Introduction to the Dating Detox Day 6: Comfortable in your skin
Today we want to explore our ability to be authentic and full of self-love. You know, like the person who enters the room and just their presence alone makes a statement. People gravitate to them and the conversation feels rich and alluring. This is you too.
When we are able to fully express ourselves without trying to win others’ approval, this creates the genuine vibration of confidence. You and others around you will likely have the experience of being comfortable in your skin.
So what’s stopping you from owning that shit?
Maybe it’s the desire to please others? Your need for approval? Or fear of being judged or abandoned if you show who you really are. These are deeper questions that may need further examination. But for today we’re gonna focus on how you can shift your way of being into a place of personal truth that naturally is more attractive. It’s real – so it can be messy, it can be bright, bold, and vulnerable. It’s kinda the defining feature of what most people want when they’re in your presence: genuine connection.
Can you usually sense when someone else is being fake, wearing a mask, or carrying a facade? And when you sense that from someone else, it usually doesn’t feel like you’re really connecting, right?
Limiting our self-expression and the fear of being judged is most likely a pattern that started at a very early age. And it’s been practiced over and over and over again since then. So sometimes we might not even notice when we’re doing it.
In our approach – we don’t really think you need to dig into the past to find the specific cause of this or any other pattern. We’ve found that digging is only necessary if it helps a person get to a point of compassion and acceptance towards the pattern and what caused it. If we don’t have compassion and acceptance – we have resentment and resistance. Resentment and resistance are the opposite but equally powerful states that keep us working really hard to go nowhere. Compassion and acceptance hold the magical powers to lovingly move forward into a new way of being.
Digging is a bottomless endeavor [I mean, seriously, it’s impossible to know every single specific person and situation that creates a pattern]. So see if you can simply say to yourself something like this:
“I know that I co-created this pattern of limiting my full expression of self at some point in my life. I feel compassion for the who’s, what’s, when’s, and why’s surrounding the development of this pattern. We didn’t know any better at the time. Thank you, pattern, for serving me in the ways you have up to this point in my life. I am ready for a new pattern to serve me now. I choose to be in my full expression. I choose to feel comfortable in my own skin.”
[Please feel free to write your own version, of course!]
If you can practice saying something like that and believing it – the specifics and blame from the past start to not really matter. So, it can be easier to find compassion towards everything that was involved in the creation of it.
Here’s an example from one of our clients:
Juan was bullied by other kids all throughout his childhood. In his own description – “I was skinny, scrawny, and my face looked like it had a thousand perpetual mosquito bites. I despised myself and everyone else did too.”
He grew up to be about 6’3″, filled out with defined muscles with skin as clear as a photoshopped model. But he still had the imprinting of being a loser. So whenever he was around people, he tried to say the right things and be whomever he imagined the other person would want him to be.
This was obviously tiring and unsustainable, so he’d ultimately end up going home to his video games. His gamer friends couldn’t see him. They accepted him.
In our first session with Juan, he told us about how he blames all he bullies and his childhood for dating one woman for 2 months in his entire adult life.
He was extremely animated and yelling as he launched into analyzing more and more details of the story – but we paused him right then and there. There was simply no need to “process” the hell out of it all. We just led him through the affirmation of feeling compassion for himself and the others for co-creating these circumstances in his past.
Rather than being a victim, he was able to take an empowered stance – looking to his past with acceptance. He was also in that moment able to see that he had been using the old imprinting as an excuse to not be his full self.
We gave him the assignment below and within just a few weeks of practicing, he was able to free up his true self with people. All of a sudden he started making new friends in the town he’s lived in for years. Within two months, he started dating someone who says they were initially attracted because “I could just tell he was comfortable with himself.”
So if you’ve been able to find compassion and acceptance – the question now is: how do I change it?
Mindful awareness is the key to changing the pattern. Become aware of moments when you judge yourself, feel judged by others, censor yourself, hold back, dial down your expression, lie about something, exaggerate something, etc.
When you become aware, you are becoming a witness to this part of yourself and accepting it. At the same time, the awareness allows you to slow down the momentum of the pattern so that you can consciously choose something new. You might try saying to yourself: “I choose my full expression. I choose to feel comfortable in my own skin.”
One of the best things we’ve found after practicing being in our full expression and choosing to feel comfortable in our skin is this:
When I don’t hold back – I unconsciously give others permission to not hold back.
An example from Kendra:
In graduate school for somatic psychology, I had a professor who cried several times in class throughout the semester. When asked about it, he told us that he doesn’t hold back tears when he’s with a therapy client either.
At first I was like: Oh god, that’s gotta be inappropriate…and kinda unprofessional, right?
But after he did it a few times in class – at moments that I also felt were touching to the core – he unconsciously communicated to me: “Hey, you don’t have to be any particular way in this class. Crying is totally fine if that’s what’s up for you. See? I’m doing it.”
I realized that I’ve had people in my life who were always smiling or always saying over-the-top nice things. And when I was growing up – it made me feel like I had to be like that. So, it unconsciously communicated to me: “You must contain yourself. There’s a right way to be and a wrong way to be. You need to make everyone else feel comfortable.”
I so appreciate my teaching showing me that I can be in my full expression regardless of how others might feel. One of my favorite moments as a psychotherapist was when I became tearful during an intake at a mental health hospital and the woman was so touched by my realness. She said it was the first time she had ever felt actually supported by a therapist.
The illusion is that if I don’t act the way you want me to be, then I’m selfish somehow. But if you want me to be a certain way to please you – just who is being selfish? And as you read in the story, being my full self is actually a gift to others.
Goofball Dance Exercise. [Video – allow at least 5 minutes]
We have a feeling that this exercise is gonna be either super exciting and refreshing to hear about … or you’re gonna be like “um…no.”
So, here’s the invitation. Put on a song that’s really danceable – has a good beat and makes you feel happy when you hear it. Then we ask you to try on some new dance moves. It might feel weird or pointless or annoying to do it by yourself – but that’s why we have this video of us dancing with you… so it’s up to you. You can do it on your own or join us!
In Dance/Movement therapy [what Kendra studied], some of the fundamental principles are:
- Movement is intrinsically healing.
- When we increase our movement repertoire, we actually increase our emotional expression – which helps us in relationships.
- Movement can increase the integration of mind, body, and spirit.
There’s lots of research relating neuroscience and psychology to these principles. So, you can look some stuff up if you’re interested or don’t believe it. But we encourage you to do your own research by trying out the goofball dance!
Find a person today that catches your attention. Notice what it is about them that is catching your attention. Notice what the impact of that person’s presence is – like what we did in the previous lesson. But this time – you’re gonna actually share it with them out loud. Share it with them in a way that has no expectation of something in return. You’re just giving them the gift of seeing them. And you’re also practicing being in your full expression.
This process is about feeling comfortable in your own skin – enough to fully express what’s going on for you in a moment. Particularly when it comes to dating – so many of our clients tell us that they will see someone who catches their attention – but they don’t know how to approach them. This process allows you to make an approach with anyone.
The other thing about this process is that it’s not using some pre-made pick-up line. It’s coming directly from your felt-sense experience of the person.
Example from Chris. The other day I saw a woman whose hair was dyed bright pink and blue. She definitely caught my attention. As I noticed her, I checked into my felt sense experience. I asked: How does her presence impact me? The answer that came was that she made me feel inspired and the wild rebel part of me felt excited and playful. So I told her just that. She just totally lit up. She loved hearing the impact that her hair had on me. She said that was exactly what she was hoping for when she did it. Then the conversation turned into me asking: What inspired you to dye it those colors? And she went into a whole story about how one day she was wearing those colors in her outfit, and she just loved the combo so much that she wanted it more permanent on her – so, she chose her hair.
Anyways, had I been single and available for relationship – this whole interaction could have led into me feeling like I wanted to spend more time with her. At that point, it would be a great time to see if she wanted to hang out some time.
Go out and try this with at least one person today, but if you can do it every day – as we do – we’re sure you’ll find that your meeting new people, lighting them up, and lighting yourself up by being yourself. It’s such an empowering way to be yourself rather than letting people pass you by because you’re afraid.
And please share your experience on our Facebook group page so we can start inspiring others to connect more often in person!