The next topic that I want to talk about from Hristiyan's workshop is the importance of holding space for a woman's feelings without (as Hristiyan puts it) "collapsing."
"Collapsing" can take many forms, but it would include getting defensive, arguing with her (which comes from the head and not from the heart), being dismissive, giving in, belittling her, etc. Hristiyan teaches men to hold space for a woman's feelings while also staying true to their own path and values.
I took a lot of flak recently for being so responsive to my feelings. To help others understand why I put so much faith in feelings and body awareness, I would like to share a passage from Kelly Bryson's book, Don't Be Nice Be Real. It comes from a subsection in the book entitled "Head"ing for Trouble. Here it is:
As soon as I consider whether this situation might be one that calls for me to "go up to my head" to intellectualize with my brain instead of going with my gut reaction, to abandon my body, I've entered a realm of complexity and uncertainty. ... I can never really feel safe in my world if I can't trust that I'm totally committed to staying true to my guts. ...
Until there is commitment to being true to one's body there is hesitancy and uncertainty. Until there's commitment, there's no tapping into the power and magic of providence. It can only come in to help when faith beyond reason is practiced. We have to step into the water before the seas part. I need to be willing to get into trouble if I am to avoid bigger trouble.
I had rather you be angry at me than me be angry with me. I'd rather get in trouble with you than with myself. If I stay true and connected with myself, then I have a chance to be present and work through whatever gets triggered in you. But if I abandon me, I can't deal with or be present to anything. Being nice depletes my energy, as I give it away to all the other nice, depressed, depleted people.
Why do I pay so much attention to feelings? They are the link to infinite wisdom. They are the universal currency that connects me to everyone around me, regardless of the situation.
If I listen to a man's words, he can be saying beautiful words that sound good. What I FEEL is whether he means it or not. I can feel a man's congruence or incongruence.
I had been on the receiving end of so much criticism about following my feelings that even I had started to doubt myself just a tiny bit ... until attending Hristiyan's workshop. It was then I realized that I absolutely, positively had done the right thing by listening to my body awareness. I'll give you a couple of examples.
We did an exercise where I played out some sadness with two different men. I was crying and talking about how disappointed I felt because I had trusted him so much. I had trusted the things he said for months, and now it seemed like none of what he had said was actually true, and how sad that made me feel.
The first man pushed my feelings away. He went straight to his head. He reasoned with me, shifted the focus to himself, analyzed it. Immediately, I felt numb and disconnected. I pulled farther away from him. Hristiyan was watching this whole thing, and said "break up with him." Which felt like exactly the right thing to do.
The second man (who I later found out was a coach) connected with me through my sadness. He used very few words. He looked into my eyes, took my hand and placed it on his heart, and held me close. When I was crying and sniffling, he took me by the hand to get a kleenex. He didn't tell me he cared about me. He showed me.
One man lost my trust. One man regained it. Same exact situation. How did I know the difference? I felt it in my body.
With another man, during the first exercise with him, I felt no connection whatsoever. I felt anger radiating from him. I saw a wall in his eyes and felt a wall between us. I felt like he was blaming me for us not being able to connect. There was a tiny part of me that wanted to take responsibility for this, but Hristiyan had zero tolerance for the guys attempting to blame the lack of connection on us women.
So the guy owned it. And because he owned it, 24 hours later, he transcended his own inner limitation, and we experienced a beautiful connectedness. That would not have happened if I had not been honest at the beginning about what I was feeling. If I had tried to take care of his feelings rather than being honest, he would not have been able to connect with me.
The body knows. I know when men aren't being fully honest. I know when they are trying to have it both ways or keep all their options open. I know when they are not available for connection. I know when they're not committed.
I can FEEL it.
If I abandoned the knowingness of my feelings, I would be abandoning myself. I would be abandoning the only reliable source of infinite wisdom.
Another aspect of the workshop drove this home to me even more. The (male) instructors could FEEL the shifts with me. I was giving continuous feedback to the guys about whether I was feeling a connection with them, how strong it was, whether it had a sexual aspect or just felt friendly, etc.
How do I know just how true body awareness is? It's universal. Everyone in the room could feel it with me, ESPECIALLY the instructors.
Why were the instructors especially attuned? Because, like me, they have developed the body awareness to KNOW when someone is in his head and when he's in his heart. The body awareness to KNOW when a man is covering something up and hiding behind a mask and when he's being authentic.
The RSD instructors say "she feels what you feel." But that's only true if the guy has body awareness himself. The only people who can't feel what everyone else is feeling are the people who are in their heads trying to be logical. People who are in their heads have disconnected from the universal currency of emotions.
When he's in his head, arguing with a woman's feelings, it is impossible for a man to connect with her. Things will quickly spin out of control.
When he's in his heart, he can hold space for her feelings. It doesn't mean he has to agree with her, but at least he doesn't argue with her and negate her. At least she will feel seen and heard and understood. She will feel that she matters to him.
Which is usually what she wants the most.