How to make long-lasting connections

Something that came out of the dialogue with other facilitators/therapists was this idea of ‘integration’.

From my own experience, this has been a sometimes deeply uncomfortable process, but ultimately something that has given me a better sense of self.

The idea is that moments of shame/pain as we grow, cause us to throw certain parts of self into our ‘shadow’ (see writings by Carl Jung).

This means that certain aspects of being are labelled, ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’ and we STOP showing up in this way when we’re interacting with people.

For example, I once was called ‘vain’ or ‘self-obsessed’ so I started tending less to my appearance, and listening more to others rather than talking about my interests.

Another example is that someone said ‘everything you own is broken’ and I felt that having low-funds was a shameful thing. So I begun showing up in a ‘together’ and professional way.

And so on.

The problem is that the relationships that form based on these performative ways of being, are not long-lasting.

They’re not true to who we really are and what we really value… a pretense can only be kept for so long. Eventually, it becomes too much work, and we let these ‘connections’ go…

A simple, yet not easy, solution is to bring more of our whole selves to the interaction and to seek out communities where our values are reflected.

For example, I could show up in a way that more honestly reflects my bi-cultural upbringing and seek out spaces that value inclusivity….

I reached these conclusions by unpacking these moments of shame/pain and realising underneath it was the truth of my history:

On one side my lineage held positions of high social status and they had a social pressure to uphold a certain standard, hence the self-focus on appearance and perfection. On the other side my lineage grappled with making ends meet to keep shelter and feed all the mouths, hence the repairing rather than replacing broken things.

My truth is that I enjoy connecting communities in a way that pairs back the pretension and gets down to a nitty gritty core sense of self, and includes everyone who wants to come. By integrating my shadow aspects of self I can embody more of these values in community and align with people who also share these values.

Integration is a big part of therapeutic processes involving dance/movement and other arts. If this sounds like it can help you, get in touch for an individual consultation or attend an upcoming group.

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