This morning I was awakened just before dawn with an active mind. I have been struggling with a friend and unsure about what to do.
I’ve often felt mystified why female friendships have been difficult for me, along with some tinges of shame. After all, I’m a woman-centered coach who specializes in relationships!
Here’s what helps me understand why this is and my hope is it helps you too.
According to social baseline theory, we have evolved as humans to expect to be in a nest of warm relationships, where we can feel safe together. When instead, when we struggle in relationships, it violates the core of our biological makeup.
This is why we struggle with feeling secure in relationships that are fundamentally unpredictable, uncommunicative or one-sided.
Research shows that when you’re having a difficult experience, whether it be physical pain, a challenging task ahead, or emotional distress, if there is somebody that you trust in your presence, without even saying a word, the subcortical regions of both of your brains begin to communicate, and your amygdala begins to calm down.
On top of that, research shows that by simply holding the hand of a trusted, known loved one, symptoms of physical and emotional pain can drop by a whopping 50%!
There is a sense of less pain, less struggle. Everything becomes easier and less hurtful, as we begin to come together this way. This is one of the many things that makes relationships extraordinary.
This also dispels the popular spiritualized personal development beliefs which imply that peace is exclusively an inside job.
Often, those that have needed to disassociate or shut down from intimacy as a survival response, have learned to adapt by cutting off contact from others. These people may in fact gravitate towards some of these spiritual myths that follow the unspoken narrative of ‘I’m fine on my own, I don’t need anyone. I can do it myself.’
If we look at what’s happening underneath this, we usually find some pain in the area of their early attachment system. My early attachment system was certainly impacted by the events in my home growing up and if you struggle in this area, perhaps yours was too.
While yes, we each are co-creators of our own life experience, we are also intricately wired as these miraculous humans that absolutely require and need to feel physiologically safe in the presence of others, to genuinely experience a sense of peace and well-being.
The bottom line is that there is something exquisite that happens when two humans come together, in a field of safety, trust and connection.
This says so much to me about the beauty and the power found within being committed to our relationships – and why it can seem so difficult at times!
If so, this is an invitation for tender, gentle care as we each learn how to both show up for and rest in the sense of safety and belonging that can occur within the loving presence of others.
I wish this for all of us.