Last Saturday I wrote how humor can help us take our own desires a bit more lightly, and allow us to relieve some of the shame and embarrassment around our feelings and wants. “Yep, I want to do a striptease, that’s just my thing. Haha”. Not to make fun of ourselves, but to invite ourselves to accept our own desires for what they are: just desires, not a reflection of our self-worth. Humor can help us befriend ourselves.
Rick Hanson talks about befriending yourself as a key ingredient of self-care. Being on your own side. Accepting yourself. Taking a stance for who and how you are, with all your desires, however you feel about having them. He offers an exercise to deepen your friendship with yourself. This is my summary:
- Sit in a comfortable position, and connect to your breath as it flows through you. A quiet, private space can help you focus and feel safe.
- Think of a moment, a situation where you really took a stand for someone, listened with an open heart, supported with care and compassion, protected them from harm, encouraged them to grow into their best selves, helped them heal and grief. A moment where you really took someone’s side and supported them wholeheartedly.
- What did you do? What did you say? How did you feel? Which needs were met? Which values were alive? Connect to yourself, while you put your hand on that part of your body where this experience resonates, to reinforce the neural pathways of what being a friend means to you. Breathe in all the positive feelings, all the needs met. Take your time to fully connect to this experience of taking a stand.
- Now extend this experience of friendship to yourself. Imagine you befriending yourself in the same profound way. What does that look like, how does your life change, if you take a stand for yourself each and every day? Reflect on this, and ACT on it! Throughout this day. Throughout tomorrow. Throughout all days. So that your friendship with yourself grows strong and helps you show up for who you truly are.
You want help to befriend yourself? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a free, discovery session.
Gosh, I have such fantastic work. I can’t think of a better fit between my qualities and aspirations and what I do right now. My clients are a continuous source of inspiration and hope for me.
Today I talked with Frank. He is getting married. He came in last week, noticing that he was becoming more and more dependent on the approval of his fiancee, her taking the lead, and him complying with her wants and desires. He was losing some of the vulnerability that radiated through the early stages of dating.
We talk about the challenge in committed, intimate relationships of finding balance between autonomy and authentic self-expression on the one hand and togetherness and acceptance on the other. How we often give up on the one in favor of the other, because we just can’t figure out how we can have both at the same time.
Maybe we don’t trust that we matter enough. We cannot imagine anyone caring só much that they are willing to stay, while we pursue our dreams. We cannot imagine that someone will encourage us and stay connected. “Fly on your wings to your destination, I’ll hold you in my heart with unconditional love and acceptance. I’ll wait for you to return.” We think we have to give up on ourselves, hide certain aspects to get the love and acceptance we so long for.
My client is not alone in this. I have certainly thought that more than once. And you probably too.
Today he comes back. He seems tender. He tells me about a conversation he had with his fiancee. He is moved as he shares. He told her he wanted a relationship that was based on their vulnerability, that honored their independence and nurtured their togetherness. She was touched as she listened. She had tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. She wants that too. It is só important to her. She is grateful he brings it up. She feels hopeful that they have what it takes to venture into this unknown land of radical honesty and loving connection.
Today I celebrate that my client is my teacher. Thank you, Frank, for allowing me to witness how vulnerability, self-connection, and authentic expression shift relationships to new levels of intimacy, trust and tenderness. I feel honored working with you.
You want to explore how you can be vulnerable, authentic and intimate with your partner? Contact me 512-589-0482 for a complimentary, discovery session. I would be honored to talk with you.