Therapist and writer Ken Page explores three ideas in his book Deeper Dating that are resonating with me right now: attractions of deprivation, attractions of inspiration, and core gifts.
Attractions of deprivation are ones that reinforce painful relationship wounds. They ask us to disavow our core gifts. Being in such an imbalanced state triggers longing and need and keeps us from being intimate with ourselves and with others. These attractions, directly and indirectly, tell us that our essential selves are somehow flawed and shameful.
On the other hand, attractions of inspiration encourage intimacy and connection. These relationships enable us to feel seen and heard and valued. He describes them as allowing us to operate from a place that is uniquely vulnerable, yet safe.
He asks readers to identify our core gifts; those qualities that tend to be the hardest for us to accept, that can bring up feelings of caution, reserve, or insecurity. However, we have to live in those qualities in order to be our truest selves.
I immediately thought about my core gifts.
I am wicked intense. The advantage is that it enables me to energize a person or group of people around an idea or a project. It makes things brighter and louder and, well, just more. But it’s a vulnerability, too. I have been told time and again that I want too much, that I feel too much, that I AM too much. Sometimes it hurts.
Another core gift is my curiosity. Please tell me all of the things right now. Thanks. I keep things interesting because I am interested in everything around me, especially people. But I can feel ashamed when my curiosity is met with apathy or scorn. Total toddler regression occurs.
Finally, I thought of my core gift of sexuality/sensuality. I have struggled with it most of my life for very good reason. But when I use that core gift wholeheartedly, I feel fully alive and completely myself. I am my most honest here.
When you are with your partner, lover, or romantic interest, think about whether or not you operate from your core and use your own gifts freely or if you protect your gifts out of fear.
Are you attracted to inspiration or to deprivation?