The value of connecting for true happiness
By Mary Schneider
Everyone wants connection. That is because connection leads to intimacy and if you think of the word itself, the sound mirrors its meaning: Into-me-see. However, most of us are clueless about how to actually manifest true intimacy. Intimacy is not sex. We can have sex without intimacy and intimacy without sex. And, what is most desirable in romantic relationship is when we have both, preferably at the same time.
There are so many helpful books and seminars suggesting all kinds of different methods of obtaining intimacy in a romantic relationship. And, there is one practice when given time and patience that is sure to take a couple directly down the path to intimacy. That practice is expressing your feelings and stating your needs.
Chloe Wordsworth, the woman who developed Holographic Repatterning, a special energetic healing process, says, “The foundation of coherent relationship is expressing your feelings and stating your needs.” Exactly what does this mean? Many people think that this sounds too simple and I can guarantee you that it is not. I have had clients come in to my office who could do one or the other and rarely both. I have also had many clients who couldn’t do either one. As is the case with many important teachings in life, it sounds easy and yet in essence it is extremely profound. Expressing your feelings and stating your needs definitely falls into this category.
Many people have been discouraged from expressing their feelings since early childhood. The message was always that there really wasn’t anything to cry about, to buck up and get over it – fast. In this hectic, over-stimulated, amped-up culture we are living in, taking time to actually deal with one’s feelings is pretty far down on the priority totem pole. We also have a lot of “remedies” available to take care of our feelings so that we don’t have to deal with them.
Although I think that modern medicine contributes to miraculous healings every day, there seems to be a generalized attitude that we need “handle” or “manage” our feelings – as if they were a problem. There is a pill available to deal with our feelings because to have them can be problematic. We might have to slow down. We might have to take our eyes off of the goals we have set our sights upon, and perhaps redefine what we mean by success. This takes time and many of us are unwilling or unable to devote our time to this kind of pursuit.
Why should we when we can take a pill or have a drink or engage in a myriad of different activities that can distract us from ever having to deal with an actual feeling? So, as a result many of us are completely unaware of what we are feeling at any given moment in time due to these “numbing” solutions. Expressing a feeling becomes difficult. If we do not know what it is we are feeling we’re never going to be able to communicate it.
Stating needs is a similar issue. Again, many of us were discouraged from saying what we needed from a very early age. Even more disturbing is that many people may never have had a need met as children. So when this is the case, these same individuals as adults are not even thinking about the fact that they have needs, let alone communicating them. I have had clients who spend their whole lives meeting the needs of everyone around them thinking that that was their primary need – to take care of everybody else. It never occurs to them that they also have needs that have to be met in order to live a full life. As a result, true intimacy eludes them throughout their lives. Because they never stop taking care of others, it never comes up. This is a recipe for resentment.
So, back to expressing feelings and stating needs… maybe you’re deciding that this might be something interesting to engage in – that it might be worth a try. It can be difficult in the midst of an argument with a spouse or partner to actually define what it is that you are feeling. This means that you would have to stop and think and you can look kind of silly sitting there saying nothing while contemplating exactly what it is that you might be feeling in that moment. If this is something that you don’t normally do it may take a few minutes to figure out what is that you are really feeling; “Hmmm – am I’m feeling abandoned? Yes, this is abandonment.” Now you have to figure out what it is that you need to help you with this abandonment. What do I need, you ask yourself? I need you to stop whatever it is that you’re doing and spend some time with me, you might answer. You’ve done it. Then you need to communicate this. The hope is that very rarely will someone look at you after this type of communication and say to you, “No, you don’t! You don’t feel that – or need that!” If they do, that’s a whole other situation…
Suddenly, something really wonderful begins to happen. There is some kind of alchemy that occurs when two people engage in this type of productive communication. A space opens up. Expansion occurs and in that space there is room for the other person to express what they are feeling and what it is that they need. Then, you and your partner start becoming more authentic with one another which leads to more expression of feelings and more needs being communicated. You start to become more aware of all of your feelings and begin to define feelings you’ve never defined before. You begin to define needs that you’ve had for a lifetime that you felt you could never ask for – and you are now asking for them. Most importantly, you are having them met and therefore, the most important by-product of this whole process is experienced. Intimacy. Into-me-see.