In this episode, you’ll learn how to discover your greatest intimacy gifts. These “Core Gifts” are the key to finding, attracting, and growing deep and true love. As you learn to name and honor your unique Core Gifts, your dating life will shift in profound and unexpectedly wonderful ways. By the end of this episode, you’ll have a new sense of your own greatest intimacy gifts.
Table of Contents
- The Place Where Our Intimacy Gifts Resides
- The Heat of Our Intimacy Gifts
- The Compelling Pull of Our Intimacy Gifts
- Naming Our Intimacy Gifts
Episode Introduction: Intimacy Gifts
What is the single greatest key for being able to bear the heat of intimacy, to be able to find love and keep it flourishing and discover the love in your own heart? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to find out.
Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of the bestselling book Deeper Dating and the host of this podcast. And today we’re going to talk about what I kind of think is the most important piece of all in anybody’s search for inner and outer love, your core gifts.
Every week in this podcast I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich and meaningful life.
And if you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, and if you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts there and you’ll learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your intimacy journey. And you’ll also find a complete transcript of this entire episode.
And I’m so excited to say that for anyone who wants to take this work to the next level, I’ve just come out with a downloadable online course, put in many, many, many, many hours kind of encapsulating the essence of what I think is the most important core of this work.
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This is the heart and soul of I’d say the biggest lesson that I have learned in my decades and decades as a psychotherapist and as a person for whom love and the search for love has been incredibly important. Here’s what it is.
The Place Where Our Intimacy Gifts Resides
The places we’re the most scared to reveal, the places we’ve been hurt the most, the places where we have the most insecurity, the places where our power or our tenderness frightens us the most are our core gifts.
And they are the absolute greatest key to being able to find love, feel love, and have a home in this world and live our mission. The very things we’re scaredest of, scaredest, is that a word?
That we’re the most tender about, the most uncertain about, the places where the world has understood us the least, are our genius and the degree to which we embrace those parts of ourselves and name them and come to learn and understand their fire, their tenderness, their magic, their treasure, and their importance.
To that degree, we are going to be attracted to people who love us for who we are, and we’re going to be able to build a life that is full and rich with love. Now is that journey easy? Of course not. Is every day a new set of challenges? Absolutely.
But it’s a simple and profound formula that the more we love and honor and dignify those parts of ourselves, the more successful we will be in love, and the more successful we will be as human beings living in this world. And the more successful we will be at being us.
So what are these core gifts, and how can we find and discover what they are and learn to back them and dignify them, and use them, and treasure them? Well, that’s going to be a subject that I cover in a number of different episodes.
Our Intimacy Gifts Being the Center of the Center
And I realized today that I have done 61 episodes so far and only now am I touching this in a very direct way. And it’s because it’s such a kind of tender and important and profound piece but also such a vast piece that I kind of kept waiting.
Although I alluded to it and spoke about it in many different ways. This is an episode that is devoted to this center of the center of all of this work, which is our core gifts.
So here’s an image to get us started with this process. And it’s an image that I have used in other episodes. It’s a fabulous and ultra-simple image. It’s the image of a target. And so if you imagine a target and you imagine this target has concentric rings, and that target is the topography of your psyche, your being, and your life.
It’s the topography of your inner world. And the closer you get to the center of that target, the closer you’re getting to the deepest, most tender, most powerful parts of your humanity. The places where you have felt life the most deeply, the places where you get the most touched and affected by life in joy, in pain, in longing, in creativity, and in intimacy.
But that’s a very powerful place the center of that target. It’s where our deepest hurts are, it’s where our fiercest power lies. It’s where our uniqueness comes into its own fullness in the language of our being and our mission comes into its own fullness.
Defensive Ways of Living
And we know that that can be a scary thing to live in the world because it sets us apart in some ways, and we fear that we won’t be loved when we show those parts of ourselves. And maybe we haven’t been loved, and often we are the most hurt around our greatest gifts. We’ll be talking about that more.
That’s as you move in closer to the center and then so because the heat is so great in that way of living the heat is so great, as we get closer to the beating heart of our humanity, to the core of our authenticity, we protect ourselves. We create airbrushed versions of ourselves that are kind of more built so that we don’t get hurt and we get approved of.
Those are kind of defensive ways of living, and they protect us from the fierceness of what’s inside. I’ve often quoted William Blake who says that we’re here for just a bit of time on this earth to learn to bear the beams of love. So because the beams of love are so fierce, we create airbrushed versions of ourselves.
And if you’ll imagine the further out you get in this target is the more protected and defended you become. And when you reach a certain point, the world becomes a lot colder and a lot emptier and more and more addictions and compulsions can take hold. Things like workaholism and a whole range of addictions, all the ways that we kind of avoid the heat of our being.
The Heat of Our Intimacy Gifts
So the further out you get, the safer you get in a way, because you’re further away from the heat of your core. But the further out you go, the less safe you are because the emptier you become, the less true you become. The more you build a life based on a projected self that’s not really who you are.
So this is the map. This is the map right here that we’re going to be working with. Once you get, no one really lives in the center of the center of the center except very enlightened beings because you can’t just jump there and get there. It’s a journey.
To be able to bear that part of you and live it well in the world takes a set of skills of such profound maturity and integration that we have to grow into overtime. But there’s a certain closeness that we hit that I call our gift zone.
It’s when we may not be right in this center, but we feel the heat and the warmth of our humanity and we hold it with a sense of compassion and space.
And any time we feel our humanity in sadness, in joy, in peace, in quietness, in connection, in bewilderment, in creativity, whatever it is that we’re feeling in our humanity and the more we can hold that with a sense of compassion, what I call cupped hands, we are in our gift zone.
We are somehow illumined when we’re in that space. We are very beautiful. We are in our magic. And in this zone, we are going to be so much more attractive to the people who are looking truly, deeply for someone like us.
Living With Our Intimacy Gifts
We will also be feeling the flow of our own unique love because we’re in the place where we can love the world and love ourselves. So this is a sacred, sacred space. And quite simply, the more we live in our gift zone, the richer our life will be in all aspects, in all arenas, including creativity and love.
In this space lie our core gifts and our core gifts, they’re kind of the way that we are built. They’re the way that we’re organized. They’re the center of the things that matter most to us.
And core gifts are like fingerprints in a way. Everyone has fingerprints and there are certain basic things that are kind of universal in our core gifts. Our need for love, our need for connectedness, our need for freedom, our need for independence, our need to give, our need to receive. All these things are very, very basic and universal, but like fingerprints for each one of us those core gifts are also unique.
And for so many different reasons we go through life not being able to name or own them, and the biggest reason that’s true is because we haven’t been taught to have gift eyes, to see the importance of these gifts, and to discover them not only in our joys but in our insecurities and our pains because they can be found most quickly and easily in our deepest hurts and our greatest joys.
In a moment, I’m going to give you some ideas about how you can begin to discover and name your core gifts, but first I just want to read something from my book Deeper Dating about core gifts.
Intimacy Gifts Coming From the Core
“Your core gifts lie at the center of your search for intimacy because they’re the deepest and most sensitive parts of you. The parts that feel love and the effects of love most intensely. Core gifts come from our core. They feel essential to our identity. If we look at our lives, we find areas of particular sensitivity, vulnerability, and passion that are triggered by similar things.”
Something that hurts your feelings might off someone else’s back. Something that makes you feel deeply inspired may have little impact on someone else. We experience the most joy and the most pain around these highly charged parts of our being. So you can take a minute and think about this right now.
In relationships, what are the things that give you the greatest joy? The greatest sense of connection? They might not hit your partner in quite the same way, but they’re what really touch your heart. They speak the language. They’re your love language. They’re your intimacy language.
What are the things that bother you the most in your relationships that other people might not feel them in the same way or with the same intensity? I want to say that if you have listened to this podcast this far, I imagine that you are someone who has a quality of deep sensitivity that may have gotten you in trouble or hurt you in your life.
Because I don’t think that people would be listening to this episode if they didn’t have a passion for deeper intimacy and a kind of felt sense of the importance of those tender places in their heart.
The Compelling Pull of Our Intimacy Gifts
I think that this work tends to attract people who have a deep sensitivity that maybe they’ve been told they were over-sensitive or deep compassion or generosity or maybe a deep kind of intensity that the world has often told them is too much.
So, I’ll continue – in your relationships, you might be most prone to being angry or distant when you feel wounded around your core gifts. When you feel inspiration, validation, and acceptance around them, you’ll shine. As you come to see the patterns of how you’re affected by the experiences in your relationships, your core gifts will become clearer to you. Core gifts aren’t a gimmick. They’re not a packageable commodity that works like a genie to meet our deepest desires.
They’re the ache, the compelling pull, the inner reaching that we sometimes honor and sometimes try to silence. They’re the music that keeps playing below the surface of our minds and to acknowledge your core gifts is unequivocally to create a deeper intimacy with your most essential self.
So in my book, in my intensive, in my work with clients, my coaching work with clients, and in this new online course, a huge amount of the journey is about discovering and naming your core gifts. It’s a process that is so beautiful and so important that I devote a huge amount, and so counter-intuitive that it’s really important to devote a lot of time to helping people be able to pick out these core gifts.
So what are the questions that we can ask ourselves to discover our core gifts? And again, there’s going to be a lot more about this.
Getting to the Essence of Love
Well there’s so much more in the book and in the course, but there is going to be so much more than I talk about in this podcast as well to help you learn to discover and honor your core gifts, which is just a journey of its kind of getting to the essence of love, liberation, and self dignifying.
So the questions are, and you can note this in your day to day life, what are the things that touch you the most in your heart? What are the things that give you the most sense of inspiration?
And the next time you feel that instead of just thinking, “Oh, this is a nice moment,” or, “I feel good,” actually kind of reflect backwards and think, what does this say about what matters most to me? How might this be a core gift? What is it in this situation that is really touching my heart? These are questions that are the foundation of true, authentic self-love.
Another question is, what are the things that hurt your heart? That’s not such an easy one, but it’s such an important one because you’ll have experiences in your day to day life that sometimes they even feel like, did you ever get a paper cut and you don’t even know you got hurt. You don’t even feel it, but maybe five minutes later you go, “Ow, that stung.”
That kind of situation where you’re in a social setting and you think everything’s fine. You’re telling yourself it’s okay. You don’t feel as good, but you’re telling yourself it’s okay and then all of a sudden later you say, “Ouch. There was something that didn’t feel right in that. That didn’t feel good.”
Micro Ruptures Around Our Intimacy Gifts
Those moments are gold because as they say, intimacy is a journey of rupture and repair. And we feel these micro ruptures most deeply in the places of our core gifts. So the things that bother you that maybe don’t bother anyone else are treasures because they tell you about what matters most to you.
If you look at the things that hurt your heart the most, and if you look at the things that move and fill your heart the most, and you kind of put them together, it’s like a connect the dots puzzle, a picture emerges. And that picture is of your core gifts, the things that touch you and matter the most deeply.
Here’s the deal, the degree to which we dishonor those, and this is a formula that has become so clear to me in the work that I do and I think really speaks to a much deeper physics of dating and intimacy. And I’ve seen it so many times that I just know it’s true, and I’m still in awe of a kind of magic that goes with it.
To the degree that you honor and dignify and name those parts of yourself, you will be connected to the stream of love that is who you are and you will become sexually and romantically attracted to people who honor that part of you.
The degree to which you don’t yet treasure those parts of yourself. This is an ongoing journey for all of us. There’s always more, there’s always more. But the degree to which you don’t treasure those extra sensitivities and honor them and see them as portals to your greatest self.
Naming Our Intimacy Gifts
The degree to which you can’t do that with those sensitivities or passions or intensities, you will be sexually and romantically attracted to people that chip away at your self worth, that end up with you feeling like there’s a thumb on top of you, that there’s something wrong, that there’s something wrong with you in your very existence, in your way of being.
As you learn to name your core gifts and finally dignify them, and we can go through like a lifetime and not have done that. And I’ll talk about why that is in another episode. But the key is the degree to which you learn to honor those, your world will change.
For example, in my intensives, which are six month long journeys for small groups of people who want to really take this in a very, very deep way, again and again when the core gift work is done in the course to the point that people have a visceral living sense of those parts of themselves, so much changes. Discrimination increases.
People say, “Oh, I can’t accept what I was accepting before.” People start honoring who they are and asking for what they need. I’ve seen this again and again and I’ve seen it in my own life because my attributes of sensitivity and my fierce hunger for truth, and intimacy, and authenticity got me in trouble my whole life.
And the act of discovering that those were my soul gifts was the process that changed my world and changed my life. And one that I still live every day but at a different level now.
The Beginning Of Understanding What Our Intimacy Gifts Are
So in my book and in my course, I teach step-by-step processes to help you be able to name and identify your core gifts. But the beginning of that is the understanding what hurts your heart and what quickens and fills your heart. That’s the place to start.
The other question that you can ask that is a fabulous important part. As you begin to come to understand, and name, and identify, and articulate those gifts inside yourself. Here’s another fabulous question, in what relationships do these gifts feel deprived of oxygen? What does that feel like when these gifts are deprived of oxygen? Those are the old patterns.
In what relationships do these gifts feel like they can breathe, like they can play, like they can grow, like there’s room for them to exist? Those are the treasure relationships. Those are the relationships that are X marks the spot for where we want to build our life in this world, for where we want to build our home in this world.
So these are some rich, rich questions to think about, and I really encourage you to get back to me by going to deeperdatingpodcast.com and going to ‘Ask Ken’ and sharing your experiences with these experiments and with this new way of understanding what your core gifts are.
When you go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, you can join my mailing list and learn more about all the work that I’m doing. So thank you so much for listening and I look forward to speaking with you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.