Young or old, single or coupled, each of us is faced with the great challenge of learning to love. At the heart of our entire journey to intimacy lie what I call our Core Gifts, the parts of ourselves which are most sensitive to the joys, pains and nuances of intimacy. Understanding our unique Core Gifts gives us a key to understanding our entire relationship lives–and ourselves- in a much deeper way. Two simple questions will help you discover your own Core Gifts.
As I describe in my upcoming book Deeper Dating, our Core Gifts are our points of greatest sensitivity in our lives and our relationships. We find them in the things that inspire, soothe and touch us most deeply—and we also find them in the things which hurt and disturb us most powerfully. Often,we think that we must suppress or ignore these parts of ourselves in order to find love. Yet the very reverse is true: when we learn to name and understand these profound parts of ourselves, we find a key to a richer future, and a much more direct path to real and lasting intimacy. One dictionary definition of the word intimate is “belonging to or characterizing our deepest nature.” Our Core Gifts represent our deepest nature. In my work as a psychotherapist specializing in the search for love, I have found this formula to hold true: To the degree that we treasure our Core Gifts (yes, treasure; dispassionate acceptance of these gifts is not enough):
• We become more attractive—and more attracted—to people who are right for us
• We lose our taste for people who are unkind or unavailable.
However, the reverse is also true: To the degree to which we are ambivalent about our gifts, we are more likely be attracted to people who can’t love or accept us for who we really are, and we’ll be less likely to find and keep intimate love relationships with people who are essentially available and accepting of us.
The Two Questions for Discovering Your Core Gifts
The easiest way to discover your Core Gifts is to spend time thinking about these two questions:
• In your relationships, which type of interactions move, touch or inspire you most?
• In your relationships, which type of interactions hurt and trouble you most?
These questions are two of the greatest pathways to understanding the deeper story of our lives and our entire intimacy journey.
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