We're taught that the search for love is a numbers game, with its odds stacked in favor of the most attractive. Well, we've been taught wrong! As I explain in my book Deeper Dating, when we approach dating as an intimacy journey rather than a numbers game, our whole experience changes for the better. Most of us, single or coupled, flee the heat of love even as we seek it. When we take on the real work of tackling our own intimacy lessons, our lives open up. It's that simple--and that challenging. What are your personal intimacy lessons? Your answer to one question can reveal them:
Let's use this parable as a guide:
A woman was intently searching through her yard. A passing friend asked what she was looking for. She told him she had lost a pair of extremely valuable earrings--last seen in her living room! Her friend asked the obvious question, "Well, why aren't you looking there?" The woman answered, "It's so dark inside. It's much easier to search out here."
Now here's the core question: In your search for love, what's your "living room" -- the place where you know the real work lies, but which you'd prefer to avoid? Here are just some examples; trust your own gut response to this question.
* Do you waste time trying to make things work with the wrong people, or do you get serious only with people whose values inspire you? Because if you are dating anyone else, you're ultimately wasting your time.
* Do you show your "soul" to those whose values you love; that is, your passions, your tenderness, and your quirkiness? Do you share your emotional and sexual edges? (In the appropriate time frames, of course!) Or do you show an airbrushed, less original version of yourself?
* Are you so busy looking for love that you're shutting out the intimacy that already exists in your life: family, friends or pets? When we become so desperate for love that we ignore the love we already have, we frequently sabotage our own efforts.
* Are you taking the time to meet people who share your values--in non-virtual settings?
* Is there important inner work that needs to be done; e.g. addressing emotional, sexual, or addiction issues which hold you back?
Take a few moments and write down your honest answers. They are your marching orders; your next steps toward finding the love you seek. I've seen this again and again; when we choose the steep path; the real path to intimacy, we somehow end up finding kinder, more available people. The chances are great that this will also happen for you.
After you've written your answer, talk to a friend, or preferably, your dating buddy, and turn your insights into specific new goals. Then stay in touch--let them support you and hold you accountable to your goals. If you're like most of us, you won't be able to sustain the steepness of this climb without support.
Please write in and share your answers to this question. Your fellow readers will find meaning and direction from your insights.
Congratulations on your bravery. The true journey to intimacy is not for the faint of heart!
© 2011 Ken Page, LCSW. All Rights Reserved
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