Many years ago, I remember a mentor that would later become a dear friend challenged me, “What makes you belly laugh?”. I remember sitting there and pondering this question and feeling confused because I had not belly-laughed since I was a child. Although I would chuckle at a joke, there wasn’t a time that I could say that I fully laughed with my whole being, yet at that time in my life, I was learning to open up to others about some of my more profound struggles in my life.
I later had many moments of belly laughter in this friendship, but the only way I got to that space of carefree joy was by sharing my pain. I also fully cried and let myself be authentically seen and felt. It wasn’t until I could fully unveil my darkness that I was also able to reveal the brightest of my light.
And later, in my romantic relationships, this continued to get highlighted. If a man could not take my shadow, they were not safe to shine my light. I would find myself sharing less of my “messy emotions” and then feeling flat and constricted in my joy and pleasure. The relationship would wilt as I internally found myself fading or began distancing because I refused to accept the shutdown I was asked to make for the relationship.
Moments of vulnerability in our sadness allow us to be vulnerable in our playfulness.
The author/researcher/storyteller, Brené Brown, speaks of how when we expand into our light, we must also expand into our darkness because this is where our vulnerability and the breaking down of shame happens. Our most ‘high-vibe’ emotions are also some of our most vulnerable emotions to show to others; it is often a space that adults today are not comfortable fully embodying. We subdue our joy just like the opposite side of our emotional spectrum.
When we look at relationships of all kinds today, it’s hard to see the real joy and deep connection because many of us have pulled pieces of our fullest selves out of the relationship equation. This pulling away could be for various reasons, from being hurt in the past, not feeling safe in the current relationship or that detrimental inner self-talk.
In some form, we’ve accepted that all of us is not welcome…
Meaning that we must shrink who we are and our fullness. Sometimes we focus on shrinking the “dark,” and sometimes, we focus on shrinking the “light,” thinking that we are in some way too much, but the result is always shrinking back from the opposite emotion.
This doesn’t mean we have to live in our darkness and spewing it out to anyone and everyone that we are in a relationship with; actually that is just a vulnerability coping mechanism, keeping us from truly being truly vulnerable. All we need to know is that our darkness can be truly held and that we can be fully seen in our relationship(s).
The same thing with our laughter, playfulness, and embodying our silliness. It is knowing that no matter what, we won’t be judged harshly or find ourselves in heated issues in our relationship for letting our hair down.
This same concept can also be used in our sexuality/sensuality and any area where we feel we aren’t fully able to be ourselves with those in our most intimate relationships.
Many would say that they desire to hold space for their loved ones’ darkness and also to get to experience their laughter and playfulness. Though this sounds good in theory it often is a hard thing to practice in reality for a few reasons:
We are not dealing with a blank slate, and the other person comes with belief systems of what is not acceptable within themselves and what needs to be hidden. Then we can inadvertently say or do things that play right into their programs and belief systems, validating that we are not safe. Often words of reassurance can fall flat because of past wounding.
We ourselves are not blank slates and come with our own level of baggage. Often our own ability to hold our own emotions shows how we can truly hold another person’s emotions. When we haven’t explored our light or shadow, it is challenging to hold space for that in another, it can feel scary, or our egos can make snap judgments about it.
When we have past experiences of trauma, overly emotional parents or past partners, religious holdbacks, etc., these views can radiate into the way we interact verbally and non-verbally with our loved ones. There becomes clear a value difference in what we believe is acceptable and not acceptable in humanity. Sometimes even a strange look can send a negative message to those we love.
Another primary reason is that it is hard to see and break through these blockages in ourselves and others. Only time and experience can show if someone is safe, and we all will mess it up at times because that’s part of relationships and working to heal when things have taken a wrong turn. The problem lies in knowing there is a constriction in the relationship, which requires being fully conscious of self and your partner. It requires having the hard conversations and knowing that even afterward, long ingrained patterns don’t change overnight.
Yes, we can fake the laughter, the vulnerability, the full shares, but at the end of the day, every one of us knows if we are diving deep or swimming in the shallows.
When we want to create more fullness in our lives, we must look at the places in our most intimate relationships where we aren’t allowing ourselves to be seen or where others in our lives are creating restrictions. Then we have to risk the hard conversation with the other person.
Thought the alternative is staying small and choosing to not explore the spectrum of our humanity because, I will reiterate, we can not explore our light without also exploring our darkness and vis versa.
I challenge you to at least consider where you have noticed this constriction in your own life.
Recover Your Life,
Sex & Orgasmic Frequency Coach, Energyworker, +Life Activator