longing changes your future. It is essential that we do that because every time there is that pang of longing, it’s your deepest insides telling you something's missing, something’s needed, something's not right. And when you learn to honor that, you will dignify your being in profound ways and you will be on a path that's going to really enrich your life with love. Then why we are not taught this? I don't know. Maybe because we're not taught to honor our vulnerability. But as you learn to do this you will see changes that I think you'll really love and I think a path toward deeper love and intimacy in your life will become more clear to you.
    End your longing for love with Ken's book "Deeper Dating"
    Find lasting love with Ken's book "Deeper Dating"

    Links and resources from this episode

  • Why Do Spiritual People Have a Harder Time Finding Love? An Interview With Arielle Ford [E004]
    Arielle Ford is a worldwide bestselling author, relationship expert, and the producer and host of Evolving Wisdom’s “Amazing Art of Love” series. In this episode, she explains why spiritual people can have a harder time finding love–and offers her greatest insights for everyone who is seeking a soulmate relationship.
    Click to listen to “Why Do Spiritual People Have a Harder Time Finding Love?”
    Get ready to learn some of the simplest and most powerful techniques for finding love online and in day-to-day life. And prepare to be inspired.
    Why Do Spiritual People Have a Harder Time Finding Love? Here is the transcript.
    Why Do Spiritual People Have a Harder Time Finding Love? Here is the transcript:

    Welcome Arielle Ford

    And today we have our very first thought leader guest of this entire podcast series, and I’m thrilled that it’s my dear friend Arielle Ford. Let me tell you little bit about Arielle, and then, I’ll tell you a little bit personally about Arielle before we begin.

    Personal growth and contemporary spirituality

    So, Arielle Ford is a loving relationship expert, and a leading personality in the personal growth and contemporary spirituality movement, and for the past 25 years, she’s been living, and teaching, and promoting consciousness through all forms of media. She’s a speaker, and the producer and host of Evolving Wisdom’s amazing Art of Love series – that’s my word, amazing, because it is.
    Her mission is to help people with finding love, and keeping love, and most importantly, being connected to what we will be talking about today, to be loved.
    And Arielle is a gifted writer, and the author of 11 books, including the international bestseller The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction.
    Note: For links to Arielle’s site and contact info, please scroll to the bottom of this transcript…
    She’s just created the world’s first transformational coloring book, based on the Soulmate Secret, and it’s entitled Inspirations, Love by Design: Coloring the Divine Path to Manifest your Soulmate. And this book blends Arielle’s step-by-step method for manifesting and finding love with the romantic original artwork of artist Manja Burton. It’s a fun, creative and powerful process. And she’s also the author of Turn your Mate into your Soulmate, which is devoted to exploring a simple, fun and effective way to attain groundbreaking shifts in perception, so that you can embrace and find the beauty and perfection in yourself and your mate. And she has been called the Cupid of Consciousness and the Fairy Godmother of Finding Love, and she is. She lives in La Jolla California with her husband and soulmate, Brian Hilliard, and their feline friends. And you can join her newsletter at soulmatesecret.com. So welcome Arielle, so good to have you here. A: I’m excited to talk to you. This is really fun.

    How Ken and Arielle first met

    K: So, I just want to tell you a little bit about Arielle, and how she lives what she teaches. A number of years ago, I was in the search for a publisher for my book Deeper Dating. And I had loved Arielle’s work, and I knew that she was just the top leader in the field, and I called her, I don’t remember how I got your number, but I got her number. Total stranger, she had never heard of me. We talked like 45 minutes. She gave me the most incredible guidance. She connected with the ways we and our visions interacted. And she became what’s now a dear and lifelong friend. And so that’s just an example of Arielle kind of living an abundance of spirit that she teaches and really practices as well.

    Our topic today: Is love harder for spiritual people?

    is Finding Love harder for spiritual people?
    is Finding Love harder for spiritual people?
    So Arielle, today we’re to be talking about something very, very interesting. And it’s a subject that you wanted to speak about, and it is, is finding love harder for spiritual people? And I’d like you to share anything you want about this topic in general, so that we can kind of dive in from there. A: Yeah, you know, so I’ve been teaching this for over 10 years now, and I’ve noticed a pattern both in the people that came to my speaking events or my workshops, and, I mostly get a lot of straight women, that’s my core audience, they tend to be over forty, they tend to be smart and successful, and identify themselves as spiritual. And deeply troubled when it comes to finding love and keeping love. So, I’ve spent a lot time observing and talking to them, and trying to figure out, why is it so much harder for these smart, successful, spiritual women. And what I’ve discovered is a couple of things.

    Conflating healthy lifestyle and spirituality

    The first is, how they define spirituality. It seems like today a lot of people have conflated healthy lifestyle and healthy living with spiritual path. So a typical day for some of them might be that, you know, they wake up, they drink, they make an organic green drink. They get a Hot yoga class. They stop at Whole Foods later in the day for some organic healthy thing to eat. They might go to a Soul Cycle class. They are reading Deepak Chopra. But they are constantly beating themselves up. Very judgmental, not only when it comes to themselves, but to other people. And they somehow have decided that they want a spiritual man. And when I ask them to define what is a spiritual man, they say to me, “Well, someone who meditates and practices yoga.” Now, that’s, that does not define a spiritual man. So, for me spirituality is the very practice of giving love, and kindness, and compassion, and service. And none of the things that I’ve described had anything to do with finding love, kindness, compassion or generosity or service. K: That’s right.

    Living a life of purpose

    A: And certainly, I think what these women most want, is not a spiritual man. They want a conscious man. And a conscious man is man who lives his life on purpose. So, he may never mediate, never do yoga, never drink the green tea, never has heard of Deepak Chopra or Marianne Williamson. You know. But he’s very kind to his friends and family. He may be coaching Little League or volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters and more than anything, he wants to devote his life to your happiness.
    Now, doesn’t that sound better than his just going to meditate?
    A: And you know, if he meditates and he does it because he wants to deepen his connection to the divine, that’s wonderful. But a lot of people are meditating because they think they should. And then they have all kinds of guilt because they didn’t meditate or they don’t do it for the full twenty minutes or whatever it is. So, first we have to understand that if we’re going to find a spiritual being, we have to start with ourselves. And by starting with ourselves, that means we have to start managing our thoughts, and our beliefs and our emotions. So that when we start to beat ourselves up, we stop. And we look into the mirror, and we start to learn to love ourselves more.

    Healing some core wounds and finding your core gifts

    A: The other thing I’ve noticed is that many of these people that call themselves spiritual, are not only judgmental to themselves, but judgmental about everybody else. K: Because that’s how it works..! A: You know. And I think part of the reason for that is, ah, you know, we come into this life with core wounds. And then if we have half a brain, we want to figure out, how do I heal this, how do I stop being somebody who has a fear of abandonment…whatever the core wound is, you know. And, ah, so that’s where it all gets kind of messy for me. You know. I am one of these people. And you’re a therapist, maybe you disagree or agree with me.

    Core wounds can be a gift

    I actually believe that our core wounds are a gift. I think they are the reason we’re here. I also believe that no matter how much work you do in yourself, you can learn to manage your core wounds, you can learn to pacify yourself, you could possibly even get ninety percent better. But at the end of the day, it’s never going away freely. K: Absolutely not. And I deeply agree with that. And I believe that what I call our Core Gifts, are surrounded by our deepest wounds. They join together into an amazing matrix that equals being human. And what you’ve talked about is the way to get to the heart and soul of that matrix. And it’s through kindness and it’s through love. So, that this kind of spiritual approach that you’re describing is the same as like, getting perfect glutes and perfect abs, but just in another arena, and it’s a bypass of the thing that matters most. Which I think is a huge part of your lesson. So, what would you say to all of these women, and all of these men, and this includes people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, everybody. What would you say to this kind of whole crew of single people who care deeply about spirituality, but need to learn to decenter from beating themselves up and judging themselves and other people, and shift to a path of finding love, that’s based on these values. Give us advice.

    Where you can begin to start finding love in your life

    A: Well, you know, I happen to be married to a man that I consider a heart chakra on legs. He’s told me many times that his purpose for being alive is twofold. The first, is to take care of me. And the second, is to make sure that everybody he comes in contact with, has the experience of being loved. That’s his reason for getting out of bed in the morning. A: So, there is a line in the Course in Miracles, which I just love, and it says:
    The only thing that could be lacking in any situation is that which you’re not giving.

    The law of attraction

    So, if you’re saying that love is missing, where can you begin to get more love in your life? So, that’s part one of it. Part two is, all my teaching is based on the Law of Attraction. And Law of Attraction 101 states, that we draw to us the people, places and experiences that match our state of being. If our state of being is, I’m lovable, I’m loving, I’m deserving of love, I’m lucky in love, that’s most likely what you’ll see will show up in your life. But if your state of being is, I’m a loser in love, I’m unlucky in love, I’m completely unlovable, undeserving of love, that too will be your experience. A: Going back to our Course of Miracles, is, you know, the only thing that could be lacking in any situation, is that which I am not giving.
    So I believe the place to begin is by making a list of all the people that you know already love you, you know, friends, family, siblings, kids, parents, neighbors, coworkers, make a nice long list.

    A daily practice of gratitude

    And then create a daily practice of gratitude for all the love you already have. Because when you’re in the state of, Oh God, I am so blessed, I have all these people who love me, and it focuses on the abundance of love you already have, that is when your heart becomes magnetic to romantic love. K: I love what you’re saying, Arielle. And I want to add in a third category, of a kind of condition that we can find ourselves in, and ask for your thoughts on what to do when we’re in that state. That’s not the state where we are really, really negative and shut down. It’s not the state where we are open and loving. It’s the state where we are just hurting, feeling human, feeling burned out, feeling like our resources are limited and we’re not going to be able to shift right into this gratitude filled happy zone. What do we do when we are in that state which does comprise a chunk of our lives? A: That is a normal state. Which is why I believe in creating a spiritual toolkit, so that, when you’re in that state you can shift yourself out of it. So, I’ll tell you what’s in my spiritual tool kit. I like to do EFT tapping. K:Love that…! A: I think it’s great. You can learn how to do for free on the internet. Just Google EFT Tapping. Lots and lots ways to do it… K: And lots of research on that too! A: Yes, really great stuff. I like the Sedona method, which is a method of self talk, which is also highly learnable.

    Feelingizations

    I also do what I call Feelingizations, and these are available for free at my website. If you go to soulmatesecret.com, and click on free stuff, you can get thousands of things for free, but what that is: Oh, I am visualizing, I want a new navy blue convertible BMW, and I see myself driving down the freeway with the top down, and I can smell the leather seats, and you have all these beautiful pictures in your head.
    But on the emotional level, what you’re feeling is, I can’t afford it, I don’t deserve it, it’s never going to happen, and that thought cancels out, all the pretty pictures you just made.

    Leaving your head for your heart

    So in the Feelingizations, what I do, I guide you through leaving your head, dropping down into your heart, and remember and re-experience points of love and appreciation, and gratitude. And when we do this with our attention in our hearts, we drop into a measurable, scientific state known as heart coherence. And when we’re in the state of heart coherence, that’s when the manifestation can take place. So, in a couple of minutes we’re in this state of love, and then if your desire is to meet and marry your soulmate life partner, then you can drop that into your heart, and using your imagination, how am I feeling at a deep soul level. I want to take it one step further, you can actually meet your soulmate today, by doing the Feelingization on my site, called the golden cord, because in the world of quantum science, there is a couple of things that have been proven. One is that time does not exist, this now moment, there’s no past, there’s no future, there’s just this now moment. But we also know is that in quantum science we all exist in the field, and in the field, we’re already connected to our soulmate life partner. If you drop down in your heart, and you go into the field, and you’re in this high frequency state of love, and appreciation, gratitude, you can send a golden cord out to your beloved, even though you don’t know who he or she is, or his or her name or where they live, you can meet them before they show up in the 3-D world.

    Love before first sight

    You can start a relationship today, and you do that by talking to them heart to heart. So, this is what I like to call love before first sight.
    K: I love that. And you practiced this manifestation in your own life to meet Brian, didn’t you? A: Yeah, everything I teach, only came about because it’s what I did. You know, I didn’t wake up one morning and said, OK, I’m going to become a love expert that was like, not on the to do list anywhere, ever. I worked in publicity and publishing most of my life. And it was only when I decided to manifest a soulmate for myself, and made it work really well and really quickly, and people started asking me how I did it, and one thing led to another, and now this is what I do, I get to teach love for a living, it’s such a blessing, as you know.

    Deeply sensitive people

    A: I love that. I love that. Let me ask you another question about spiritual people, and I want to kind of shift the word there to deeply sensitive people, because in my experience often when we are deeply highly sensitive, we need to protect ourselves, and sometimes we can protect ourselves inside a world of spirituality and personal growth without realizing because that there’s a fear that’s is stopping us from getting out there. So, I’d like to hear any of your thoughts… A: Yeah, I’m an HSP. I’m just driven crazy by bright lights and loud noises, and crowds. I had to learn to how manage that, and manage. K: For those people who don’t know how to reach out yet, want a quiet, safe space, but also know that they need to get out there to date. Any thoughts that you want to share for them and how to…

    About intuition

    A: There’s two things. First, let’s talk about intuition. OK. Because for spiritual people and sensitive people tend to be intuitive. And they make a huge mistake when it comes to dating, because they rely on their intuition to help them find love. And that’s the worst thing you can do, because you cannot be your own intuitive, like you don’t want to be your own lawyer, or your own doctor. OK. What you need to know when it comes to manifesting love, is you have to be very practical. There are practical things to consider. So, women have this crazy belief, “If my soulmate comes to the front door and I open the door, I’m marry in twenty seconds whether or not he’s the one.” K: And let me just say, men as well. Without a doubt. A: But sometimes men do know. I’ve met more men that have known, but I’ve very rarely meet women who do know. And the reason is because for men’s and women’s brain are wired differently. And so women fall in love between their ears. And they actually need to take the time to get to know a man or get to know a woman, and get to know their values. And in my research of interviewing so many couples, it usually takes them to up the fifth date before a woman even starts to really feel chemistry. K: I love that, and that’s so important. And guys and want to tell you. That even though you know if you’re attracted to someone or not, right of the bat, that can grow, and the research backs that up as well, and you have some very interesting research on that, Arielle as well.

    Second chances

    A: Yes, you really got to take your time and give people a chance, you know. My friend Carol Allan has this great line, she says, that if you go out on a first date with somebody, and they didn’t a hundred percent gross you out, then give them a second chance. All of us get nervous on first dates… K: Absolutely. I remember speaking to a mentor of mine, and I was dating someone, and told John, I said, you know, I liked him, but I wasn’t that attracted. And I don’t know if I should see him again, is that wasting time. And he said to me, keep dating him and over time he will either become more beautiful to you or he won’t, and then you’ll know. And I just loved that.

    Super hot chemistry?

    A: And the other thing to remember is that if you meet somebody, and there is this super-hot chemistry right away, run, just run, that’s not real. Let’s talk about what love really is. K: Oh, please do. A: So, most people think that love is just a feeling. And there are feelings to love. But when you’re in that state that we call being in love, I’d like to call that the social acceptable form of insanity. It’s a drug high. It’s dopamine, and adrenaline, and oxytocin, and all kind of other things that I can’t even pronounce, cascading through your brain, it’s actually nature’s trick to get us to procreate. That’s not love. Love is a behavior. It’s a practice. K: And an intention… A: Truth. A decision, an action. A: And when you’re with your soulmate life partner there will be days. I guarantee it, when you don’t like them, you even hate them, but doesn’t mean that you don’t love them… K: So important…

    Understanding real adult love

    A: It’s really important to understand what real adult mature love is. All you care, intuitive people, can’t really trust their feelings in the beginning. Now, there is one caveat to that. If you’re getting a feeling like you’re in danger, there’s a strong red flag, I you had felt something and heard something, before you run, question the person because you may be misinterpreting them, don’t make assumptions, you can just easily say, “Wow, I just heard you say ABC, did you mean XYZ?” And get clarity, because you may have misheard them and misunderstood, you know, so it’s important not to put yourself in danger. It’s more important to ask good questions. K: It is. And you know, there’s a question that we can ask of ourselves, that I think bypasses that state of hypnosis, and the question is this, does my soul feel safe with this person? And you don’t know right way, but it’s a great intention question, because over time, you will. And that’s a way of kind of get to that deeper intuition at the same time…

    When to introduce your family and friends

    A: And if you dated someone more than five times, that’s a good time to start making sure your friends and family meet them, because they will see things that you can’t see… K:They sure will. That’s right. And if you’re open to listening, they’ll tell you in a New York minute. A: Right, and probably you won’t listen! K: That’s right, and you and I doing the work that we do, have had that experience so many times… A: That’s why I am not into coaching anymore because it just drives me crazy… A: Oh my God! You’ve just wasted an hour of my time, I told you everything that’s’ going to happen, and you went for it anyway, so I just gave up coaching, cause I just don’t have the patience…

    Connected to love

    K: Arielle, I am going to ask you another question, because what you’re saying in a way, is that so much of this work, is to put yourself, I think you’re saying, is to put yourself into the space where love can hit you, where you’re in love, where you are loved, a comfort zone where you’re connected to love, and that’s the primary task. And I am going to ask you, if I could, if you’re willing to describe, when you’re going into that state, what is like for Arielle? A: Oh, that’s easy. When I am being loved and experiencing love it feels like there’s Champagne bubbles running through me. It’s just this really happy bubbling, vibrant feeling,you know, when Brian and I are together, and we’re just in synch, we don’t even have to be talking, it’s just this kind of nice mood, right together, you know, he’s there for me, I’m there for him, and it’s just, I call him my safe place to land…

    Arielle’s advice on online dating

    K: I love that. I love that. Arielle, all the listeners out there who really care about growing, and learning, or they wouldn’t be here, and deeply want love in their lives, or they wouldn’t be here, what would you most want to tell them to do? A: Get online, start online dating. It is the number one place to meet somebody, one in three marriages now start online. There’s been some new research, which I haven’t been able to a hundred percent confirm yet, but basically they all show that fifty percent of those marriages end up in divorce, and the numbers go up from there. An early study showing, that people who meet and marry online, the divorce rate drops to eight percent, because people who are looking for love, are out there looking for love.

    Now, are there pitfalls to being online?

    Absolutely. Are you going to meet some liars and some lizards? I guarantee it… K: Does online dating sculpt jerky behavior? Without a doubt… A: I don’t, I don’t exactly know that, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I’ll tell you a quick story. I have a girlfriend named Liz, and when she was forty nine, and never married, she decided that she was going to go online for a year, and that if she didn’t find her soulmate, she was just going to mortgage her house to hire a match maker. And Liz went to Match.com, and I’ll talk more about that for a second, and she had seventy nine first dates in nine months, a very busy successful woman, who has been studying the same people we like forever.
    Seventy nine first dates, and number eighty has now been her husband for seven years.
    K: I love it. That’s practical advice. That’s really practical advice. But I want to ask you if you could distinguish between places like Match.com and geo-social apps like Tinder that have like. A: I actually can’t, but here, what I can tell you from experience, that I’ve had seven friends, all women over fifty, who have met conscious, fabulous, successful adorable men, and marry them from Match.com. And I’ve heard that E-Harmony is also very good, if marriage is what you’re looking for. I’m not a dating expert when it comes to Tinder or Bumble, although I have a friend who met her husband on Tinder, she was forty, and she was a triathlete, and that was one of her must-haves, he had to love God, and be a triathlete and have high integrity, and she just had her second baby…

    Ritual aspects of online dating

    K: Wow. Arielle, this is very you. You’re really practical. You’re really down to earth, and you’re saying, folks, get on to online dating, it’s the easiest and quickest way, and use it. In the most conscious way you can. A: And this how I’d use it if you’re a spiritual person. A: If you are a spiritual person, my friend Lara Fernandez teaches this, make it a ritual. Carve out thirty minutes every day, and before you get online, light a candle, have some flowers, smell some aromatherapy, say a prayer, do it a little process and make it a spiritual experience. Just like you would sit down to meditate, you’re sitting down to ask God and all your ancestors on the other side, and all our angels and devas to help you search the site that you’re on to find your soulmate.

    Don’t wait for them to find you

    What I’d suggest to woman in particular is, don’t sit around waiting for someone to find you. Be super proactive. Get out there and start reading profiles, and when you find a profile that there is at least one thing that you like, that you respond to, send that person a message, it only needs to be one sentence, so let’s say, I find your profile, Ken, and it says there that your absolutely favorite food is the Hawaiian Pizza at Tony’s. And that’s actually my favorite pizza too. So I can send you a one sentence message, that says, hey, Ken, I think we’re pizza soulmates, I also like the Hawaiian Pizza at Tony’s. Period, not another word. And of course they are going to look at your profile, and if they are interested, they write you back. And there you can start the conversation.

    Searching for shared values

    K: I love it. And you know, another thing that you could do along the lines of what you’re saying, you can do a search for spiritual words. You can do a word search a keyword search for #spirituality, for #volunteer work, for #nature, and that’d help you find people who share values with you really quickly… A: And I wouldn’t use the word spiritual, and here is why, because it means different things to different people, and spirituality, as we’ve just discovered isn’t the same as a life style, doesn’t tell you enough about their values, if they were true, you know who Russell Simmons is, he has written lots of books on yoga and spirituality, and is being indicted for four rapes right now. Just because someone meditates or does yoga, is zero indication that they share your values. A: Right, but that’s true with volunteer work, and anything else as well…

    Finding what contributes to your happiness

    A: Yeah, and you really have to ask yourself with these keywords is, so my friend Shanda, who had to have someone who is a triathlete–triathletes are maniacs and you have to understand their compulsion to exercise fifteen million hours a week. You know, figure it out–what is the one or two things, the value, that is going to contribute to your long term happiness, you know, think through that, because just because someone meditates, listen you can meditate with somebody every day, but you both can have your eyes closed, it doesn’t really contribute to your long term happiness. You know, if you are somebody who absolutely has to live through the beach, and you know that, look for that, must love beach. Or, like I am a cat lover, I try but I’ve had cats my whole life, I could never be with somebody who is allergic to cats, no matter how nice they are. And I also love adventure travel, so I couldn’t be with someone who doesn’t have a passport. You know, so really think about, what are the “three most haves”, and search that way.

    Finding your “must haves”

    K: And what I would encourage everybody to do is to stretch in your must haves, and ask yourselves this, if there was somebody who was your soulmate, but they didn’t have that one quality, would you say no to them? And if the answer is you wouldn’t say no to them, then you might want to reconsider stretching, because the universe protects in situations where the people we expect are not the people we get. My husband, perfect example of what you’re saying, doesn’t meditate, he doesn’t do yoga, he doesn’t do any of those things… A: And Ken, I don’t do meditate or do yoga, but my husband does. Imagine if that was… K: A prerequisite… A: Yeah, I’m not a spiritual person? No. I definitely am a Jewish-Christian, Hindu-Buddhist-Pagan. And I have lots of rituals that I do all time. I am a spiritual mutt. But if he says, must do yoga… We wouldn’t be together… K: So this is something about opening up your field of reference, being open to being surprised by life. And that comes back to your original premise, which is don’t have models of what you have to have, but actually, take you out of your heart.

    A short deal breaker list

    A: Yeah, I also say is good to have a short deal breaker list… Well, I’m allergic to tobacco. I could never be with a smoker and remain healthy. K: Not an option… A: Very difficult. So, one of my must haves is, or was, and still is, must live a healthy life style. That takes care of all things, addictions, smoking, you know, super risky behavior, you know, and another thing is that , giving that poverty consciousness is my core wound, I knew I needed someone who was financially responsible. So, I am not dictating how much money they make or don’t make. But, whatever money they have, I needed somebody who could be financially responsible with that much. K: Yes, yes. So important too. So, that you’re not triggered. And each of us has our own triggers, whatever they are…So Arielle, do you have any closing thoughts, for folks that are highly sensitive, or spiritual or just care deeply about personal growth, and are longing for a relationship? And are listening to this episode, and listening to you. And in a few minutes I’m going to ask you to tell about how people can get in touch with you.

    Last words from the heart

    K: But for now, any last words from your heart that you may want to share with this learning community? A: You know, here’s what I know for sure. Right now there are seven point six billion people online on the net. Half of them are single.
    You’re virtually tripping over potential soulmates every single day.
    And the reason we don’t recognize them is because you are not paying attention, and you’re not making yourself visible. You may be out in the world. You may be standing up in line at Starbucks, but if you’re looking down on your smartphone, that sends a very clear signal that you’re not available.
    So it’s really critical that you make yourself visible.
    And at every level. When you’re getting out of the house, that you’re online dating, you’re going to meet-ups, you’re telling everybody you know that you are open, willing and available for a long term committed relationship, and do they know anybody. And then you start putting yourself up there. And yes, there will be days when you’re terrified. So what? You know. Yes, you’re going to have some bad dates. So what? You know, my friend Evan Mark Katz has this good line, he says to people, did you ever to out to dinner and have a bad meal? Of course, everybody says yes. And the next question is, but did you stop eating? A: And I say, don’t stop. Put yourself out there, just like my friend Liz had seventy nine first dates, number eighty was the grand prize. And he’s absolutely perfect for her. And they couldn’t be happier.

    Where to find Arielle’s work

    K: Arielle, those words were so wonderful that I wish I could frame them. Every word counted. I think that you captured in both the most practical and sparkling way possible what everybody should be doing. I can’t thank you enough for being part of the show. And I’d like to ask you, how people can learn more about your work, how can they get in touch with you, and how they can learn from you, where do they go to do that? A: It’s all in my website, soulmatesecret.com. And in my live speaking events are listed there, if I have stuff coming up, there it is. And also go to the free stuff tab, and get the Feelingnizations and start doing those. I only do three weekends a year. So my next one on will be in February at 1440 Multiversity, which just outside San Jose, it’s the newest retreat center, it’s kind of like Four Seasons meets Omega. It’s fantastic.. And then I’m in Chicago for one day. But, I’m easy to find, I’m also on Facebook at facebook.com/soulmatesecret. And what I really want to tell your listeners is listen to you, listen to Ken, because he knows what’s he’s talking about.

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Ken’s Deeper Dating Book:

    Finding love with Ken Page's book called "Deeper Dating"
    Finding love with Ken Page’s book called “Deeper Dating”
  • The Greatest Practice To Speed Your Path to Love [E003]
    In this episode, I will teach you the most potent and joyful practice I know to speed your path to love. If you care about intimacy, this practice can change your life—don’t miss it!
    Your Path to Love
    I call this practice “The Inner Mentor Process™ ”—and somehow it bypasses the inner critical voice and connects you to a stream of wisdom that matches anything the greatest dating experts could ever teach you—myself included! In this episode, I’ll guide you in this process and teach you how you can make it part of your life. Download it and you can use it every day. Get ready for a new adventure in intimacy, wisdom, and healing. You’ll thank yourself for listening.
    Speed your path to love transcript
    The Speed Your Path To Love transcript follows below:

    The "Inner Mentor" Process™

    Your inner mentor can help speed your path to love
    Discover how your inner mentor can help speed your path to love
    So if you're someone who cares deeply about your personal growth and your capacity for intimacy and good healthy relationships, and I'm sure you do because you're listening to this podcast, I think you will love this process. And I'm very, very excited to share it with you, it's just one of the most wonderful practices that I know. I call this the Inner Mentor Process™, because what you're going to be doing is connecting with an inner mentor. Your inner mentor. A voice and a self inside of you that is filled with wisdom and compassion, and sees the bigger and broader picture and guides you. And for creating what's called Characterological Change, which is change that's like from the bones from the structure of our being, the places where we're hard wired. It's just one of the most powerful processes I know.

    How this process came about for me

    I'm going to share with you how this process came about for me. Many years ago when I was in my early thirties, I was given a project which was, for me at that time very, very big and exciting, and very demanding. I got to create a conference at Columbia University on anything I wanted, and what I decided to do it on was integrating ’spirituality into psychotherapy with the LGBT community. And I was given carte blanche to create this however I wanted. And I was thrilled and I was terrified.

    I created an exercise that I thought would help me

    So, I created an exercise that I thought would help me. And what I did was, I pictured a me that could handle a project like that. Kind of the me that I dreamed of being, that I didn't really feel like at that time. And I became that person and I gave myself guidance from that place. And I will never forget that experience and the guidance I got.
    And the amazingness of experiencing this me that just kind of came as a revelation, and I knew that it was the me that I am meant to be.
    And I did this conference, and it went wonderfully, and what's amazing is for 30 something years after I created that process, I never did it again. Because the power and the beauty of that person that I became was, for many reasons, something I felt like I didn't deserve. So I avoided it completely for really three decades, because I felt unworthy of it. And then given a lot of shifts in my life, I finally decided to come back to that being, even though it was scary and intimidating, and I did. And what I realized is that I did not have to be afraid of this process. Because the me that I had conjured up, who guided me, was very kind and very full of love. And was able to see me with a kind of grace and gentleness that I was, and still am, unable to see myself with, in so many ways.

    How this process bypasses the inner critical voice

    It's like cheating at a maze. And I don't know if you've ever cheated in a maze. This is an image that I use. But if you've ever done a maze, you know that you kind of start at the outside and you take your pencil and you try to work your way in, and you hit a million different baffles, and you go in the wrong direction, and then you have to come back out and go again in a different direction. You have to keep doing that. And it's frustrating. And that's kind of what the growth journey is like when we start from where we are, and try to get through the obstacles that we have.
    The wisest way is to start from where you want to be, and then work your way backwards to where you are.
    And if you’ve never done that with a maze puzzle, you should try it. It's really cool. You take your pencil, and you put it in the center of the maze, and then you work your way out. That's cheating. But it works. And you'll pretty much instantly be able to find the quickest and easiest and sweetest path that you can, then backtrack, and use it to get to the center of the maze.

    Use this podcast to speed your path to love

    This process is the same. And I'm going to lead you in it, and guide you in it. And you can use this podcast as often as you want, you can use it every day, to help you get to this place.
    And you're going to go to it, hopefully frequently, and every time you do, you're going to get a message.
    And that's my daily meditation. That message becomes my daily meditation. I write it down. I actually speak it into my phone. So it's written down for me. Other people I know create posts-its and they put it up on their computer. But however you do it, it becomes your meditation for the day. And what this process does over time is, it grooms you for your greatness. It helps you get past your obstacles to become the person you're meant to be.

    Finding your inner voice

    So, just one thought to help you kind of picture this in another way. Picture being in a giant mansion. And you're trying to get to a particular room. But you're lost, and it's hard, and you know it's one of the rooms you want to get to, but it's hard to get to. Now imagine someone in that room, or in the hall outside of that room, calling to you. You hear that voice and you're guided in the right direction. You are going to have your wisest self calling to you. And it's going to shorten the amount of time it takes you to get to become the person that you want to become. And the best news is, of course, that this is a part of you already.
    The you that you're going to be envisioning in the next few minutes, is the you that you are. It's a you that has been calling to you anyway. And now you're going to listen.
    And, the voice that you come up with is going to surprise you, it's going to intrigue you, it's going to heal you You’ll see. Somehow you tap into a circuitry that connects to your own Inner Mentor.

    Let's Begin The Inner Mentor Process™

    All right. Let's begin now. What I'd like you to do is take a moment, and get a paper and pen. Now, when I lead, when I do this process myself, I do something called tapping, or EFT. It's basically tapping on a number of meridian points that are acupressure points. And there's a lot of great information on YouTube that teaches you how to do that. I do that for 15 minutes before I do this exercise. But, you could do this exercise when you're walking down the street. It could take you one second. Once you know how to imagine this self, it's easy and it's fast. But today, I'm going to guide you in a mini-meditation that you can use anytime you want. You may not need it after this time, but it's available to you. And I'm going to guide you in a minute in a micro-meditation, to help you be able to connect to this beautiful part of you. And then get a message from that place.

    Close your eyes

    Ok. So, what I'd like you to do is I'd like you to close your eyes now. Get comfortable. Get cozy. Take a breath or two. Good. Just relax. And I'm going to ask you to picture some things, and I want to say to you, don't worry about picturing them perfectly. You could picture them generally. You could picture them vaguely. You could go in and out of connectedness and attention. Don't worry. Because when you just get little glimpses that's going to be enough. So,
    I'd like you to start out by picturing a time in your life when a really good sense of love was flowing through you.
    And I want you to not use a memory that kind of ended in a betrayal or a really bad situation. One that you can go back to with a good feeling inside.

    Remember a time

    But just remember a time that love was kind of streaming in you. It could be with another person. It could be with a pet. It could be a spiritual experience. It doesn't matter. Just remember that time. Remember how good that felt. How you you felt at that moment. How it felt in your body. You don't have to cling too hard to this. You could just let it flow like a beautiful breeze that you feel that comes and goes. But just remember that experience. A feeling so connected to love.
    Just remember a time that love was kind of streaming in you. It could be with another person. It could be with a pet. It could be a spiritual experience.
    It doesn't matter. Just remember that time. Remember how good that felt. How you felt at that moment. How it felt in your body. You don't have to cling too hard to this. You could just let it flow like a beautiful breeze that you feel that comes and goes. But just remember that experience. A feeling so connected to love.

    Feeling connected to yourself

    And now I'd like you to think about a time that you felt really connected to yourself. Really deeply free and comfortable in your own being. Whatever that memory is. Just give yourself time to remember it. Imperfectly is fine.
    That fabulous feeling of being comfortable in your own skin. And being good with you. By liking you.
    That great feeling. Just remember that. How that feels in your body. How that felt in your body. And now I'm going to ask you to just hold those with pleasure. We're going to move to another memory.

    Feeling loved by someone

    I want you to think about feeling loved by someone. And again, someone with whom ultimately you did not feel kind of betrayed.
    A memory that can still feel like a good memory. Maybe a pet. Maybe a grandparent. A loved one. A child. A spiritual figure. But a time that you just felt loved.
    I want you to remember that. How it felt to have the pores of your heart so open. How good it felt. And think of maybe one person who has loved you like that. And how good it has felt to be loved like that. Just take a minute to thank that person for loving you like that. Now think of another person. Or a pet. Or a spiritual figure. Let yourself just kind of bask for a moment in the memory of being loved. Being seen and being loved like that. Don't worry if your memories are imperfect. Don't worry if they were short. Don't worry if you weren't even able to get some of these memories at all. Because my guess is that something in these little questions that I asked did come up for you. And just let yourself feel warmed by that. By those memories.

    Into the Inner Mentor process™

    And now, we’re moving into the Inner Mentor process™.
    I want you to imagine the you that you feel you're meant to be.
    The you on the other side of the glass ceilings of fear and unworthiness. A you who can love. A you who's good in your own skin. A you who's full of love, creativity. The you that you are meant to be. The you who is fully alive. But you don't have to become this self. All I want you to do is imagine it. That's all. Picture that you. Fully you. Alive you. Loving you. Peaceful you. The you you're meant to be. And just take a look at this image. You might notice even what you're wearing. And where you are. How you're standing. And now look at your face. And look at what your face reflects when you're in this beautiful space. Look at what your face reflects. Look at what your eyes show. What your face shows. And now imagine what it's like to be in your skin. Living this way. This you is unafraid to be you. To live as you. Just picture what it's like to be in your skin. Not afraid to express yourself. Not afraid to believe in yourself.

    Jump into the skin of that you

    And now what I want you to do, is I want you to just imagine that you jump into the skin of that you. That you don't have to earn it. You don't have to become it. It's a fantasy. You just imagine. Give yourself the gift of just imagining you there right now. Because it's you. Anyway, it's the you you're meant to be.
    So, just imagine that all of a sudden you are that evolved version of yourself.
    You give yourself the gift of being that you. Just enjoy that, for a moment. And now what I want you to do is to, from this place of being your own Inner Mentor, this evolved you, this older brother, older sister, more evolved self–I want you to look at the you of today. Sitting here right now. Striving. Caring. Caring about growth. Longing to grow. Longing to find and have deeper love. Look at that you of today. And from this vantage point of being this full you, think, what do I most want to say to that me, the me of today? From the vantage point of your Inner Mentor. This wonderful self.
    Look at the you of today and think, what do I most want to tell her? What do I most want to say to him? What does he, what does she most need to hear from me now? What matters most?

    Write to yourself

    Now, I want you to take your paper and pen, and write to yourself. And just let it flow. Be this self as if you're channeling it, and just write whatever comes. And the more raw, and the more flowing, and the riskier what you write is, the more wisdom it's going to be filled with. So just write from the guts. And you can pause the podcast here. And you can just take some time to write. OK. Good. So now, what I'd like you to do is come back to you, and just imagine thanking this Inner Mentor. And allowing yourself to feel this Inner Mentor join with you, so you're together. And just look at what you wrote. Here's what I want to tell you.
    You do not need to look for the next guru's message or the next wise person's message. What you've got in your hands right here is your next step.
    It's like you've climbed the mountaintop, it happened to have been right there inside you all along, and you've gotten true wisdom. The question is, are you willing to follow it?

    Your daily meditation

    And what I'd like you to do is to have that be your daily meditation for today, whatever it is. You're not going to follow it perfectly or anywhere near perfectly. But that's not your goal. Your goal is just to remember this message during the day and to look, love it and to enjoy it. To savor it. Do this, and do it regularly, and you will become groomed for your own greatness. Day by day, step by step, you are going to become closer and closer to that Inner Mentor, the person you long to be. And let me just say a few things about this. One thing is, and I mentioned this before, but I want to mention it again. I do not know how this works. But, there is some way that you bypass the circuitry of inner criticism. And if you look at what you wrote, it was probably filled with warmth and kindness and love. It's an amazing thing because, for example, I'm not so good at giving myself a break. But every day when I do this process, I give myself a break. It's like I tune into a good parent that I have a very hard time curating and creating for myself, in normal day to day life. But doing this process, I somehow do, there's a kindness and a gentleness, and there's a bypassing of the inner critic that is just exquisite.

    Somehow this exercise helps you find the good

    And go with the good. Some days when you do this process, you're going to get messages that are pretty salty or pretty intense. Other days they'll be very gentle. Sometimes you may get the same message again and again and again and again. All of those things are wonderful. You just follow the process, wherever it leads you. I know someone who sometimes gets fashion advice. This Inner Mentor will say, “wear your sexy boots today!” I know stories of people who were told, “Go for a walk.” And on that walk, met someone, who was really, important to them. I know that from myself doing this process. I had been guided to insights and actions, that in a million years, I never would have thought of, that changed the course of my life.

    So this is an exercise of self-empowerment

    Self-empowerment, in the purest form. It is an exercise that will teach you how to love others, and how to love yourself. And it will help groom you to become the person that you dream of being. It's like those daily meditation books. This is your daily meditation. And I want to encourage you to do this. Now you don't have to do this long process, as I said before. You could be sitting on the subway, and close your eyes for one minute, picture your Inner Mentor, and say, what does she have to say? What does he have to say? And almost always you're going to get a response. And that response is it going to be filled with an earthy wisdom that is tailor-made for you. So I hope you enjoy this exercise. I hope it helps you speed your path to love. I hope you don't do what I did, which was feel intimidated by the greatness of the me that I felt I was meant to be, and avoid it. I would encourage you to kind of dive in and use it every day. And let me know, write, write in or record a response to me, and let me know what your experiences are with this, because I'd love to hear them and I'd love to share them with other listeners of the podcast.
    Speed your path to love with Ken's book
    Speed your path to love with Ken's book
  • The Three Stages Of Deeper Dating [E002]
    Our intimacy journey is the greatest journey of our lives. There are three stages that comprise this journey, and in this episode, I explain each of them. By the end of the episode, you’ll know which stage you’re in, and what you need to do to move forward to the next. Discover the three stages of dating, and how to navigate them to find love:
    Episode 2: The Three Stages Of Deeper Dating
    Stage 1 occurs when you learn to let go of people and situations that chip away at your sense of self-worth. When that happens, everything begins to change. Stage 2 is that in-between space where you’ve lost interest in people who aren’t available, aren’t healthy or don’t treat you right—but the new generation of people just hasn’t arrived yet. We’ll talk about how to make the most out of this awkward stage—and how move out of it more quickly! Stage 3 occurs when our dating lives begin to populate with people who are safer, more available, and who are able to love us for who we are. There’s a whole different rule-book for these relationships, and you’ll learn about it in this episode.
    Three Stages Of Deeper Dating Transcript

    Three Stages Of Deeper Dating – Introduction

    The 3 stages have a kind of epic quality because every one of them is so big and changes us in such deep ways. And, as you take these three steps in your life, it’s going to move you forward toward a more loving life, a richer life and toward romantic love–the romantic love that you seek–because the greatest lessons of dating are the lessons of true intimacy. And the lessons of true intimacy are the greatest lessons of our lives.

    As I describe these stages, see where you are

    You may find one foot in each of the three stages of deeper dating, but just use this to identify where you are in your journey, what you’ve come through, what you’ve learned, and what’s next for you. And for each of these stages, I’m going to give you examples to help you understand more fully, and I’m also going to tell you how to move through the stages more quickly and how to use them more effectively to enrich your entire intimacy journey.

    Stage 1 – Finding Your Sense Of Self Worth

    Three Stages of Deeper Dating - Stage 1 Finding A Sense Of Self Worth
    Stages
    The first stage of the three stages of deeper dating is really quite an amazing stage. It sometimes even has a majestic quality, and it’s not easy to come by. But at its heart, this is the stage where we begin to lose our taste for people and relationships and situations that chip away at our sense of self-worth. When that happens, everything begins to change. Here’s a quote from my book Deeper Dating about this first stage:
    “At a certain point, and usually as a result of tremendous pain, we’ll begin to lose our taste for relationships that chip away at our sense of self-worth. We find we just can’t stomach the thought of being hurt like that again.”

    The end of a dead end era

    When we become less sticky to these kind of attractions, a dead end era of our dating life is finally coming to an end. Now we can begin the real work of intimacy, cultivating our attraction to relationships that feed and nurture us. In dating, and in all of our relationships, we start to clean house, emptying our lives of unnecessary interactions with relationships of deprivation. At its heart, this stage is where we learn perhaps the greatest lesson of love. It’s the lesson we’ve all heard countless times, but it is not easy. It is to be ourselves. But that is no simple thing. Because who we really are is loaded with qualities of sensitivity, of passion, of uniqueness, of differentness, that have gotten us hurt in the past.

    Finding our most authentic selves

    If you imagine the image of a target, and if you imagine that the closer you get to the center, the closer you’re getting to the core of who you really are; your very soul, the places where you care the most. And we know that the places we care the most are the places where we can be hurt the most. And these places are the home of the most authentic us. But because people take advantage of those qualities in us, and because were never taught how to understand our unique geniuses, these qualities–so unique and so different, so tender and so passionate–sometimes feel not like gifts but like curses. People take advantage of them, step on them, and neglect them, so we learn to cover them up, and we create a false self. Now here’s the amazing thing:
    When we live by our false self, we become attracted to people who step on us, people who chip away at us, people who can’t love us.
    Why that’s true is a subject for a future episode, but it is true. And in this stage, what happens is that we begin to excavate these qualities and learn how to honor them and cherish them, we learn how to dignify those parts of ourselves that are uniquely us. And it’s one of the holiest, greatest, the most powerful parts of our intimacy journey.

    Learning to cherish ourselves

    In my work teaching this kind of approach, I’ve seen countless people learn the process of cherishing these parts of themselves that they were once ashamed of, and embarrassed by. Maybe qualities of generosity; for example, someone who, let’s say, has been successful in their lives and has a generous heart, and is giving but found herself giving as a way to win love–from people who couldn’t give in the same way back, not necessarily financially, but in any way. And so they realize that their abundance has been taken advantage of. Or another example of that is a kind of generosity of spirit. It might not involve financial or material abundance, but might involve just the kind of person who loves to give. If you’re someone who loves to give, God forbid you don’t know that your people need to be people who love to to give back, because you will waste your gifts in the most painful ways on people who just milk that quality of yours. So people with that kind of generosity need to stop and need to learn to honor and dignify that quality, and realize that not everyone has that quality, that their people and their tribe are those people that treasure that part of them and know how to give it back. This is how we learn to dignify our most authentic qualities. And when we do that, our attractions begin to change.

    Leading with our soul

    Chip Conley, a dear friend and best-selling author of the book Emotional Equations and Wisdom at Work, said, after reading Deeper Dating, that in his mind:
    The key to finding a soul mate is simply to lead with your soul.
    And that just means leading with your deepest, truest self, the part of you at the center of this target, the core of you. And, in order to lead with our soul, we need to be able to dignify our soul, the core and the heart of who we are, and that’s what happens in this stage. And when that happens, when we begin to honor what I call our “Core Gifts,” these qualities of deep authenticity, of tenderness and vulnerability, of generosity, of passion, when we learn to honor these qualities that, maybe we’ve been ashamed of or, haven’t known how to honor before in the past, something amazing thing happens: We lose our taste for those people with whom, we feel like we have to prove our worth. People who we have to ask them again and again to be available–which ultimately they can’t really do.

    Start honoring your best qualities

    So in this first stage, as you learn to dignify the qualities that are the most authentically you and learn to stop saying, “Well, I’m just too sensitive”, and to begin to think, “I’m deeply sensitive.”
    Stop thinking, I keep getting taken advantage of, what’s wrong with me and start thinking I have qualities of generosity that are profound and I need to honor them and take care of them.
    Stop thinking, Why do I always end up with people that are unfaithful, and start thinking, loyalty matters to me deeply, to me it’s a core gift of mine, it’s an important quality and I’m going to finally learn how to honor and dignify that. When we do that, everything changes. And that’s the first stage, and I’ve seen it happen with so many people in their intimacy journeys. They begin to learn to treasure who they are, instead of constantly working on how they have to fix themselves, or improve themselves, or live out of self-doubt. When people do this, they lose their taste for negative attractions and they start to clean house. And that is a really wonderful and powerful thing. And when it happens, the field begins to change. As you lose interest in those people, they kind of just stop coming around. You somehow feel less sticky to them, and you find that they kind of gradually disappear out of your life.

    Learning to let go

    Now, the later part of this work becomes more difficult because, especially in romantic attractions, it’s so easy to be deeply sticky to those relationships. You can kind of picture a child holding a shard of broken glass and they don’t want to let go of it because to them it’s beautiful, but you as the adult see that it’s going to cause them a lot of pain as it cuts into their hand. That’s what we’re like when we don’t want to let go of these unhealthy relationships.

    So how do we move quicker through this first stage?

    How do we deepen it, and strengthen it, and move quickly through it, so we can enter into the second stage? Well, there are a few different ways. One way is to avail yourself of teachings that teach you how to honor who you are, that aren’t constantly telling you if you want to find love, you have to change this part of you, you have to change this part of you, you have to make yourself more attractive, you have to act more confident. You want teachings that in the most essential way teach you to honor who you are in your intimacy journey, because I promise you–nothing else is going to work.

    Finding a tribe

    The second thing that you need in this stage to develop, little by little, is to find your tribe. Who is your tribe? It’s the people you honor and admire. And it’s the people who know how to cherish those qualities of you that you’re just learning how to finally dignify and honor and cherish. Those people are the heart and soul of a happy life. And usually we have to start with friendships because it doesn’t happen as quickly sometimes with dating. Usually we have to kind of find those friends, find that tribe of people, and as we do that, we move through the first stage. But if you are somewhere in that first stage, celebrate, because it’s a path of bravery and it’s moving you to the next stages of your journey.
    Until stage one happens–until we learn how to say no to unhealthy dynamics and unhealthy relationships–we are going to remain stuck.

    Not throwing out the baby with the bathwater

    But let me just add one more thought, for everyone who is saying Yes, I relate to this stage. In this stage, we often need to make a lot of changes in our current relationships. And I want to encourage each of you not to throw out the baby with the bathwater, with people who care about you, and love you, who maybe had dishonored these parts of you. It’s worth it, now that you’re finally beginning to dignify them yourself, to educate the people you love on how you need to be treated.
    Around your Core Gifts, you’re going to be triggered more easily, you’re going to be sticky, you’re going to be vulnerable. It either can be hard to talk about them or hard not to overreact when you feel hurt in these arenas. So there’s a process of maturity that involves “saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and not saying it mean” as you try to heal relationships in which, for too long, you’ve gone along with ways that your Core Gifts were dishonored.
    What I’m saying here is give it patience and give it time. Give yourself a chance and give the people you love a chance. Unless they’re being actively abusive, and then you should have no interest at all. So that’s stage one.

    Stage 2 – Waiting For The Right Doors To Open

    Doors Opening In Three Stages Of Deeper Dating
    Stage two of the three stages of deeper dating can take longer than expected
    Stage two is a kind of odd and unexpected stage and one that took me a really long time to be able to see in my clients’ lives. It’s a stage where it seems like not a lot is happening. It’s like you’ve cleaned house and now your house is kind of empty. Another example would be if you picture a corridor, with doors on both sides of the corridor. And let’s say on the left side of the corridor are the old relationships that didn’t work for you and didn’t really feed you. And those doors are closed now. And on the right-hand side of the corridor are the new relationships, the new life you’re wanting that’s full of really healthy nurturing love. But that door hasn’t really opened yet and you kind of in the middle in this odd hallway. And what’s so strange about this stage is it tends to last a lot longer than you picture it would. And it’s bewildering because it’s kind of empty. So why is that, that the strange second stage, where things just feel kind of like too quiet or too empty, exists and takes place?

    We need time to heal

    Well, one reason is that we often need time to heal. Our our brains might be saying I want what’s next, but our psyches are saying, oh my God, I need to rest. I need to repair myself here. I need to lick my wounds. I need to reconfigure. And this is a deep stage. So much of what’s going on in this weird second stage is happening underground. Our psyches need time to reconfigure. You know, the story of Passover is the story where the Jews left generations and generations of being slaves to the pharaohs. And they finally escape, and you would think that they escape and they enter into a new land, but they don’t. They spend 40 years in the desert, lost, because they’re not ready yet to enter into the new land, because it’s too scary. It’s too different. There might be giants there. They don’t know what’s there. And in fact that generation has to kind of die off before the new generation finally enters into the new land.

    Compassion for ourselves

    And so we need to have some compassion for ourselves because deep down our insides are not stupid, and they’re protecting us, and they know that we have not been able to protect ourselves against bad relationships well enough in the past. So they’re not going to be stupid and just allow us into this new land.

    The great psychological theorist Winnicott says that all of us have a true self.

    But that self is so precious and so central to our being that in order to protect it, we need to create a false self so that people don’t decimate our true selves. We create a false self to protect ourselves. And what Winnicott says is that the importance of our true self is so great that often in many cases people would rather die than to get rid of the false self, because the true self is that precious. And this is true. So, it’s important to understand that something very deep is going on in the second stage a reconfiguring of self.

    So what do you do during that time?

    Well, the greatest thing that you can do is to nurture yourself, to take care of yourself. In the early stages of this second part, the early parts of the second stage, you may really want just a lot of time to yourself. I know that in my intensives, often after people do the work of recognizing and acknowledging their Core Gifts, they say, I don’t want to go out there and date right away. I need time to feed myself. I need time to feed these new parts of myself. And so to the degree that you need that, honor it.

    But also start looking for the new shoots

    Because the seeds of your new self have started underground, but they’re pushing their way forward and upward, even if you don’t see them. So start looking for the new shoots –and that means new things that nourish you deeply. Expression of your creative self, helping other people, doing the things that you have been dying to do for a long time, but maybe you don’t let yourself do. And also new shoots of relationships that are healing and nurturing–start looking now because they will start popping up. New relationships with people who are safe, and honoring of who you are; where your heart and your soul feel safe and seen. Little by little they start to pop up, and often, you won’t even notice them at first. I find that in my role as a psychotherapist and a coach, often in this stage I point out, hey, what about that really nice person that you just met and you both had a great conversation? And people will say Yeah, I didn’t think of that, that’s right, that’s right. Well, you know you could go to the movies with that person. You could see them at that event the next time you go to the event and maybe go out for a cup of coffee. We need to look for the new shoots of healthy relationships because they will appear in this stage.

    Beyond edgy relationships

    Now, sometimes they don’t look quite as sexy, and they don’t look quite as hot as those kind of like really edgy relationships with people that dump us and then pick us up again. These bad boys and bad girls. But just because they don’t look as initially as kind of juicy and exciting, there’s a different kind of excitement that we develop a new taste for. This excitement comes from someone’s intelligence, insight, creativity, or ferocity in living a really full life. They may not look as sexy right away, but look for the kind of deeper excitements. Or maybe sometimes people feel like, well you know, I’m just afraid to dip my toes in these news relationships. I see them, but I’m afraid to dip my toes into them. And then we need to give ourselves time and space.

    Is trauma holding you back?

    Now, another thing here: This may be a stage where trauma is holding you back. This is a really good time to work on that. If addictions or compulsive behaviors are holding you back, this is the time to do that work. As this stage moves forward, you’re going to develop an itch to get out there and start living and having more fun. And fun is a key. Allowing yourself fun with these healthy new relationships is the way to go. Sometimes I think that people feel in the later parts of the second stage like a teenager who has grown up in a small town and is just dying to get out there and start living. And the way to do that is to look for the new shoots of healthy connections, start building them, start having fun with them, and know that you are actually reconfiguring a whole way of living. That’s part of why it’s taking so long.

    Stage 3 – Building A Life That’s Rich With Love

    The third stage is the stage where you are actively building a life that’s rich with healthy love. And I know that many of you have done so much of that building already, but maybe haven’t yet done it as fully as you like, in the arena of romantic love. Maybe you have, and you’ve lost your partner. Maybe you’re widowed. Maybe in certain arenas of your life, you’ve lived these lessons, and in others you haven’t yet.

    But this third stage is a wonderful stage

    It’s the building of the world that you want and, when you’ve gone through stages one and two and you live in a way where you are kind of leading with your soul, dignifying who you are, and having that happen mutually little by little with other people, that’s the foundation of a happy life. That’s X marks the spot for joyful, rich and good life.

    In this third stage, life is more full but less full of drama

    There’s a kind of peace in this stage, because the people you’re with have a lot less of the quality of psychic violence than maybe people have had in the past. In this stage, in the third stage, our task–now that we know how to suss out healthy relationships and healthy love and relationships and situations that feed our deepest soul– is to begin to look for those people who are safe, and little by little we practice one of the greatest lessons of love that there is.
    And that is this: with people who are safe, learning to swing out in terms of how much you give and how deeply you receive. That’s one of the richest lessons of love that there is.

    And sometimes this third stage takes different detours

    We have to follow where love is calling us. It may not leave right to a relationship, it may lead to something else. Just to share my story, going on this journey and moving through stage two, I lived through this empty kind of period I’m describing. I created a box and I wrote on top of the box: I can do whatever I want. And I just kept putting ideas into it, and none of them excited me enough. None of them were right. Until I saw Almodovar’s movie “All About My Mother”, and I stepped out of that movie, and I knew that something had shifted inside of me and I didn’t know what it was. I just took a few minutes to think about what was happening inside of me.

    And I realized that I wanted to become a dad

    I was a single guy, not making a ton of money, and this seemed like a crazy idea, but my soul was touched by this concept and I chose to act on it. I became a dad. I spent the next big period of time going through the process of adopting my son. And, in the rich new life I had as a dad, my best friend said to me, that’s where I think you can meet your partner: an event for gay parents. And that was true, that was where I met my husband. That was a number of years down the road, but I followed the call of love. And in this third stage, we follow the call of love, including with romantic intimacy. When you’ve reached this stage the field will have changed for you. The people you notice will be different. It’s amazing that it’s true, but it is true, because your attractions will have changed. So this is now where you start looking for your joyful life. You will be meeting people who are kinder, who are more available. Your dating life will change, in this phase. And there’s more work to be done when that happens.
    For example, those of us who are used to unhealthy relationships, when we finally meet and start having deeper feelings for somebody who’s really kind, really decent, and really available, we will often start getting afraid. We’ll want to push them away.

    The wave of distancing

    And there’s a process that needs to happen with how to handle that. I call this the Wave of Distancing, and we’ll talk about that in a future podcast–how to handle that. But what can happen is that you’re going to need to learn in this phase a whole new set of deeper, richer communication skills. We’ll be talking about that a lot more. But the heart and soul of this third stage, is cultivating and deepening your connection with those people and those situations that nurture your soul in a safe way. That is the journey of this phase. And it’s truly, truly, the journey of happiness.

    So take a minute to think about where you see yourself in this journey

    What stages of deeper dating are you occupying? Now, you might be occupying a few different stages at once. You probably, though, are primarily in one of the stages. Think about where you are and what your steps are to move ahead forward in this journey. And this journey is the richest journey of love. This is the journey of populating your life with love and building your life on a foundation of love. And it’s the greatest path to joy that exists. Now, are there only three stages of deeper dating, and does it end with stage three? Of course not. There are constant learnings. There’s constant growth that we need to do. It is a continuing and ongoing and incredibly humbling and complex process, again and again and again. But these grand and broad stages are stages that hold true, and if you have cultivated these healthy relationships, and you’re cultivating the tools to help them flourish, then you are on the right path and you are on the path to happiness.

    So, I’d like you to just take a minute

    Think about what you’ve learned in this podcast. Think about the thing that stood out the most for you about what your next steps are, right now. Maybe it’s saying no to some unhealthy relationships. Maybe it’s doing things that nurture yourself. Maybe it’s calling someone who–now you think of this–is one of your tribe, kind of this new generation of healthy relationships. Maybe it’s making plans to do something that’s really fun and really nourishing with a good person. Just take a minute and think about a next step for you. And I encourage you to take that step. As you’ve followed this path, you will experience again and again that wonderful place where peace meets joy, where there’s an inner peace and a sense of goodness and safety, and it meets a sense of fun and joy. And that’s really what life is all about. But it can’t happen until we take these steps. So I wish you blessings, excitement, adventure and fun wherever you are in these stages, and in the stages that you will follow in the future.
    Discover more about the three stages of deeper dating in Ken's book
    Discover more about the three stages of deeper dating in Ken’s book
  • How To Find Your True Love – And Transform Your Life [E001]
    Legions of people are looking for true, lasting love-and not finding it. If you want to know how to find your true love, my first advice would be to stay away from any dating advice with a superficial fixation on looks, games and gimmicks.

    The inspiring, essential dating advice no one ever tells us

    There’s a wiser path to finding love, and if you follow it, you’ll not only find healthy love more quickly, you’ll heal your life in the process.
    The book, “Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy” has helped thousands of people transform their search for love by teaching them how to discover their innate Core Gifts–the key to finding healthy love, learning self-love and transforming our lives.

    An introduction to how to find your true love

    In this episode, you’ll learn four keys or steps that will move you closer to real love and help you discover your deepest innate gifts. You’ll feel the difference almost right away as you apply these principles. So, what I want to say first, is that love really matters. Love matters hugely. And all this nonsense about oh you should be just fine alone and anything else is codependent, is just not true.

    We are built to be with other people

    Without intimacy we wither. It’s like oxygen for us. And the intimacy journey, is the greatest journey of our lives. On some level, we all know how much love matters. And it’s why there’s such an explosion of new apps, and new ways to meet people all the time. But, even with that explosion, the number of single people is not shrinking. Even with this explosion, the number of single people is growing. Why is that? Well, a big part of why it is, it’s because we’re being taught wrong things about how to find our true love. In fact, most of what we learn about finding love actually leads us away from real love. It is not about playing a bigger numbers’ game. It’s not about instant access to more people. It’s not about getting better at seducing, and God knows, it’s not about trying to become irresistible. The skills of true dating are the skills of intimacy. They’re not the skills of game playing. And the way we look for love, actually usually determines the kind of love that we find.

    There’s a wiser path.

    And it’s a path I know from two different ways. I know it is a psychotherapist, who specializes in this issue, and who has worked with people over decades, and who has made a commitment to hone my understanding of what really works, to find beautiful, soul filling, health love. And my knowledge of this path also comes from my journey, as someone who was, what I call, chronically single for decades and decades and decades, until I met my wonderful husband and I formed a beautiful life and a beautiful family with him. But God what I had to learn because I was one of the worst daters I knew. I was looks bound. I didn’t treat people well. I didn’t treat myself well. I wanted love so badly and so deeply and so desperately, but I didn’t know how to find it. But God knows I looked and I looked and I looked. I looked through sex. I looked through apps. I looked through websites. I looked through clubs, and I just kept doing the same mistakes, again and again, until I realized that this terrible merry go round of dating failure that had become my dating life, just wasn’t going to stop until I stopped. And that’s when I began a pretty humbling journey, to try to understand what I was doing wrong, where was their wisdom, and why did I keep banging my head into the same walls, again and again. And I felt willing to stop the kind of patterns I was so stuck in. Were they easy to change? Absolutely not. And did I do it all at once? Oh no. And, am I still stuck in patterns of avoiding intimacy, even though I’m in a wonderful marriage? Absolutely. Would my husband agree? Yes he would. But the humbling experience of saying, I need to grow and I’m willing to grow is what changes everything. And that’s the audience of people that I want in this podcast. People who are willing to grow. Who know they need to grow and who are willing to. And if that’s you, welcome. I hope you find a home here, a home that changes your life for the better. Because these ideas that you’ll be hearing have the power to do just that.

    Fixing Ourselves Comes First

    And so if that’s you, here’s the first thing I want to tell you. We have all been victims of horrible dating advice. And if you look at the dating advice and see what it has to say, and see what it’s mostly about, it’s about how we have to fix ourselves. It’s kind of finding love from the outside in, fix your outsides and then you’ll be loved, then you’ll be irresistible, then you’ll find a quality person. But that’s not how it works. Because when we approach the search for love that way, by trying to fix ourselves, we’ve implanted a mechanism of failure deep into the circuitry of our dating life.

    And what is that common mechanism of failure?

    It’s a deep down belief that we’re not good enough, that until we somehow make ourselves more desirable, more confident, more sexy, more masculine, more feminine, more thin, more buff, less sensitive, less powerful. The list is endless. We’re somehow just probably too flawed for love to find us. Taking that outside-in approach is like looking at ourselves through a funhouse mirror. Our flaws become amplified. We don’t see our beauty. We pick at our flaws. So much dating advice also gives us a really mixed message. Act more confident, but be vulnerable at the same time. Women: be powerful. But not so powerful you scare men away. Men: be sensitive. But not too sensitive or you’ll be weak. The list of ways we’re taught we need to reshape ourselves into pretzels to find love is endless. And it’s toxic. But thank God there’s a wiser path But it’s a path we mostly haven’t been taught. It’s a path of self honoring. It’s a path that asks us to change and to grow for absolute sure. But it’s a path that assumes that the essence of who we are is where our magic lies, not our apps, not our glutes, not our quads, not our fake self-confidence, not the number of dates we go on, but our ability to dignify and cherish and show ourselves. And then only, only choose people who treasure what they see when we do that. That is the wiser path to love. That’s the path that leads to love with so much more speed, with so much more dignity, and with so much more success. And that’s the path that I’m going to be teaching in this podcast. I’m going to be teaching many of the ideas that I teach in my bestselling book Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy. And I’m going to bring in the best teachers that I know in the world to help guide you in your journey to love. And in every class and every podcast, we’re going to end with a practice that I’m going to give you. And that tiny practice is going to help bring insight and compassion and change in positive ways to your dating life. It will help you re-steer your dating life in a way that heals you, and empowers you, and leads you more directly to love. And it will open doors for you. So at the end of the podcast that’s something I’m going to be doing. But first let me share four keys that have the power to transform your search for love.

    Key #1 – Leading With Your Soul

    I want to start with a quote from Chip Conley, who’s the best-selling author of Emotional Equations, in a new book Wisdom at Work. Chip, after reading my book Deeper Dating, kind of captured the book’s absolute essence in one sentence. And here’s what he said:
    “If you want to find your soul mate learn to lead with your soul, or your heart”.
    And that’s the essence of Deeper Dating. That’s the essence of wiser dating, but it’s not easy. And let’s look at why it’s not easy to lead with your authenticity. And that brings us, that question, brings us to the first key, which is discovering what I call your Core Gifts.

    Your Core Gifts are the parts that make you, You.

    They are your places of deepest sensitivity and deepest passion. They’re the places where life touches you the most deeply. But we’ve been taught to hide those parts of ourselves because we just feel too vulnerable and too different, when we expose them. And those qualities, those qualities where we feel the most joy and the qualities where we can be hurt the most, these most tender vulnerable true parts of our being, are the parts that early on we kind of pack away or we airbrush them into something that we think is going to make us more popular. But those qualities are the raw material of a happy life. They are where our soul lives. And here is an amazing formula that I have found to be very true. The degree to which you learn to cherish those vulnerable, authentic qualities, to that degree, you’re going to start becoming sexually and romantically attracted to people who also treasure those qualities in you. And you’ll find them more easily. But the opposite is true as well. The degree to which you take your authentic self and think you need to airbrush it, or hide it, or protect it, and not show it, to that degree, sadly, you’re going to end up again and again with people who don’t know how to treasure you for who you are. And this journey, the journey that we’re going to be exploring in this podcast, is the journey of how to find your true love by leading with your soul or your heart, if you prefer that word. Or your authenticity, if you prefer that word. It turns out that our deepest insecurities surround our most tender or passionate parts. Those are the parts that are closest to our true nature, and those parts which I call our Core Gifts, are the parts that draw healthy love and sustain it. But as long as we hide them, we will never be able to help them mature, to help them grow up, to help them live in the world with generosity and discrimination and bravery, which are the qualities they need, to become who they need to be. So the first stage in this journey is to begin to name and discover your core gifts. And when you make the decision to treasure those parts of you, your world will change, your life will change and your dating life will change. It’s maybe the closest thing I’ve seen to a miracle in my decades of working in this field. And I’ve seen it again and again in my life and in the lives of my clients.

    Allow me to share just a little bit of my personal story.

    I was born in the mid-50s and I grew up in the 50s and the 60s and the 70s as a gay kid, with a really tender heart and a deeply creative spirit, and no place in the world for me at all that I could discover. And let me just say one thing. This is not a podcast for gay people or straight people or transgender people or bisexual people. This is a podcast for everybody. The lessons that you’ll be hearing from me and other people are universal. Not all of them will apply perfectly in exactly to you, but you will hear the universe malady in these insights because we’re all human and we all are learning about love. Anyway. I felt like it was the deepest shameful thing to be me. My parents were Holocaust survivors and they’re astounding incredible people. But especially earlier on in their life when they were still that close to the horror of the Holocaust, strength was everything to them. Protection was everything to them. And my softness scared the living hell out of them. So I learned to have my softness scare the hell out of me. And I grew up inside loving those parts of myself, but somewhere else inside despising them, and that reflected in my search for love. And I spent decades unable to find my true love. I found a lot of sex. I found a lot of guys that were interested in me. And I found a lot of guys that I was interested in. But those two never really matched up. Because the people who had good hearts and stability and decency, well I ran from them as fast as I could. And that was sad but it was true. Slowly though, I began to have to face reality. I began to have to face the fact that as busy as my life was, there was a kind of loneliness that was eating me alive. You know there’s a wonderful saying which is,
    “The truth will set you free, but first it’ll make you miserable”
    And that’s what happened first. As I began to face all the ways that I was fleeing love, harder than I was searching for it, I had to begin to turn those things around. And the key for me, and the key for countless people I’ve worked with, and the key that I have seen work again and again, is that I learned to treasure those core gift qualities. And when I did that, all of a sudden I began to meet people who also treasured them. And I didn’t want to run so quickly for the hills. And that’s the deepest richest journey of finding your true love. It’s the journey that changes lives and changes dating patterns and leads to joy and possibility. And it’s the discovery and the embracing of those core gifts of yours. And that’s the path that you’ll be learning in this podcast.

    Key #2 – Learn To Educate Your Attractions

    The second stage, the second key to this journey is actually to learn to educate your attractions, again and again. Most of us become attracted to similar kinds of people. And until we do the deeper work of learning to cherish and name our core gifts, we’re going to kind of keep ending up, many of us will, with people who are what I call attractions of deprivation. So in simplest terms, we could really kind of think that there are two types of attractions: Attractions of deprivation and attractions of inspiration. What are those? Your attractions of deprivation are the attractions where you are just so hot for someone, so excited by someone, who almost loves you, who almost is able to commit, who almost treats you well, then treats you really badly. These are attractions of deprivation where they turn on the itch to try to get these people to love us consistently and right. And most of us have spent years trying to get those people to love us, and ended up with a lot of heartache and a lot of wasted years. Now, almost all of us have that circuitry in us, where we can be drawn to people like that again and again.

    An alternative circuitry

    But, most of us also have another circuitry, and this circuitry when we recognize it and begin to tap into it, changes our futures in the most profound ways. Listen closely because this insight really does have the power to change your search for love. The other circuitry that you have embedded in you, is the circuitry where you can become romantically and sexually attracted to people who inspire you, with their solidity, with their goodness, with their decency, with their kindness, with their creativity, with their bravery, with their honesty. And that’s a different kind of sexual attraction. It’s a different kind of romantic attraction. And there is an existential point that, we may hit in this journey and that I deeply encourage everyone to come to in this journey, and it’s a scary one and it’s a hard one but it’s a beautiful one. It’s that point where we make a decision, and we say I am done pursuing my attractions of deprivation, no matter how sexy they are, no matter what a turn on they are, no matter how sticky I feel toward those people. I’m done with that. I’m only going to look for and I’m only going to focus on attractions of inspiration. Those are the attractions where the turn on is connected to the person’s goodness, to their decency, their sense of humor, their ability to make you feel safe and right, deep inside your soul, and the way in which your heart, your soul, your deep self, feels at least relatively consistently safe in their presence. These are attractions of inspiration. And when you make the commitment that those are the only attractions you’re going to pursue, it’s going to be scary at first, because you’re going to think, “Oh, my god I’m eliminating so many people” and you are, but you are strengthening and you are speeding your journey, in fact.

    Physical attraction still matters

    Let me just say that I am not saying that you should be with people you’re not attracted to because they’re good for you. It’s got to be physical. There has got to be chemistry. And I’m in complete favor of that. But God knows there are people out there who are going to turn you on and be sexy and who’re going to be attracted to you who, are attractions of inspiration. And if you think that it’s going to slow you down, because when you make that choice you’re going to eliminate so many people. Let me give you an example. Imagine going to a bookstore, and all you know is you want a book that’s going to be exciting and fun. How long might you end up being at that bookstore? Or you go to a restaurant and you don’t know what you want. You just know you’re hungry and in the mood for something good. But think about, now, going to that restaurant and knowing pretty much exactly what you want or imagine going to that bookstore and knowing the exact book you want and how much time you’re going to save when you make this decision, you are going to save time in your dating life in the same way. And your choices are going to be profoundly better. So, these are just some concepts in the second key of the Deeper Dating journey, which is about educating your attractions and understanding the difference between the attractions of inspiration and deprivation. And just to say that these are all subjects I go into in great detail in my book, in my courses and in my intensives.

    Key # 3 – Leading With Your Authenticity

    So, the third key is about getting out there and leading with your authenticity in your dating life. In your online life, in your blind dates, in your second dates, and your third dates, in your sex life, in being at parties and in meeting people, and even in your connections with your friends. That process of leading with your deep authenticity. And when you do that it’s a totally different way to date. It demands an entirely different kind of pretty awesome and glorious level of risk. It’s the risk of being you, and it’s the bravery and dignity of saying, “I’m only going to be with people who really know how to cherish that”. Now I know I’m throwing a lot at you with these concepts and just know that we’re going to be speaking about all of this in so much more detail in our podcast. So, this is about this third key is about actually how to be in this strange, cold, odd, filled with crappy dates, dating world. But to do it from a wiser perspective.

    Key #4 – Healthy Relationships

    And the fourth key lies in what happens when you meet someone wonderful, and it’s actually a healthy relationship. It’s an attraction of inspiration. Because these relationships get cultivated in a really different way. They grow more slowly. We want to flee more often. Fears come up often in unconscious ways in these healthy relationships, that don’t come up in the same way, in unhealthy relationships. We need to learn to wean ourselves from the white hot pyrotechnic excitement of attractions of deprivation, and we need to learn to bear the comfort, and the solidity, and the new kinds of risk in these healthier attractions of inspiration.

    And what’s the new kind of risk?

    The new kind of risk is that this is someone you can really reveal your deep self to. And that’s scary. And it’s hard. But these are the relationships that you can do it in, and you will be protected by this person’s goodness and decency and treasuring of you. You won’t be protected perfectly because none of us are perfect, but you will be protected in an essential way. And that is the path to happiness. Let me say something else about this fourth key. Part of this fourth key, the key of learning how to deepen intimacy in a healthy relationship. And again we’ll be talking about all of this in the podcast in the future, is discovering your sexual and romantic core gifts.

    So what are your sexual and romantic core gifts?

    They’re the places where your sexuality and your romance meet your warmest, most loving, most honest self. And that is a place where beauty explodes. And that’s a place where love can go on and on and on. When we allow ourselves to join our turn-ons with our tenderness, our safety with our sexuality, our art and qualities of passion with our decency and goodness and care. And that happiness. That’s what we’re looking for. And this path, which is essentially a path of authenticity, is a path of celebrating who you are. And it’s the most powerful path I know for finding and keeping real love.

    What I’m hoping you will get out of this podcast

    And I welcome you to this podcast, because we’re going to be learning and talking and experimenting with so many different dimensions of this, where you’re going to be hearing from some of the world’s top experts and we’re you’re going to be able to call in and ask me questions which I’m going to be answering directly on the show.

    A Practice For You

    Before we end the podcast, I want to share a practice with you.
    • In your dating life, ask yourself which are attractions of deprivation?
    • Which are my attractions of inspiration?
    • Where do I notice people who are being attractions of inspiration?
    • Where do I notice qualities of deprivation?
    And consider, as you notice this, to make a commitment to yourself that you are done and finished wasting time with your attractions of deprivation. And that you are committed, in a heartfelt way, to just looking for your attractions of inspiration. You know, you probably will need help. You may need support from friends. You may need support from therapists. You may need support from my book or other books. But consider making that choice. And make another choice as well. And that is to actually start actively looking for your attractions of inspiration. When you make that the central focus in your search for love, everything will change. So give that a try. Call in. Let me know what happens when you try this. Let me know how that works. Send me a message in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts and your insights about everything that I talked about.
    How To Find Your True Love - With Ken Page's Deeper Dating Book
    How To Find Your True Love – With Ken Page’s Deeper Dating Book