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The Courage Not to Perform

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inquiry & integration

inquiry instructions

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Inquiry:  What is the emotional state that you have the greatest difficulty imagining your partner loving you, and what are the self-judgments you have that make it so hard?

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.  To help you identify your emotional states refer to the Introspective Guides   Some of the types of judgments to consider are ones like, “I can’t believe how weak I am”, “this is embarrassing”, “what’s wrong with me”, “this is pathetic,” “my heart is really closed” “how can I be so emotional about this?” or “why don’t I feel more about that?”  Remember it is a the way to learn how to love yourself and be loved if you can see how you reject yourself and have difficulty letting love and acceptance in.  It takes courage and wisdom to see your own judgments.
 
Inquiry 2:  Can you ponder the difference between accepting your partner’s emotional state vs. trying to make them “feel better?”
 
Personal Integration 2:  Take some time (in the monologue or repeating question format) whether it is alone or with a partner, and reflect on the moments where you just wanted to make someone feel better with comments like, “you’re not really weak you’re actually quite strong or “ you’re not stupid, I think you are really smart.” Did it really work?  Was it a more temporary relief or did it create any long term healing?   On the other hand see if you have had times when you were feeling sad, angry or frightened and your partner asked you how they could be of support, letting you know that it sounded like a difficult place to be, or asked you in an accepting way to describe what it was like to feel that way.  Take the time to really discern your deepest understanding of the difference between acceptance and validation.
 
Inquiry 3:  Reflect on a time when you have felt most loved and accepted, when you weren’t feeling good, and ask, “What was it that actually created the most healing?”
 
Personal Integration 3: Follow the instructions as above (in the monologue or repeating question format) and do your best to recall when you were most touched by love at a time of great need through just being accepted deeply by your partner.  It could have been a time where you experienced great loss, fear, grief, loneliness, or anger.  If you can’t remember a time when this has occurred let yourself recall a time when you would have most liked this.  It might surprise you that many of us can’t find any times where acceptance was a way in which we have experienced deep love.  In order to accept your lover or be accepted ourselves, we have to understand what is being experienced, and not try to give a quick fix.  This requires awareness, compassion, patience and wisdom.  Whether you have had this experience or not, delve into this question as a way to foster a deepened way to love and be loved. 
 
Inquiry 4:  In your current relationship, which emotion or state do you most need acceptance from your partner? 
 
Personal Integration 4:  Follow the same instructions as above in the monologue or repeating question format.  Look closely at which emotional state ou have the most difficulty opening your heart to, and therefore need the most help from your partner.  Recognize how much courage an humility it takes to ask for help, and in the form of a practice, the how much potential it has for intimacy.  This is a good perpetual question to ask yourself, because as we look deeply inside ourselves all of us have emotional states that are difficult to love.  If our partner is not able to be in this listening role for us, then it is beneficial to seek out the help of a close friend who can be neutral or a counselor.  Appreciate yourself every time you are finding this frequently suppressed emotional state, and choose to bring it out into the open to create greater intimacy with yourself and your partner.  
 
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Since 1972, Humanistic Spirituality founder Robert Strock has maintained a private spiritual and therapeutic counseling practice that specializes in purposeful living, relationships, spiritual psychology, and death and dying counseling. Humanistic Spirituality provides various spiritual workshops, guided mediations, and licensed marriage family therapists and licensed social work continuing education courses. Contact us to learn how we can help you find inner peace and spiritual awareness through our counseling, or our free guided meditations, videos, audios, writings, introspective guises and more. A warm welcome from the team at Humanistic Spirituality.

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