LIGHT V DARK
Today I wanted to talk about connection – making a deep meaningful connection with other people. It’s probably an entire course on its own, but what I wanted to talk about today was a misconception around connection that held me back my entire life and really made it difficult for me to connect with people, because I was going for the wrong thing.
And that is the concept of light and dark (or smooth and rough), and what I mean by this is quite often we believe that we connect with other people based on the ‘light’, based on the ‘smooth’. So we connect with people based on a shared pleasure, a shared joyful experience. We try to connect with people based on the idea that we both have something in common that we like, that we find pleasurable and positive.
What I’ve found is that people in meaningful relationships actually connect on the ‘dark’. They connect on the rough – well, they connect on both light and dark, but when you really make a deep and powerful connection with somebody is when you have the same suffering in common.
So often, when we meet somebody new and we’re in a conversation, we aim to find shared pleasures. Do we both enjoy the same activities? Do we both find the same things funny? Do we both have some sort of shared travel experience in common that we enjoyed.
What this leads to is people – especially, say, in a dating scenario – just showing each other the smooth side, impressing each other. “These are the great things I’ve done, these are the happy experiences I’ve had, this is me at my best.”
COME TO THE DARK SIDE
If you really want to connect with someone you’ve got to show them your worst! You’ve got to show them your dark side. You’ve got to show them some honesty and vulnerability.
Why is this? Because most of the time, we walk around with a deep sense of shame about who we are. We all do this. There are very few shameless people in the world.
And with this shame comes a sense of loneliness. We feel like we’re not only is it wrong to be the way that we are, but that nobody else feels this way, that we have to hold and carry this burden all alone.
For example, somebody might have some sort of shame about their sexual performance. They feel that they can’t share this with anybody, particularly somebody that they want to have sex with. So they keep this to themselves and they create the sense of loneliness through keeping it to themselves.
Now what’s really fascinating is these people might then go on a date with somebody and that other person has the same type of shame – i.e. something to do with sex that they find shameful – and yet because the first person is carrying on like they’re smooth and perfect and nothing is ever wrong with them, the second person can’t reveal their shame either, because it’s too dangerous to do it with somebody who’s perfect.
If you want someone to open up to you, to really connect with you, you need to initiate and lead by being the first one to let the dark side out. Show them that you’re not always happy, that you’re are not always excited and enthusiastic about life. Show them anger, disgust, fear, insecurity, the darkness that you think you have to hide. Show them that stuff and then let them respond.
There’s one of two responses that essentially are going to happen most of the time.
The first one – the one you’re afraid of – is that they’ll be like “What?” and they won’t get it, they won’t connect with what you’re doing, they won’t connect with your own security or your fear or your self-loathing or your doubt or your uncertainty or whatever. And this will push them away.
The good news with this kind of reaction you’ve essentially pushed away someone who’s not a good fit for you. If you revealing the deep, real, raw side of yourself disgusts or offends or just puts off somebody, then why would you want that person in your life? Because that problem’s gonna happen, whether you wait to get to know each other and then do it, or whether you do it right now.
If they don’t respond positively to you being yourself – to you letting the dark side out – then why would you want them in your life? Why would you want them taking up that space when somebody else could come and fill that space?
Which brings us to the second type of reaction, and that is the “Me too!” reaction. So you’re saying something, you’re describing some insecurity or some doubt or whatever about yourself, and the person responds by going “Oh my god, that’s exactly how I feel!” That is a shameless connection.
It’s so much better than going “Yay we both enjoy scuba diving!” To hell with that! Talk about the time where you almost drowned and how weak and powerless you felt, and then allow them the space to share a story about the time they felt weak and powerless.
That is how you connect.
My challenge to you over the next week or two – well hell; the rest of your life – go out there and talk to people, but let them see that other side, that darkness. Let them see the stuff that you think you’re supposed to be hiding and use this as a tool to find a good fit for you, a good connection…
See what happens. Comment below with your thoughts, questions and experiences!