What is yours and what is the others’? Where do you end and and the other begins?
How can you balance you sense of self with feeling connected to the other? And how can you balance your needs in relationship with another?
This newsletter is sparked by a question of a friend: how do I not give myself away in connection?
Big question. And one that touches me as I recognise it from my past.
It is a vital exploration in human connection. In Circling it is huge topic: exploring what is yours and what is somebody else’s. And maybe even what is between you and what is of you both. In all workshops I do, I start with an exercise where people can experience what their natural preference is. So that they gain awareness and can start playing with that.
I see over and over again that people have different tendencies: to be either too much with the other, and loose their sense of self and the connection to their own needs. Or they are more with themselves and are not so open to another, comfortable with themselves, but not really in connection.
And with everything in life it is about the sweet spot in the middle.
Why would you want to explore that? Well; as my friend said; loosing yourself is no fun. A sense of ‘giving away’ is even worse.
I notice with myself and others, that the ‘giving away’ is always based on some childhood pattern: where you think that giving more of yourself will get you more. Somehow we figured that out when we were younger, at an age where that made sense, and we continue applying that in all our relationships the rest of our lives. Sometimes subtle (working a little too hard, bending over backwards for a friend) and sometimes full on, mostly in our intimate relationships.
It took me a long time to unravel that one, and I see many people struggle with this: the sense that I have to over-give to get love. Because in general that is what it is about. Disregarding my own needs for fear of being abandoned. Abandoning myself so others do not abandon me. Weird strategy huh. And painful. Hugely painful. Because that little girl or boy in us does not know it is a bad strategy, so he or she keeps going at it, being stuck in the loop and never getting shat she or he wants.
Because giving yourself away will never get you what you want.
If you are further on the giving spectrum than is healthy for you, remember this: if you are too much with the other, there is nothing to relate to anymore. You sort of merge, and you loose your sense of identity. Or explained in a different way: you need to be connected to yourself to feel another (because you feel connection in your body, heart and in-the-moment experience). So if you loose that connection with you and whatever is true for you – in favour of being more with the other – you are actually not connected. You are merged.
Merging is not connection. Connection needs two separate people to make contact with each other.
We all want genuine connection. And the way to get there and out of this loop is to acknowledge that it is happening. That you have a tendency to go there. And then carefully (remember, this is childhood stuff, thread gently) start playing with this – with some safe people. Check in with yourself on a regular basis. Find and then speak your needs. Let you inner child see that it is okay and safe to do that. That it is okay for you, and the other to have needs and honour them.
This will be scary – guaranteed – because all this is nervous system work and you willget activated. But slowly yet surely you can make baby steps in balancing yourself out more. To find that place of home in yourself where you feel both you and the other. It is a beautiful spot. And gradually you will realise it is much nicer here than in merge-central.
Take your time. Life-long patterns do not change overnight. Get some good help. And slowly recognise that good people will not run when you acknowledge your needs. That healthy connection thrives in the balance between self care and other care. And that you can actually get what you want once you start speaking it.
If you are more self-focused in your connections, you will need to actively make an effort to create more connection. Cultivating your curiosity might be great way to do that. I wrote this blog about it: Follow your Curiosity.
With all this, have a happy week connecting. And as always, drop me a line if this impacts you or if you have any questions.