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2 Wonderful Ways To Heal Your Inner Conflicts
Wisdom-Hacks to Soothe Pain, Learn Love, and Find Healing
There are powerful life-changing techniques for handling our inner conflicts that most of us never get taught. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn two beautiful and powerful techniques to handle, evolve, and transform your own inner conflict.
Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating, and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new kinder, more respectful, and inspiring way for single people to meet online. Today, I’m going to talk about how we can hold and work with conflicting parts of ourselves. I’m going to share with you this week and every week, 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 the skills of love. We know that those are the greatest and most important skills of all for a happy, rich, and meaningful life. If you want to learn more about this approach, go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can get free gifts there when you sign up for my mailing list and get transcripts of every one of these episodes.
I also just want to say that everything in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological symptoms, please do seek professional help. If you like what you’re learning here, it would be so wonderful if you could subscribe and leave me a review. The reviews that I get are beautiful and powerful, and they help other people decide to tune in to this show. Thank you so much for that, and let’s jump in.
The skills of dating are the skills of love.CLICK TO TWEETToday, I want to share with you two of the most beautiful exercises I know for self-healing, for evolution, and also for healing internal conflict and internal pain. I love these processes. I think they carry a great deal of wisdom and compassion. I’m excited to teach them to you, give you the framework for them, and then as you listen, you could simply, easily and quickly practice them. In some way, they’re no big deal at all. You’re going to get to do that during the course of this episode, and when the episode is over, you’ll have some rich experience with this and it will be portable. It’s a portable process, so you can take it with you and use it whenever you like.
What these processes are going to do are going to create an inner environment that gives space and dignity to whatever it is that you’re struggling with, and to the different conflicting parts of you. By giving something space and dignity, and not demanding an instant solution, but trusting that this way of holding it with space and dignity will lead to some kind of growth and wisdom. The act of just doing that is very powerful.
A brilliant researcher who many of you might have heard of, and psychotherapist, Carl Rogers, a powerful force in the field of humanistic psychology. He did a very seminal research study. He researched psychotherapists, who worked in a huge variety of approaches. Some were behavioral, all different kinds of approaches to psychotherapy. Some were psychoanalytic, and he researched many of them to see the success of their methods to determine which would be the most successful methods.
This is what he found out. He found out that it wasn’t so much about the methods. That the magic ingredient, the secret ingredient, the ingredient that created change more than the technique itself was what he called Unconditional Positive Regard. That meant that the therapist looked at the client with a sense of respect, dignified where they were at, allowed them to be where they were at, and saw the person’s inherent goodness and worth. The act of looking at someone that way and interacting with someone in that way, that’s the way you hold their being as they struggle with their problems. It’s the most healing thing of all that can be done. These two processes that you’re going to learn are going to be ways that you are going to learn to hold yourself in crisis, in difficulty and in transition with unconditional positive regard. They’re simple, and they’re lovely.
Holding With Cupped Hands
I’m going to start with the first one now. This is one that I call “Holding with Cupped Hands”. If you’ve listened to a number of my podcasts, or if you’ve been to any of my classes or intensives, you’ve heard this concept before. It’s very precious. It’s very seminal. It’s very foundational to this approach. What it is, is being able to hold your humanity in the middle of conflict or difficulty with this sense of dignity, compassion, and caring. We’re going to do the hand motions. Hopefully, you’re not in public so that you could do this to get a sense of it. What I’d like you to do is to imagine that there is an issue that you’re dealing with. Go ahead and pick an issue that you’re dealing with in your life right now. Not a really hugely traumatic one. Maybe one that’s somewhat annoying or somewhat challenging, but not bigger than that.
We’re going to think about how you hold this problem, knowing that the way that you will hold it is going to sculpt the outcome of how you grow around it to a large degree. If you imagine holding it with flat hands, just take your hands and open them up and hold them flat. No kindness, no warmth, just flat hands. Imagine this issue sitting there in this cold open space. Nothing really happens. Take your hands and imagine squeezing this problem tight, like trying to squeeze it into a solution. I think we all know what that feels like to try to squeeze something into some kind of premature or prefab solution that feels violent, colder or unkind to do.
In the long run, it’s the act of honoring that’s the antidote to our bewilderment and the path to our own unique genius.CLICK TO TWEETNow, take your hands and hold them cupped like you were cupping holding a baby bird, and now just experience or imagine holding whatever this issue is with cupped hands, not worrying about a solution but just holding it in that way. How does that feel different? If you’re imagining doing it because you’re in a public space, how do you imagine that would feel different? This act of holding with cupped hands is one of the practices that in my intensives and my work with clients, we do often, we do again and again.
We don’t only have to do this with problems or difficulties. The act of holding our humanity with cupped hands. When we do that, there’s a slowing down. There’s a connecting to maybe the sadness of our humanity, the decency, the goodness of our humanity. There’s something kind in it, and there’s something immensely soothing. It’s that amazing experience of being a good parent to yourself. It’s something I heard about for years and years, and didn’t get until I learned these processes. Maybe I didn’t learn them until I became a dad, and found out what that meant to hold your child’s heart and emotions with cupped hands.
Take a minute right now and notice, recognize whatever it is you’re feeling at the moment. Just let yourself imagine holding it with cupped hands. You could do this physical symbol of holding your hands cupped like you were holding a baby bird, and imagine holding your heart and your humanity in your hands in that way. Let yourself feel that. I want to share with you some of the things that will happen for you, I believe, if you practice this. One thing that will happen will be that there will be a sense of dignity in you just being you, nothing other than you. In your quirkiness, in your craziness, in your sadness, in your sweetness, in your joy, in your excitement, in your whatever. There’s a way that you’ll be making space for the reality that a being who is just like you exists in the world.
I think in some ways, this is the heart of the practice of being an artist, is that you don’t try to change your experience to be what you think it should be. Instead, you will hold your experience with cupped hands, and then you create an express from that place by allowing it to be. I think too that it makes us better human beings. We become the being we’re meant to be, and we get more comfortable in our own quirky skin when we do this. Also, there’s a kind of aura or blossoming of energy that happens out of this space. It’s a kind of luminosity. It’s a kind of being lit from within. Even in our sadness, even in our confusion, there is a feeling of beauty, and then the other thing is that somehow, it’s like we’re creating an environment of benevolence, which is healing and soothing, and somehow teaches us that it’s possible, that there is an environment of benevolence in the world and in life.
Just the act of holding ourselves that way moves us closer to being sacred, moves us closer to a kind of magic that is our magic. When we do that, we glow as us in deeper and richer ways. It’s the ultimate holding environment in some ways, and it’s something that we can give ourselves, and we can do it when we feel joy, sadness, confusion, anything. That’s one process, this universal holding our hearts with cupped hands. I encourage you to try it and notice the differences that you experience in your own inner state, in your actions, and in your interactions. My guess is that if you do it for a while and start to feel it, it’s going to be a significant key, moving you to a more beautiful space, and a space that nourishes, allows, expresses, and creates intimacy and truth even more fully and deeply in your life.
Now, I want to talk about another process. This is heavy stuff, I know. This is a process which I called “Holding Both”. It’s a process that we can do when we have conflicting sides, and God knows we all have a lot of conflicting sides. This is a process that you can do when you have two different conflicting sides. Why don’t you take a minute right now and imagine two different parts of yourselves that are both real and true but are conflicting. Maybe you have a part of you that is shy and afraid to speak out, and it’s real. It’s really a part of you. It affects and influences your life, and then you have another part of you that is fierce.
The act of self-honoring may be challenging, but ultimately, it’s the most comforting path of all.CLICK TO TWEETI know someone who calls that part of herself, the pirate queen. A part of yourself that wants to express things and does express things, that needs to express things. That would be one example of two conflicting parts. Maybe another set of conflicting parts would be a part of you that craves closeness, intimacy, and approval, and another part of you that craves freedom and truth. At different times, those parts pull in really different directions. The freedom and truth part might want independence, might want to say things that are going to get you in trouble, or maybe even hurt other people’s feelings, but they’re the truth for you.
The other part of you doesn’t want to cause pain, wants connection, wants affiliation. It doesn’t want to hurt people. That’s another example of two different parts. Maybe you have a sexual part that’s wild, crazy, free and expressive, and another sexual part of you that’s private, quiet and deeply internalized. That would be another example. There are so many different examples of different parts of ourselves. A part that needs to be quiet that is deeply quiet, and another part that’s crazy, social and bubbly, all different parts. I’d like you to take a minute now, and think of two parts of you that are different and can get into conflict. They each want and need what they want and need, and don’t fit well together.
Picture those two parts of you. Here’s what we’re going to do with this. I want you to imagine the first part, whichever it is, it could be either one. Imagine it as a child, your child, maybe 7, 8, 10, 12 years old, whatever feels right to you. You’re just going to let this child be your child, and you’re going to put this child on one knee, and you’re going to put your arm around this child. This is the part of you that is shy, timid, intense, expressive, and fierce, whatever those qualities are. This is one of those two children that are yours. Imagine this wonderful child that you love resting on one of your knees, and your arm around them, just like you would do with a child who had very particular needs, and your arm is around this kid.
Now, think of this opposite quality of you. Imagine this as another one of your kids. It’s so different with a really different life trajectory, with different strengths, with different weaknesses, with a different journey altogether, but your kid, your child also. Imagine this child now sitting on your other knee, and you put your arm around this child too. You’re not going to do anything to make them communicate or be more like each other or change them.
All you’re going to do is sit there with these two parts of yourself, one on each knee holding both of these kids, both of these precious, real, and true parts of your being. Such different children, but both yours, and just imagine taking your arms, keeping your arms and putting them around them, and just holding them. Now, feel what it’s like to hold both without trying to change either, your two very different children, and you love them both, and you’re holding them both. Try this right now for a moment and see how it feels.
This is an exquisite way to evolve in your relationship with these two different parts of you. Both of which, of course, need a place at the voting table of your life. Probably, both of which have felt pissed off because they haven’t been listened to enough, cramped by the other one, and maybe judged as well. Maybe, one has been more appreciated than the other, but now you’re holding both. It’s a beautiful exercise, and when you do it, both of these precious parts of your being, both of which hold the true Core Gifts, which are essential for your being. Even if one of them is shy, timid, and afraid, it’s still true. That experience of simply holding both will make you so much of a richer, more amazing, and full human being. These are processes of honoring.
I’d like to read something that I wrote in my book, Deeper Dating. “In the long run, it’s the act of honoring that’s the antidote to our bewilderment and the path to our own unique genius. The act of self-honoring may be challenging, but ultimately, it’s the most comforting path of all. Every other path hurts. Everything else is broken glass, sharp brambles in our side. Honoring is the skill that enables us to live the beauty and the mission of our Core Gifts in the world. It requires giving up the whip we wield against ourselves. It requires a kindness, a listening to our gifts. Anything less than honoring is essentially an act of quiet violence against ourselves. We can’t dishonor our Core Gifts without repercussions.”
I want to read a beautiful poem from Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my great heroes in the world who, at this point, is very ill and probably not much longer for the world. He’s a true hero and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King. Here’s his poem, “I hold my face in my hands. No, I am not crying. I hold my face in my two hands to keep the loneliness warm, two hands protecting, two hands nourishing, two hands preventing my soul from leaving me in anger.” It’s a beautiful poem. As you practice these two techniques of deep, radical honoring, you will emerge more and more as you. That is a beautiful and powerful thing. It is the soil in which rich intimacy can grow in your life. Thank you for listening. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.