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The Knowingness of Our Bodies

The next topic that I want to talk about from Hristiyan’s workshop is the importance of holding space for a woman’s feelings without (as Hristiyan puts it) “collapsing.”

“Collapsing” can take many forms, but it would include getting defensive, arguing with her (which comes from the head and not from the heart), being dismissive, giving in, belittling her, etc. Hristiyan teaches men to hold space for a woman’s feelings while also staying true to their own path and values.

I took a lot of flak recently for being so responsive to my feelings. To help others understand why I put so much faith in feelings and body awareness, I would like to share a passage from Kelly Bryson’s book, Don’t Be Nice Be Real. It comes from a subsection in the book entitled “Head”ing for Trouble. Here it is:

As soon as I consider whether this situation might be one that calls for me to “go up to my head” to intellectualize with my brain instead of going with my gut reaction, to abandon my body, I’ve entered a realm of complexity and uncertainty. … I can never really feel safe in my world if I can’t trust that I’m totally committed to staying true to my guts. …

Until there is commitment to being true to one’s body there is hesitancy and uncertainty. Until there’s commitment, there’s no tapping into the power and magic of providence. It can only come in to help when faith beyond reason is practiced. We have to step into the water before the seas part. I need to be willing to get into trouble if I am to avoid bigger trouble.

I had rather you be angry at me than me be angry with me. I’d rather get in trouble with you than with myself. If I stay true and connected with myself, then I have a chance to be present and work through whatever gets triggered in you. But if I abandon me, I can’t deal with or be present to anything. Being nice depletes my energy, as I give it away to all the other nice, depressed, depleted people.

Why do I pay so much attention to feelings? They are the link to infinite wisdom. They are the universal currency that connects me to everyone around me, regardless of the situation.

If I listen to a man’s words, he can be saying beautiful words that sound good. What I FEEL is whether he means it or not. I can feel a man’s congruence or incongruence.

I had been on the receiving end of so much criticism about following my feelings that even I had started to doubt myself just a tiny bit … until attending Hristiyan’s workshop. It was then I realized that I absolutely, positively had done the right thing by listening to my body awareness. I’ll give you a couple of examples.

We did an exercise where I played out some sadness with two different men. I was crying and talking about how disappointed I felt because I had trusted him so much. I had trusted the things he said for months, and now it seemed like none of what he had said was actually true, and how sad that made me feel.

The first man pushed my feelings away. He went straight to his head. He reasoned with me, shifted the focus to himself, analyzed it. Immediately, I felt numb and disconnected. I pulled farther away from him. Hristiyan was watching this whole thing, and said “break up with him.” Which felt like exactly the right thing to do.

The second man (who I later found out was a coach) connected with me through my sadness. He used very few words. He looked into my eyes, took my hand and placed it on his heart, and held me close. When I was crying and sniffling, he took me by the hand to get a kleenex. He didn’t tell me he cared about me. He showed me.

One man lost my trust. One man regained it. Same exact situation. How did I know the difference? I felt it in my body.

With another man, during the first exercise with him, I felt no connection whatsoever. I felt anger radiating from him. I saw a wall in his eyes and felt a wall between us. I felt like he was blaming me for us not being able to connect. There was a tiny part of me that wanted to take responsibility for this, but Hristiyan had zero tolerance for the guys attempting to blame the lack of connection on us women.

So the guy owned it. And because he owned it, 24 hours later, he transcended his own inner limitation, and we experienced a beautiful connectedness. That would not have happened if I had not been honest at the beginning about what I was feeling. If I had tried to take care of his feelings rather than being honest, he would not have been able to connect with me.

The body knows. I know when men aren’t being fully honest. I know when they are trying to have it both ways or keep all their options open. I know when they are not available for connection. I know when they’re not committed.

I can FEEL it.

If I abandoned the knowingness of my feelings, I would be abandoning myself. I would be abandoning the only reliable source of infinite wisdom.

Another aspect of the workshop drove this home to me even more. The (male) instructors could FEEL the shifts with me. I was giving continuous feedback to the guys about whether I was feeling a connection with them, how strong it was, whether it had a sexual aspect or just felt friendly, etc.

How do I know just how true body awareness is? It’s universal. Everyone in the room could feel it with me, ESPECIALLY the instructors.

Why were the instructors especially attuned? Because, like me, they have developed the body awareness to KNOW when someone is in his head and when he’s in his heart. The body awareness to KNOW when a man is covering something up and hiding behind a mask and when he’s being authentic.

The RSD instructors say “she feels what you feel.” But that’s only true if the guy has body awareness himself. The only people who can’t feel what everyone else is feeling are the people who are in their heads trying to be logical. People who are in their heads have disconnected from the universal currency of emotions.

When he’s in his head, arguing with a woman’s feelings, it is impossible for a man to connect with her. Things will quickly spin out of control.

When he’s in his heart, he can hold space for her feelings. It doesn’t mean he has to agree with her, but at least he doesn’t argue with her and negate her. At least she will feel seen and heard and understood. She will feel that she matters to him.

Which is usually what she wants the most.

About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Very interesting Erika,

    I'll have to do research on EFT. Any ideas??

    Margaret

  2. Erika says:

    Margaret,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Yeah, I do have some ideas about that. Emotional Freedom Technique is the most powerful tool I have found (along with meditation) for unloading fear and anger without acting them out.

    Particularly powerful is using EFT on inner conflicts. Fear basically is inner conflict. We feel fearful because we are not aligned and

  3. Dan_Brodribb says:

    I like the way you put it, Erika…not to mention your description of your hot tub adventures in the next post, distracting as it was.

    I think where we often get in trouble on the emotional side is when we want to control our feelings. We get clingy with the 'good' ones and want the 'bad' ones go away or change into something else instead of just allowing them to take

  4. Dan_Brodribb says:

    I like the way you put it, Erika…not to mention your description of your hot tub adventures in the next post, distracting as it was.

    I think where we often get in trouble on the emotional side is when we want to control our feelings. We get clingy with the 'good' ones and want the 'bad' ones go away or change into something else instead of just allowing them to take

  5. Anonymous says:

    Erika,

    Loved loved loved this post and these comments resonate so deeply with me no later that this morning I was battling with this logic vs. emotional mental discusion. I realized that my mind carries a lot of fears and anxiety and leaves me stuck so in order to avoid inactivity I "push through" with emotion (usually fear or anger)… which makes me act impulsively even

  6. Erika says:

    Dan B.,

    Does this resonate with you:

    For me, the moderating influence on being ruled by feelings is Presence. Once in a while, the feelings become overwhelming, and I may overreact. Most of the time though I'm just noticing them and listening to my intuition.

    Today, for example, I managed to stay present and not overreact to a massive amount of anger being

  7. Erika says:

    "I wish you were there in the end to see that man who you are talking about the one that reasoned with you, shifted the focus to himself, analyzed you. He just stood there with Lisa and looked deep into her and didn't say a word. She was confused, she asked questions. He just stood there totally solid holding all the space in the world for her. She squirmed looked at me for helped but he

  8. Dan_Brodribb says:

    I think where some of the confusion is coming up is from seeing logic vs. emotions as an either/or thing.

    It's not.

    The idea is to live in concertn with your brain and your heart as opposed to letting yourself be ruled by your impulses or the thoughts in your head.

    You do that by paying attention to them and acting appropriately as opposed to ignoring or

  9. Anonymous says:

    well if a wmoen has poor impulse control, has problem with self-dicipline and delaying gratification then in other words she is the type of women who fall in and out of love quickly (other people call it limerance and infatuation).

    if a women does not display any signs of rationality, accountability or self-restraint then I would never invest my energy or commit myself to her. I'd

  10. Poetry of Flesh says:

    Hristiyan, I'd be quite happy to talk to you in whatever medium you desire. I'm very much trying to get to the core of my issue. You can reach me at thevisceris@gmail.com , if you'd like.

    I suppose it does sound like I'm being the victim. What I could say, instead, was that I knowingly and wilingly placed myself in a very unhealthy situation that I knew would have

  11. Michael says:

    so much for "hurts so good"

  12. Erika says:

    Peter, welcome to the blog. Yes, I read comments on older posts, so please feel free to be generous with comments. It's nice to know that I'm not sitting here muttering all by myself … ;-)

    SMoKeLioN, I agree. People who are in touch with their feelings and transparent are trustworthy because you know exactly where they stand. And while it's true that even now I am

  13. Anonymous says:

    "Id say they're very trustworthy. You cant trust them to do certain things, but you can trust them to be themselves… which makes them predictable."

    that's an interesting way to look at it…in other words, I would not invest my energy and time in these people because I can trust them to fuck up and/or screw me in the process… like the adage goes, you can't

  14. Hristiyan Atanasov says:

    Hi Poetry of Flesh I would love to talk to you personally.

    Reading your comments is making me very curious about you.

    I would love to get to the core of your issue.

    The way you express yourself is making me feel like you are coming from a place of being a victim instead of accountability.

    Just like men attract there reciprocal, women also attract

  15. Poetry of Flesh says:

    You know, for all the differences between us, this actually touched on something I was trying to explain to an ex.

    He hurt me, he hurt me constantly. And he refused to apologize pretty much, well, ever. I kept telling him that I did not want an apology, just an acknowledgement that he realized I was hurt by his actions, but he could never tell the difference and refused to do either.

  16. SMoKeLioN says:

    "people who are impulsive, wishy washy, fickle and act on their emotions without consulting their logic makes them emotionally weak, easily manipulated and not trustworthy."

    Id say they're very trustworthy. You cant trust them to do certain things, but you can trust them to be themselves… which makes them predictable.

  17. Peter says:

    Hi Erika, As I man who was always more interested in spiritual side of things I found your blog really interesting especially these days when I am trying to develop better connection with everything around me and especially with women.

    I don't feel I am ready to react on some of your posts. I will have to go more into deep.

    Do you check comments in older posts too?

  18. Nelia says:

    Hmmmm. I don't know how I feel about feelings being the link to infinite wisdom. What if your emotional reaction is dictated by ego?

  19. Anonymous says:

    "In my experience, logic creates emotional distance. Which sometimes feels safer, but at least for me, does not lend itself to the level of intimacy that I would like to have in a relationship."

    well I think we have to differenciate between

    a) expressing your emotions/feelings in a clear and honest manner
    b) acting on your emotions/feelings

    while (

  20. Anonymous says:

    This only works when one person in the relationship is very emotional. The other person has to mold themselves in order to connect with the other. Two logical people know how to connect without emotions and not have "emotional distance". Therefore, logic does not create emotional distance. Emotional distance is created when one person cannot bend for the other.

  21. SMoKeLioN says:

    "logic creates emotional distance"

    I think logic and emotional distance might be correlated, but one doesnt create the other.

    The emotions we feel are very logical at their core. Thats to say, they make sense. Sometimes (often times)we feel first, then we rationalize after… and other times we think and reason what just happened, and then feel an emotional

  22. Erika says:

    Honey,

    Thanks for commenting. At the risk (again) of saying something triggering, when I hear you refer to him as “the BF,” I hear a lot of emotional distance. In my experience, logic creates emotional distance. Which sometimes feels safer, but at least for me, does not lend itself to the level of intimacy that I would like to have in a relationship.

    I’m curious whether

  23. Erika says:

    Hristiyan and Daniel,

    Thank you so much for sharing that with me. So often if we women express sadness, anger, etc., a man feels like he has to fix it. Or he feels guilty for “making” us feel that way. And then he can’t hear our pain, which is actually what we most need.

    I want to teach men how to hear pain without hearing blame or criticism. How to connect with a

  24. Daniel says:

    …and it would not have been possible had I not felt and learned from that initial disconnect with Erica :) Thank you both, so so much.

    Daniel :)

  25. Hristiyan Atanasov says:

    Wow Erica that is a beautiful post

    I wish you were there in the end to see that man who you are talking about the one that reasoned with you, shifted the focus to himself, analyzed you. He just stood there with Lisa and looked deep into her and didn’t say a word. She was confused, she asked questions. He just stood there totally solid holding all the space in the world for her. She

  26. Benedict Smith says:

    being in touch with yourself is the only way to have truly honest interactions with others. amazing post. when you lie to yourself, by extension you are lying to those with whom you cross paths.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I like this article, it helped me with a sticking point. You can be fun, dominate, leading, unreactive, etc. but at the end the connection between you and her matters.

    Thanks Erika

  28. Honey says:

    The BF and I value logic waaay more…we’re not really “feelings” people.

  29. Erika says:

    Anonymous 12:29 am,

    What is it about this article that is uncomfortable for you?

  30. Erika says:

    Hey GS,

    Yeah, you get it. What Hristiyan aws showing us is that his unconscious deception is just as much a disservice to him as it is to me, and that’s how I realized that my “making it ok” for him for fear of losing his approval would also be doing both of us a disservice.

    It made me happy that for the most part I don’t do that in my life anymore.

    Rup, you’re

  31. Rup says:

    Holding that space for her feelings without ‘collapsing’ is really hard to to do! Women can be pretty intense when they are angry with you…hehe :)
    He’s right about staying in the tornado instead of running from it…if you stay, you eventually find the eye of the tornado and the space to work things out…
    Took me a long time to get this and it’s still a challenge and tests the amount

  32. GoneSavage says:

    “The only true way to live is open. To collapse in dispair — or to inflate yourself with hope — is to separate yourself from open depth.” –D. Deida

    I like how you relate your intuition (unconscious intelligence) to the perception of HIS collapsing (unconscious deception). Any moment not fully open is a moment of tension and collapsing. Nice.

    GS

  33. Anonymous says:

    This blog is just becoming too wierd. Way to far out.

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