Doctor Neha: Welcome to TalkRx with Doctor Neha. I want to introduce you to a conversation I had with a woman named Emma in Costa Rica. She is a brave soul from Australia who was willing to ask her communication question so all of you could learn with her.
Emma, what have you been thinking about?
Emma: The one that would be the most helpful for me right now is about dating. I’m recently available to date again. It’s exciting and feels a bit scary. I notice that I shut myself down as soon as I’m attracted to someone. I feel embarrassed, and I look down. So the idea of going out to a restaurant with just me and someone else is intimidating to me. How do I move past that?
Doctor Neha: First, where do you feel that shut down in your body?
Emma: In my heart and in my chest—it’s almost like a connection.
Doctor Neha: It feels connected?
Doctor Neha: Does it feel constricted? Does it feel open? Does it feel heavy? Does it feel light? What does it feel like?
Emma: It feels very constricted. Even the idea makes me feel quite tense.
Doctor Neha: I’m glad we can talk about it while it’s not happening.
Doctor Neha: OK, so this is important, because it’s about where you focus and power is in that moment. I often talk about me, we, and world, three levels of relationship and service. There is me and my personal power and then there is we, when you start to engage with someone else or want to create a circle with others: friends, family, work and romantic relationships.
In dating, you’re in we, but in your case, you’re still focused on me. Considering the intimacy piece starts to bring something up for you. What is it? There’s almost a shyness that you’re describing.
Doctor Neha: Tell me what happens when you think someone’s attractive.
Emma: My body shuts down. I start to feel tense in my throat and around my heart and I feel like I can’t meet the guys.
Doctor Neha: If you met a guy or guys, what would happen?
Emma: I feel hypersensitive. I feel the arousal over my entire body. So I sense that all my energy would be on that person. But that’s too strong for me. And then he may know or sense how I’m feeling. And maybe that’s not the case for him then I get even more embarrassed. It’s just best to look away!
Doctor Neha: Except the only problem is you don’t get what you want.
Emma: Right. I also feel discomfort at the table with someone and start wishing I was home with my friends watching TV on the couch.
Doctor Neha: That doesn’t get you what you want either.
Emma: That’s true.
Doctor Neha: All right. So, in that moment, what if you thought about simply sharing that moment of connection with the other person whether anything happens or not. When I’ve been around you, I notice that you bring joy and play into a group setting. What if joy and playfulness was there when you met a new guy?
Emma: I would love that. I could really relax into my natural way of being comfortable.
Doctor Neha: If you brought joy and play into a situation with someone else and they were attracted to you, how would that feel?
Emma: Very spacious and freeing and liberating.
Doctor Neha: This is where you move from me into we. If you’re worried about how you might look or feel or talk, then you get shielded and critical of yourself. Instead if you move from worrying about yourself to focusing on enjoying and appreciating the other person, you automatically become more attractive. And you get to share a moment of connection with someone else.
So, think about what it might feel like to be in service to this person who’s attractive and engaging and appreciate their beauty.
Emma: Oh I love that, because reverence, devotion and sacredness are so special to me. I would never have thought about what it would be like to be in service to the other person by allowing myself to pay attention to them.
Doctor Neha: It’s okay to feel a tension in your affection and your connection. It doesn’t have to be a sensual experience. Let it be a way to connect with the other person. So let’s start with eye contact. Maybe smile and make eye contact for 1-2-3 seconds and then look away. You don’t need to go too far outside what feels natural or normal, whatever feels right for you.
What would the next step be for you to be playful or focus on connecting with someone? You can try it the next time you meet a guy and use it as practice.
Emma: Rather than sitting opposite the person, I would sit beside them. I would allow myself to be intrigued or to think, What are their facial expressions like right now? or what are they showing me? I’d be more curious rather than self-conscious. The idea of me looking outside myself is different than focusing inward. I like the idea of having a curiosity, a devotional curiosity.
Doctor Neha: I like the word curious, because another idea is to simply ask a question.
For any of you out there, who know that you want a relationship, but you find yourself shy when meeting new people, think about what it would be like to be in service to connecting to someone else instead of being nervous and worried about yourself.
Notice the physical sensations in your body that indicate you are uncomfortable.
Pause, and breathe.
Shift your focus from me to we.
Smile and make eye contact. Delight in the excitement and allow yourself to feel.
Ask questions about the other person to enjoy this moment of connection (without being attached to what’s next).