Hunger tells us we need to eat; sadness, for example, tells us we need comfort. Instead of being in our sadness, many of us retreat into “safer,” more secondary feelings like anger. This just pushes our partner away when our sadness would likely draw them closer.
The first courageous thing then to do is to allow and experience those feelings.
I’m going to ask you to go further than this, though, and propose something that requires even more courage, in fact, something that may be terrifying.
After you’ve gotten clear on your own experience, articulate your true emotions and your needs for connection from that raw and vulnerable place to your partner. Be crystal clear about this as your partner is not a mind reader.
When we have any doubts as to whether our partner is able to meet our needs, we may play it safe by expressing them subtly or couched in some kind of code that’s next to impossible to interpret. When we’re not clear, our message gets missed.
We’re then left hurting, feeling like we can’t rely on our partners, and the cycle of disconnect spins around and around.
To really put yourself out there to your partner can feel like a life or death moment because if you really make it explicit what you need, you may get shot down, burned or pushed away. There is no pain like that, after all, this need to connect is part of who we are. When that connection is cut, it can feel like we’re cut off from life itself.
In order to truly connect, however, we need to do so with our rawness, our vulnerability, and the stuff that everyone else doesn’t really get to see. We need to really face with bravery what could be a devastating blow.
It takes great courage, but it’s worth every bit of the risk to have the full and total connection with your partner.
Take action to put this to use now:
Think about a time that you and your partner got into a heated argument. Re-live that in your mind and slow it down. You may remember being angry and frustrated, but underneath that, were you feeling anything else?
Were you feeling scared that you couldn’t depend on your partner the way you needed to, or perhaps small, invisible and hurt? Maybe you were feeling something else, but get in touch with those softer, rawer feelings, and take note.
Share this exercise with your partner, and ask them what happens for them underneath when you fight. Try to each non-defensively get an understanding of what’s really happening on a deeper level for both of you.
It’s easier said than done, but with a bit of practice, you will be well on your way to a fuller and richer connection. If you need a little help, talk to an Emotionally Focused Therapist.
Here’s where you can find a listing of EFT therapists all over the world: http://iceeft.com/index.php/find-a-therapist
Cheers to your best relationship,