Inquiry: Where do you pursue validation or others’ agendas rather than deeper connection within your own friendships?
Personal Integration: This practice can be done alone or with a friend, lover, or counselor. Take one to five minutes or longer to contemplate and answer the question. When done with another, it is essential that the listener remains neutral and encourages you by repeating this inquiry as needed to help maintain focus. Remember this contemplation can be looking for, or giving excessive praise and validation any relationship. Sometimes you might find yourself looking for validation by not being honest with what you think or feel. The important consideration is where you get lost or disconnected because of validating some other agenda than the one that lives deep in your heart. Be grateful for any insight that you receive as it gives you a chance to transform this limiting pattern.
Inquiry 2: What feelings come up when you are with friends that don’t stay connected to love and authenticity, in a way that you desire?
Personal Integration 2: Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format. As you look at feelings like, aloneness, boredom, emptiness, tiredness, disconnection, see if you can appreciate the insight that these feelings can awaken with regard to wanting richer contact with friends you have chosen in the world. Treat these feelings like pointers to find what you want, not as enemies.
Inquiry 3: Look at the specific friends with whom this occurs, and ask which are the ways of communicating that take you away from your heart’s desire?
Personal Integration 3: Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format. Appreciate the honesty, self-love, and effort that you are making to see your historic patterns. When do you follow a path of validation of other agendas with those that you care for, rather than pursuing what would fulfill deeper needs for connection. Be as specific as possible with individuals that are important in your life. Don’t put pressure on your self to immediately change, but simply be content to just see what the truth is. As you discover how you allow distraction from your deeper needs, gently inquire into what it would take to pursue greater connection.
Inquiry 4: Ask yourself, “Are there any of my friends or family that I am wanting to make a deeper approach toward, and if so, what would I ask for, say or offer to them?
Personal Integration 4: Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format. Visualize yourself with one friend at a time, and consider what you might like to consider sharing about your relationship with them, your most difficult emotions, a family relationship, your love life, the world, finding a sense of meaning or purpose, opening your heart, your spiritual world…whatever represents a deeper connection that is most real for you. If you stop yourself from sharing, look closely at what is stopping you. Are you being realistic about the limitations of the relationship? Are you afraid of the unknown? Have the courage to keep looking.
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