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How To Know If You’re Progressing In Your Search For Love
These Key Markers Will Show You Where You’re Progressing In Your Search For Love
How can you tell if you’re progressing in your intimacy journey? This episode will give you markers and tools to figure out your own answer to this really important question. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast,
Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book “deeper Dating” and the host of this podcast. Today I’m going to be talking about how you can know if you are progressing in your intimacy journey. This week and every week I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, grow love, and heal your life in the process. The skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. We know that those are the most important skills of all for a happy and meaningful life. If you want to know more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, and also get complete transcripts of every episode. We have created an online event for people to meet based on the deeper values and skills that we talk about in this program. It’s warm, emotionally safe, fun, and positive. Go to the website to learn more about that and to sign up if you like. I want to say that everything I share in this show is educational in nature and it’s not medical or psychiatric advice. If you’re having any serious psychological symptoms, please seek professional help. If you like what you’re learning here, thank you for subscribing and leaving me a review.
Let’s jump right in. Many of you that are reading have committed to a journey of growth in your search for love. This is such a big thing because we’re taught that somehow, we should have this ‘it’, which means attractiveness, success in dating, and success in finding love. I guess some of us do have that, but the rest of us have to do some real work to rewire, shift, and grow. Take a wisdom path to learn about how we push love away and how we can invite love in. Those learnings are some of the most beautiful and strengthening learnings that we can have in our life. I consider this holy and sacred ground. I consider it some of the most precious and important learning that can exist.
Growing As A Person
Many of you have chosen your own path where you are exploring, “What does it mean to grow as a person who knows how to love? What does it mean to grow as a person who’s looking for love and who this time is really looking for healthy, real, sustainable, and beautiful love? What does it mean to be someone who sees our clay feet in love and is humbled by that realization of the ways that we miss signals, push people away, go numb, do unkind things?” Those of us who are humbled by those things and say, “I want to change them,” that’s why we’re here. When we start learning new skills and new insights, I hope that for you, this show is filled with insights that feel like wisdom, possibility, and an invitation to you tackling the climb of your own intimacy journey.
Having that experience is a wonderful thing. It’s exciting. It gives a feeling of hope and it moves us away from that relentless and ugly current that tells us that we’re not acting masculine enough or feminine enough or we’re not flirting right. The issues are our hair, weight, glutes, and that we don’t act cool enough. We don’t have these pickup skills. All this crap that steers us away from love and towards self-loathing in an indirect and strange circular path. A little bit more about that – When we decide to take that path of fixing ourselves and fixing our packaging, when that becomes, “I’m all for looking good. I’m all for feeling confident in expressing that. I’m all for the joy of fun flirting,” I’m all for all of those things.
Here’s how to know if you’re progressing in your search for love.CLICK TO TWEETWhat I’m not for is putting the packaging improvement first because that’s a soul killer that weakens us. It does something else too, a strange thing. When we take that path, “How can I fix myself? How can I make myself more attractive? How am I not attractive enough? That must be why I’m not in a relationship.” God knows I spent decades seduced by that. When we do that, we end up being sexually and romantically attracted to people who are not going to be available. This is a mystical thing to me. It’s something I talk about a lot. In my work with clients and in my intensives, I see that as people learn to value and treasure their core gifts, their attractions begin to change. I’ve seen this in my own life too.
When we start by honoring who we are and learning to honor who the other person is and when we honor our sense of discrimination, those are the things that matter and work. Those are the things wherein our search for love become our discovery of self-love and they join together. In that happening, that’s when we learn the real skills of intimacy which are not, “How can I change myself and airbrush myself so that I’m more attractive? Who am I? Who is the other person? How can I be real? How can I treasure them? How can I treasure me? How can we honor each other? How can I say what’s real for me?” When we do that, when we do those things, our search for love unequivocally, absolutely, fundamentally changes. That’s a hard work miracle, but it happens.
Looking For Love
These are the great things that happen when we take on a conscious path to looking for love. It sounds simple from here. It’s like a high aerial view. I’ve talked about this. It’s like looking at a map and 1 inch equals 300 miles so, “I go from here to there. It’s easy.” The map is right. That’s true, it tells you where to go. When you’re there on ground and following that, you realize that a road is closed because of a detour. Another road is closed because of a flood. Another road you don’t want to go down because it’s really, really unpleasant. There’s a much more interesting road somewhere else. The real path and these concepts that I’m saying are absolutely true. On the ground, it’s still hard, murky, confusing.
That period where we’re looking for love and we’re learning to live these changes, there’s still this period where it’s like, “What’s going on? When is it going to happen? When am I going to see the difference? When am I going to meet someone who’s not almost?” In this journey, I think what many people experience as they learn these lessons that we talk about here is the kind of people they meet change, but it’s a stepping stone thing. Often the people you meet as you begin this journey or you dive into the earlier stages of this journey are better than the people you were meeting. You’re attracted and interested. You say, “This feels different. I get it.” You sometimes end up saying, “It’s not close enough.” They still have many of those old traits and they’re not working on them. They’re not addressing them. That’s because it’s a stepping stone process.
This middle process is hard. When you enter into a tunnel and you’ve got the light from behind you, when you’re coming out of a tunnel, you see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the middle of the tunnel, how do you find the light and hope when you feel it’s a slogging journey? When it’s just so damn exhausting to try again or deflating to meet another “almost” person? How do you get through that? I’m going to talk about a few different ways. The first way that I want to talk about is this. A client once said to me, “I realize that no matter where I am and no matter what challenges I’m going through, the first question is always going to be the same. The acknowledgment and gratitude for what you have already and of how far you’ve come. The act of looking back from where you’ve been, seeing where you are, and seeing the arc of progress.” Incomplete still, but looking back and saying, “That’s where I came from.”
Questions To Help You Think Why You’re Stuck
Acknowledging the growth is a huge and important tool. We’re going to do that together because I’m going to ask you five questions. As you answer them, you will notice the ways in which maybe you might be still stuck in your journey or you’ll be able to acknowledge ways that you are progressing in your journey. If you’re feeling that you’re not progressing and you’re stuck. I’m going to give you a few questions to help you think about why you might be stuck. You might need to have some kind of intervention, tinkering, and shift. With that, you’re free again to continue moving forward. I want you to think about each one and you can answer it out loud or write it down if you want.
Great things happen when we take on a conscious path to looking for love.CLICK TO TWEETLet’s start with these fabulous questions. The first question is in your journey, are you coming to understand and value your authentic self, gifts, passions, and your sensitivities more deeply? Are you, and think about that? Do you feel you understand and value your innate gifts, deep sensitivities, and passions more fully as opposed to thinking, “This is going to be too much. I’m going to get in trouble for this?” No one says you’re going to be romantically attracted to this. It’s too different and weird. Are you coming to treasure those parts and say, “This is who I am?” Take a minute and think about that. If your answer is yes, then that is truly something to cheer. It is something that will unequivocally shift the creation of the fabric of your future. It will shift the patterns of your future in good and important ways.
I talk about two different kinds of the circuitry of attraction: attractions of deprivation and attractions of inspiration. That was the piece of my Deeper Dating book that Oprah.com excerpted. The ability to tell the difference and attractions of deprivation are attractions where the attraction is at least in part trying to get the other person to finally be available, do their part of the work, and treat you kindly with dignity and respect. There’s this passion for that because they’re almost there, but they’re not there. We can get lost in that forever. Those are attractions of deprivation.
Attractions of inspiration are when we become sexually and romantically attracted to somebody because of his or her goodness, solidity, integrity, capacity, decency, availability, generosity of spirit and wonderful things. When we become sexually and romantically attracted to someone because of their goodness and their solidity and that’s woven in, we’re making the right choices. We are finally making the choices that are going to lead to a love-filled future. It’s a big choice point. That’s another question. Are you losing your taste for your attractions of deprivation and getting away from them more quickly? If so, that is something else to celebrate.
The third question is, are you increasingly following your attractions of inspiration? Are you noticing people like that more? Are you more interested in them? Are you spending more time with them? I know for me, attractions of inspiration used to seem boring. I love that spicy edge of an unavailable person. As I grew, I came to realize there’s a wonderful ancient Hindu saying that goes, “What we used to think was honey and then we realize it is poison. What we used to think is poison turns out to be honey.” I thought attractions of inspiration were the most boring thing that existed. I hated that I thought that because I knew that was going to get me in trouble, but I still thought it and I felt it. As I began to love attractions of inspiration more, my world changed truly.
The fourth question, are you being yourself more in your relationships? There’s this wonderful saying, “Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.” That’s from the world of twelve-step wisdom. Are you expressing your authentic self more fully in your relationships? If your answer to that is yes, this is also wonderful. If you are doing those things, you are moving closer toward the healthy love you dream of. These things are light in the middle of the tunnel. The fifth question is, are you adding to this recipe of growth a nice dollop of bravery, getting out there, virtually or in person? These days, it’s more virtually to meet new people. I always say this, virtual venues or in-person venues with people who share your passions, interests, and values are probably the best place to meet.
Questions That Will Help Explain Your Stuck Point
If you’re online, you can filter people’s profiles by those things. Every question you answered yes to is a cause for celebration. If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, the chances are good that your dating life is changing in significant ways. If you’re saying yes to more of those, maybe 3 or 4, it is possible that almost mysteriously you are meeting kinder and more available people and you’re more interested in them. Trust the path you’re working because it’s working. If you honestly feel that there are no significant changes occurring for you as a result of this inner work that you’re doing, there are a few questions I’d like you to ask. Usually, at least one of them is going to hold the key to explaining your stuck point.
Willpower, in cases where we’re trying to change personality patterns, is one of the weakest tools in toolbox; support is the most powerful.CLICK TO TWEETIf you’re online, you can filter people’s profiles by those things. Every question you answered yes to is cause for celebration. If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, the chances are good that your dating life is changing in significant ways. If you’re saying yes to more of those, maybe 3 or 4, it is possible that almost mysteriously you are meeting kinder and more available people and you’re more interested in them. Trust the path you’re working because it’s working. If you honestly feel that there are no significant changes occurring for you as a result of this inner work that you’re doing, there are a few questions I’d like you to ask. Usually, at least one of them is going to hold the key to explaining your stuck point.
Willpower, in cases where we’re trying to change personality patterns, is one of the weakest tools in toolbox; support is the most powerful.CLICK TO TWEETNumber one, are you in an actively abusive relationship of any sort? If you are, not only will you be being abused and hurt, which is profoundly depleting, diminishing, wounding, and traumatizing. There’s a secondary problem too. It’s a huge cost that come with these relationships. That is the deep-down belief that you somehow don’t deserve better gets reinforced every day you’re in this relationship. It gets reinforced every time you feel diminished by this person. In an abusive relationship, if it’s physically abusive and seriously emotionally abusive, get help to help get out.
Don’t just get out because sometimes that could be dangerous unless you absolutely need to for health and safety reasons, then just get out. If you can get help in doing it, you will protect yourself in the process. I know somebody who has been in a relationship for a gazillion years. Her wife can be sharp-tongued and she hates it. My friend hates that. They have a deal and they’ve done this for many years. Every time the wife is sharp-tongued, she has to give my friend $0.25. No serious amount of money, but they love each other. As sharp tongued as her wife is, she’s a wonderful person and loves her. This works for them. I love that story. If you’re in a relationship where the abuse is not extreme, then that’s what needs to be worked on. It’s not okay for you to end up feeling diminished.
Next question, do you have any untreated psychiatric disorders or any active addictions? When I say untreated psychiatric disorders, I don’t mean mild depression or anxiety, I mean, depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric conditions that destabilize you in regular ways from which you are either untreated or undertreated. You have not found a treatment that stabilizes you or you have an active addiction. If those things are true, none of this stuff is going to work or stick except to help get you into treatment at best. A relationship won’t be able to work until you address this. Stop and do that, make that commitment because nothing’s going to work until you do. There will be so much pain in not doing it and such a sense of mastery in tackling and addressing these things.
Another one is are you doing this work alone without a learning partner or support? If so, it’s much harder. I would encourage all of you to find a learning partner. Somebody who will work with you and be with you as you learn your lessons of intimacy day by day and date by date. Who can listen, support you, and guide you in a way that’s not critical, but as warm and caring. I can’t tell you how important it is but the research backs it up 100%. I did a whole episode on this subject. Another one is are you resisting putting your heart into this work? That’s something to think about. In other words, doing it with gusto and diving into your intimacy lessons. I want to say it’s not easy.
It’s humbling to say, “I see that I’m pushing love away. I am seeing my clay feet in this relationship or in the ways that I date.” This is one of the greatest things that we can give ourselves is that humbling acknowledgment. When that happens, we change. When that doesn’t happen, we feel ashamed and resistant to change. The last one I want to say, is there another issue, an old relationship you haven’t been able to let go of that’s blocking your progress? If any of these things are going on, I want to encourage you to take the brave step of getting support. If you’re stuck here, don’t try to fix it alone because your efforts will be much more weakened. Willpower, in cases where we’re trying to change personality patterns, it’s one of the weakest tools in the toolbox. Support is the most powerful. That’s a thought I want to share with you.
In closing that in this phase, you might feel you’re stuck at some of the old familiar, creepy, sad, and frustrating crossroads that you’ve been at before in your dating life. Sometimes it might even feel like nothing’s different, but things are different. If you look more closely, you’ll see that you are coming to those old crossroads with a new set of tools. With a stronger sense of connection to your own gifts and hopefully with more support. At every crossroad, especially with support, you’ll notice that you’re making new micro shifts in your approach that have a little bit more self-love, self-dignifying, more passion, power, self-honoring, and kindness.
You’ll notice these micro shifts and those micro shifts open new doors. When new doors open, that means that a new future is being formed, shaped, and sculpted. You’ll sense that something new is happening because you’ll feel glimmers of intimacy at points that once just felt like closed doors. Think about, which of these ideas hits you the most? The most useful is the most feeling like a guidepost for you. I encourage you to hold that to your heart, do something constructive and creative with it. Thank you for reading. I hope this was useful. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating PODCAST.