I want to share a habit I’ve got into. It is a simple thing, perhaps a learned expression of empathy more than a magical technique, although the results can certainly be magical. You may want to think of other situations in which to apply it.
When I was younger, and less secure in myself, I felt rejection very easily. Perhaps too easily. I was also always the one in my relationships that wanted to cuddle all night long during sleep. Some of my partners would eventually feel discomfort spooning and need to change position. Often this meant sleeping seperately without cuddling. It was at this moment that I used to feel a pang of rejection. It wasn’t really conscious, I was often half asleep after all. Perhaps partially woken from my slumber by the act of separation. Or maybe I was having insomnia that night. I often do. And of course my partner during such times was also asleep and not really aware of my feelings. Nor could I reach out and tell them without waking them, which would be silly. This feeling of rejection, coupled with feeling silly about expressing it, lead to many nights of troubled insomnia. Or if I was already struggling to get to sleep it made things worse.
Now I often find myself in the opposite role. As much as I love cuddling, I sometimes get uncomfortable. My arm may go dead whilst spooning for example. Now I try to end the spooning before it gets that far, I can spot the early signs that it will. However, my memory of early feelings of rejection have lead me to express a simple ‘I love you’ during the repositioning, so it is understood there is no motive of rejection. Now I don’t actually know if Dana needs this in the same way my younger sensitive self did. I’m not sure they know that either. But I do know that they respond warmly and possitively to the reaffirming of love at such moments.
To apply this practice, you might think of other times a loved one, family member or friend needs reassurance. Especially at times when they might mistake your actions for rejection. What value is empathy left unexpressed?