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Say It Like It Is

Some of the most confusing suffering comes from shame or embarrassment about the basics of how you thrive and don't thrive in relationship.  Shame or embarrassment arises when you have some set of rules about what you are allowed to need and you aren't allowed to need in intimate relationship.  As you compare your actual experience to this set of rules, you inevitably feel discouraged and may fall into a puddle of self-criticism.

For example, you may have a rule that says:  "In a healthy relationship you should be satisfied with connecting with your partner on the weekend and not want anything more if you don't connect during the week".  But the fact is, it's pretty hard for you to feel secure in relationship.  You could reflect on your childhood, read about attachment theory, or consult your horoscope to explain it and yet even with more understanding, the fact remains:  to thrive in relationship you really benefit from multiple connection points in a given week or given day with your partner.  This is just the way it is for you right now.  It doesn't mean that you aren't doing your personal work and growing and changing.  It simply is the way your system works right now.  You have typically learned about what doesn't work for you the hard way, through resulting reactivity.

Sometimes it helps to gain acceptance about what truly works for you, by imagining that before you were born, you were handed some "karmic packages" (e.g., patterns of reactivity, unique challenges & strengths, types of wounding, etc.) and told that these are for you to unwrap and work with.  These  karmic packages are NOT who you are; understanding this allows you to find equanimity in your relationship to them.  Part of being responsible for your packages is being honest about what they are and how they work, understanding of course that they shift as you work with them.

When you are caught in shame or embarrassment about your "karmic packages", the result is usually confusing arguments, sudden hurts or outbursts, shut down, and sometimes manipulation or keeping secrets.  It takes self-awareness, courage, and responsibility to be honest with your partner (or anyone close to you) about how you really thrive in relationship.  Often you will find that your honesty and courage inspires others to meet you and share equally.  Sometimes though, you find out that not everyone can meet you at that level of vulnerability.  Regardless of how grounded and skillful you are another may still hear demands and expectations rather than vulnerable sharing.  In this case a relationship may need to end.  While this is painful, it may save you months or years of investing in a relationship that doesn't work.  

When another can receive your honesty and then share honestly about how much they can offer and with what they are willing to work, new doors of creativity and collaboration open up.  You may be able to negotiate and find new and creative ways to build a sense of security even when your partner doesn't show up in the way you are asking.  The tragic thing is that you won't be able to get to this creative collaboration without honesty about the way it is for you and hearing back from your partner what they can truly offer from the generosity of their autonomous heart.

Saying it like it is, is important in the beginning of a relationship to help you both enter into a commitment with honesty and mutual respect.  And since you are an ever changing flow of life energy, saying it like it is, is really an ongoing practice of self-reflection and honest communication that arises out of a compassionate and equanimous relationship to one's experiences, including one's karmic packages.


Take a moment to check in with something you would like in your relationship, that you haven't yet shared with your partner.  Follow these steps for reflection:  Name clearly the feeling, need, and request that goes along with what you would like, name any shame or embarrassment that comes up.  Breath through your heart, offer yourself reassurance that's it okay to experience what's present.  Allow yourself to rest there for a couple of minutes, just being with in compassion.

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4 Responses

  1. Mar 11, 2016

    LaShelle, the way you put this really connects with me. I just recently completed my Hakomi training (it was one of your Gems that led me to looking into it) and that whole experience really helped me meet needs for compassion and acceptance for myself especially, but also for others.

    Your "karmic packages" metaphor has sparked a way to deepen my practice around these needs. Recently I've been experiencing a dear friend's "packages" in a disconnecting way and making this shift in perspective has already gotten my heart softening towards her.

    NVC and the way you bring it alive has encouraged me to risk vulnerability to connect over and over and has led to experiencing more creative collaboration than I've ever known. Thanks for contributing to my well being, yet again :-)

  2. Mar 11, 2016
    Darlene Walczyk

    i'm interested in enrolling for a workshop.

    thank you

  3. Mar 14, 2016

    Wow Tricia, thanks for taking the time to let me know. I am truly nourished hearing about your how I have contributed!

  4. Mar 14, 2016

    Hi Darlene,

    this is a public forum. Could you send me an email with any questions you have about upcoming workshops?

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