Who Are You Really?
Who Are You Really?
Let’s meet Joe and Karen. They’re on a Tinder date at some chic restaurant, sitting down for a delicious meal, both with hopes of connecting:
They smile, greet, and sit down to eat. Joe leads the conversation, asking Karen about her favorite Netflix show (I’m sure a few of you are nodding your heads right now). Yet, inside his head, he’s actually wondering if she likes the outfit he's chosen, and what perfume she’s wearing. He doesn’t actually care about Netflix, he just asked because it was easy.
Karen replies, talking about her favorite show. She was bored with the question, and saw it coming. She’s wondering if he’s a respectable guy, and if he’s really enjoying the food they ordered. Joe has forward body language, while Karen keeps pulling her scarf over her chest because she’s nervous.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly been in a situation or two just like this, where I was saying one thing, and thinking another.
When was the last time you allowed others access to your thoughts, feelings, and internal world!
Most people have what I like to call “four-to-one conversations” (4:1). You see, there are always four conversations going on between two people:
1. The conversation going on out loud.
2. The conversation the body conveys.
3 & 4. The conversations each person is having in their own head.
If all of these conversations are saying different things, there is a disconnect. Ironically, this is how most people choose to communicate.
“So, are you living an unconscious and disconnected life?”
Most would answer no, and believe wholeheartedly in that response. What does it mean to live an unconscious life, disconnected from others? Do most of us even know?
The truth is, the majority of us drift through life believing we’re truly connected. We’re confident we‘ve come to understand who we are, and what it means to love.
I live a lonely life, not because I’m disconnected, but because I’m surrounded by so many that are. I’m a solitary observer, watching people play out their disconnection and unconscious patterns, like a sober man in a room full of drunks.
So, what does it mean to live a life not disconnected, and unconscious? Well, that I can tell you.
“Real connection develops when four conversations become one. A one-to-one conversation (1:1).”
Let’s take a look at how Joe and Karen might interact in the same scenario, but on a 1:1 level.
Joe and Karen sit down for their meal. Joe asks Karen if she likes his outfit, and about her perfume. She smiles at him (touching his arm) saying it’s quite the outfit, and that it was a perfume from her grandmother. Karen then asks more about him as a person, and if he likes the food. Joe leans in and tells her a few secrets about his life, and says the food is amazing.
Notice a difference? Full cohesion.
There’s a way to take this connection deeper, and it’s just too scary for some people; too intimate. It’s a tool often used by therapists to call out negative behaviors and patterns in-session. Joe and Karen would no longer merely be talking about food and perfume, but begin talking about the fact they are talking about food and perfume. Crazy right!?
This is how a therapist would utilize the tool:
We’ve been talking for some time now about your past, and some rather hard experiences relating to your family, I can’t help but notice every time this topic comes up, your thought patterns becomes erratic, and your body posture becomes stiff…
This raises the perspective of awareness to their interactions, and heightens connection. That’s the deepest 1:1!
“Do you have 1:1 conversations with your parents, family, or friends?”
The relationships most familiar to us dictate the ways we relate to others. If we relate to people in unconscious, disconnected ways, we attract people who are most comfortable relating the same. Sadly for Joe and Karen, you also cannot truly love someone if you are having 4:1 conversations with them, because you’ll be unable to understand what they need to feel loved.
“Fully understanding love means being descriptive about ones relationships, not prescriptive.”
Most people have prescriptive relationships. They project their unrealistic hopes and expectations upon others, and intend to eventually classify these connections into a certain categories, effectivly blocking them from evolving and adapting (friend, boyfriend, husband, etc). The minority who are descriptive allow their relationships to expand to the fullest potential. After all, it’s insane to think we won’t grow and change over the years. There’s nothing permanent in life except change. By simply describing how we relate to people, our relationships can take any shape, at any time. Just my two cents!
“Describe what is it, rather than prescribing what it’s not.”
Let’s talk about unconscious behaviors. People spend their entire lives insufficiently communicating with everyone from store clerks to family members, then wondering why they feel so lonely in a world of 8 billion people.
When conversing with another, I’m consciously talking to myself about what I can say, and how I can act, to not only enhance the connectivness of the conversation, but also influence their emotions, behaviors, and mood. Also, bringing my internal dialouge out into the open to be verbally discussed.
“What are you thinking?”
“What do you need to hear from me in this moment to feel loved and heard?”
“How can I be critical, yet supportive?”
“What small thing can I do today to make your day special?”
I mentioned earlier I live a life of solitude. This is because I’m so often conversing with those who don’t converse with themselves while talking to me. Most often I see people acting how they feel, not providing the communicating others need from them.
“The number one thing people desire in life is to feel connected with others, and themselves.”
Are you connected to yourself? Do you treat yourself with kindness, acceptance and love? When was the last time you looked in the mirror and said, “I love you”, “what small thing can I do today to make myself feel special”, or even, “how can I be critical of myself, yet supportive?”
We need our own kindness and acceptance more than we need it from others. And, if we ever hope to have 1:1 conversations with future partners, we must first learn to have them with ourselves.
“Love is not earned. It’s a way of living.”
So, why do we all live this way? — The trance of fear, shame, and unworthiness… Suffering is necessary, until you realize it’s unnecessary!
Voltaire said, “Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” People take life too seriously. They take that Tinder date so seriously they forget to be real, and forget life is all about play. The wholehearted belief of the disconnected is one day all pain will fall away, and play will commence. Safety residing in saving face to societal standards, connection allowed only when condoned appropriate. We must learn to play in the sun, and the rain.
The worst regret anyone could ever have, sadly if they only knew, would be to have lived all of life in disconnection, a life of false content. A life driven by fear and loneliness, the comforts of societies lies whispering it was all ok. Then to look back realizing in painful tears that this impermanent life was never about the car, the house, or the job. But, definitively about headward-facing into the pain of ones internal fears with open arms, becoming ones own best friend, and appreciating the life of another, not owning them; witnessing their own self-discovery, becoming whole.
But that only happens with 1:1 conversations. So, I will ask one last time, are you living an unconscious, disconnected life?
Rumi may have an answer:
“why do you stay in prison, when the door is so wide open?”