Your Core Gifts lie at the very heart of your ability to find and nurture generative, beautiful, healthy love. They are the deepest language of your inner self, and the degree to which you value them and understand them is the degree to which you will make wiser, more empowered choices in love—and everywhere else. These three simple, illuminating questions will invite you to a life-changing adventure of self-discovery.
Table of Contents
The 3 Questions That Reveal Your Deepest Intimacy Gifts
How To Claim The Power Of Your Core Gifts
How can we use our deepest insecurities to actually discover our greatest inner gifts? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn a formula and a concept that turns everything inside out; that brings meaning, direction, and healing to our lives.
Hello and welcome to The Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of Deeper Dating and the co-founder of DeeperDating.com, which is a site where single people can meet in an environment that is fun, inspiring, kind, and respectful. In this episode, I’m going to talk about the central concept in all the work I do, which is the power of your Core Gifts. In this episode and in every episode, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. Those are the greatest skills of all for a happy rich life.
If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You’ll learn about upcoming courses and events, and if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll also get some free gifts. You’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. 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. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a tremendous gift if you would subscribe and leave me a review. I have gotten the most beautiful reviews and thank all of you who’ve written them. Okay, let’s dive in.
We are true artists because we are living from our truth and our capacity for intimate love is profound here.CLICK TO TWEETIf I had to synopsize the most beautiful, liberating, and mysterious insight that I’ve ever learned in my life and in my decades of practice as a psychotherapist, it’s this. It’s that the parts of ourselves that we feel the most timid around, the most vulnerable, the most embarrassed, the most sensitive, the parts where we have the deepest insecurities are actually the path to our greatest gifts, to our genius, to our mission, to our ability to love. The profound mind-boggling formula that I really believe is true is this. The degree to which we treasure, honor, and dignify those gifts is the degree to which we can have a happy life and the degree to which we can find healthy, sustaining relationships.
We don’t have to do it perfectly, but the more we learn to do that, the better our relationships become, including our relationship with ourselves, with the world, with spirituality, all of those different kinds of love, and the more we develop a truly secure attachment style. The converse is true as well. I know this so well from my own life. All the ways that I don’t honor and dignify those parts of me are all the ways that I end up in life situations and relationships that are masochistic or painful or not wonderful. It’s a formula of such profundity that until we start with the honoring of I think of it as like the deep inner petals of our being. The beating heart of our humanity, the most intimate part of who we are, and the realest, truest part of who we are. That the secret really to life and to love is the treasuring of those parts of ourselves, but those parts of ourselves have probably gotten us into so much trouble because genius is not easy, and these are our genius places. These are our deep, what I call, Core Gift places.
Core Gifts, Explained
All of the work that I teach rests on the foundation of being able to name, discover, honor, and learn the language of our Core Gifts, and then choose situations, people, passions, and projects that feed that part of ourselves. In this episode, I’m going to teach you how you can discover your own Core Gifts. The kind of key practices, you don’t learn this in a minute, and it’s deeply kind of counterintuitive in some ways, that our greatest insecurities reveal our greatest gifts. These are practices that I’m going to teach you that will enrich your life and shift your kind of experience from that painful, crippling place that we all know so well. Where we are beholden to the eyes of the people who are looking at us and judging us, and shift that to a place where there’s a sense of a sacred self that surprises us, challenges us, challenges the world, and is generative, creative, strange, quirky, and generous. All different kinds of things that don’t necessarily make life easy, but genius domesticated is genius lost, and we need to honor those parts of ourselves.
In my teaching, in my book, that’s where we begin. In my intensives, which last six months, almost half of the intensive is spent focusing on Core Gifts. I’m very, very excited that I’ve been in contact with and in dialogue with some very renowned researchers who are very interested in this approach and how it changes people’s search for love. We’re talking about developing a real research project and they asked me, “What is the piece of your work that to you is the most important for us to start with?”
After thinking not too long, I said, “It is the concept of Core Gifts,” the discovery of, the naming of, the honoring of, the leading with your Core Gifts, and the looking for people who treasure those gifts. That’s the central foundational piece and actually, we’re going to be building, and I’ll talk about this a little bit more later because I’m going to actually be offering a workshop in this. In this episode, I feel like I can give you the essence of these concepts and give you some beautiful, rich, self-honoring practices that will help you begin to treasure and name your Core Gifts even more fully and richly.
First, I just want to share an image that I use in teaching this work. It’s just the image of a target. Imagine a target with the number of concentric rings, and that target is a map of your being. The closer you get to the center, to the inside, is the closer you get to the beating heart of your humanity. It’s where you feel things the most deeply. It’s where the greatest meaning lies. It’s where the deepest roots of your being lie. It’s your biggest truth. It’s your place of deepest, dynamic authenticity and truth.
When we live from that place, we are true artists because we are living from our truth, and our capacity for intimate love is profound here. Now, this is not all like fun and games in light because it’s a lifetime of work to learn to bear the vulnerability, the intensity, the mystery, and the challenges that these parts of ourselves ask. It’s a holy, holy sacred task, but also because these parts of us are so deep, they’re such deep strata of our being, they’re the places where life touches us the most. They’re also the places where we feel our wounds the most, our pain the most, our compassion the most, our grief the most.
Genius domesticated is genius lost.CLICK TO TWEETWe don’t just get to barrel into the very center of our being because there are skills that we need to develop in order to kind of bear and bare the beauty and the intensity of these gifts. It doesn’t happen easily and it doesn’t happen quickly, but it’s an exquisite process. That’s kind of like, in a very concrete level, it’s like you’re in a relationship with someone and you’re having an interchange and something doesn’t feel right, but you tell yourself you’re wrong for feeling that it doesn’t feel right, or you’re being too much or you’re being over-sensitive.
When you do that, you tell yourself that you will do one of two things. You will suppress whatever it is that you’re feeling from this deeper place or you’ll act it out in an unhelpful way, or you’ll do both, but let’s say instead, you remember and realize, “Oh, this sensitivity, this thing that I’m feeling, I have to treat it with honor. It is connected obviously to a deep part of myself or I wouldn’t be feeling it. How can I honor it in the relationship?” When we say that and we ask that we begin to learn kinder, more connected ways to share these quirky parts of ourselves as actual gifts. We do it with generosity. We do it with vulnerability. It is scary, but that act of being able to think, what does this part of me want? Then to ask for that in a way that’s engaged and connected, that’s just an act of intimacy greatness that as we grow, we learn to do better and better, and then it’s actually an act of generosity to share those parts of ourselves. Even though it’s hard or embarrassing, it is beautiful.
There’s a ring of fire that exists between us and these Core Gifts where we get embarrassed or ashamed, or we think we’re too much, or we think we’re not enough. That kind of coming out of stepping across that ring of fire of embarrassment and awkwardness and saying, “This is who I am,” is one of the most beautiful and affirming things that we can do. It turns out the very things that we thought we wouldn’t be loved for are the things that we end up being loved for the most by the right people. That’s just who created this amazing, amazing journey where we actually had to go inside to the parts that we thought we had to hide, and those are the parts that get celebrated. How incredible is that?
Question For Discovering Your Core Gift
I’m going to leave this kind of like very esoteric, theoretical framework now, and I’m going to bring it down to some of these practices that I was talking about. These are some practices, these are questions you can ask yourself that you can ask yourself on a regular basis that will help you discover your Core Gifts. There are two central basic questions and this is an exercise that I teach, which is you can take two days and a journal, a phone, a tablet or anything that you can write in, and for two days, notice two things. Notice the things in your interactions with the world that hurt you, that sting you, that make you feel like you just got a paper cut, or maybe cause even deeper pain than that. Notice those things and don’t step over them so quickly and tell yourself you’re being too sensitive or just try to get rid of the pain and the suffering. Instead, ask yourself, “What hurts? Why does it hurt? Is this a hurt that I have had in my life before? What does this hurt say about what matters most to me? What does this hurt say about the things that are important?”
When you answer those questions, you can ask the next question, which is, “What might be the Core Gift in this hurt that I’m experiencing?” You’re probably going to be able to figure out an answer. When you do that over the course of two days, you will find that certain themes emerge. Those themes might be a loss of connection, an unkindness, a lack of generosity, a dishonesty, and a lack of commitment. These are the kinds of things that are like fingerprints, they’re universal but they’re individual for each of us, and you will find the things that hurt and sting the most. I’m going to ask you to think, “How might these come from my deepest gifts?”
The second question is, “What things fill my heart?” Like during the day, what are the things that give you a sense of peace or you get this feeling of solidity, strength, clarity, or you get a creative burst? What are the things or you feel a sense of joy or connectedness or love? What are the things, what are the environments that create that for you? With those things, I ask you not to just step over them quickly and think, “Well, that was a nice moment,” but instead to think this is a portal to my deepest roots. How might that be so, if it was so? What is it in me that is being filled with this joy, this piece, or this good feeling? What is it about what’s going on that’s making me feel these good feelings? Have I ever felt these good feelings before? What kind of things have triggered them for me? What does this say about what my Core Gift might be that is getting a little bit of a light shown on it, and it’s illumined at the moment?
The happiness that we want in finding love is with someone with whom these parts of us feel safe, feel held, and feel appreciated.CLICK TO TWEETIf you take the time to think in this philosophical way, you will find the key themes that have bewildered you because you’ve said, “Why am I so sensitive? I don’t need to be this sensitive,” or maybe concerned you because the feeling of joy or peace was really great and it just felt odd or strange, and you didn’t know what to do with it. These are portals to your deepest self. When you know those Core Gifts, when you begin to put names on them, and you know, in my book and my work there, you know, I go into a lot more details about how to do that, but even with these practices, you will be able to do that. You begin to notice the themes that matter the most to you.
Now, here are some other ways that you can identify your core gift. This is a great one. This is a way to identify your Core Gifts in romantic relationships and it’s this. What do you feel most timid to reveal in bed, in communication? What is the stuff that it’s like, “Oh, this is hard to share. This is hard to share.” I don’t mean experiences that you’ve had in your life that were painful or difficult or embarrassing. I mean parts of you that are just hard to share. Those are your Core Gifts.
What it is is that those parts of you have an intense charge. Those are the places where you have the greatest charge because it’s where your greatest genius is. It’s where your mission is. It’s where your deepest language of self lies. The more you learn to treasure these parts of you, the more you will also learn to become so familiar with that horrible feeling of having them stepped on, neglected, denied or ignored, and that’s another act of personal greatness – is to cultivate that dignity to say, “It’s not that I’m not enough, it’s that something is happening here, that to my heart, to my soul, to my being, to my gift just doesn’t feel right. I’m going to figure out what that is, I’m going to trust it, and I’m going to honor it.” The more we do that, for those of us who are single, the more your taste in romantic partners will actually shift. This is an amazing thing. I have done this work with thousands of people and I cannot tell you how many times I have seen that happen. It’s a formula. It’s a beautiful formula that I really believe in.
I also want to say that I am going to be creating a four-session workshop, helping people discover, name and learn to lead with their Core Gifts in their intimacy journey and in their life as a whole. If you’d like to know more about that, you can just go to the show notes, or you can go to MyCoreGifts.com to learn more. Now, just one other concept. I’ve talked about this a lot, but it comes out of this experience of learning to treasure your Core Gifts, dignify them and lead with them, and it’s this. That in your dating life, in your search for love, in your everything, asking yourself this question, “Do my Core Gifts, does my deep inner self feel safe at this moment?”
In your dating life, for those of you who are dating, that is an incredible question to ask. “Do I think that my Core Gifts might feel safe with this being?” If the answer is yes, well, that is a very beautiful thing, and there are, of course, other questions that follow that, including the consistency of that feeling. It’s never going to be perfect because we’re all human, but it needs to be kind of essentially so, but I believe that the happiness that you want and that we want in finding love is with someone with whom these parts of us feel safe, feel held, feel appreciated. Also, that the heat of their challenge is honored and accepted even with all of its quirks or over intensities, and yeah, it’s our responsibility to work on that but in an essential way. We need a partner who welcomes, honors and accepts the challenges of these profound gifts that we have. When you make that kind of the key point of your search, something deep inside feels honored, and something deep inside feels like it can begin to play, dance, be sexual, be flirtatious, be intimate, and be allowed because there’s a sense of safety and authenticity.
This work of listening to our Core Gifts is a life work and none of us are perfect at it. We all have clay feet when it comes to doing this kind of work, but the truth is, that the more that we do it, the more our lives become rich and the more our lives work in wonderful ways. Thank you so much for listening to this episode and please go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you can click, “Ask Ken.” I want to hear your experiences with these practices. I really would love to hear them. Thank you all and I look forward to connecting again on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.
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