Social Anxiety and the Cocktail Party

While flipping through one of my favorite bedside stand-bys, Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion, I came across the following passage and chuckled out loud:

“My experience is that I can feel that I’m in the Grail Castle when I’m living with people I love, doing what I love. I get that sense of being fulfilled. But, by god, it doesn’t take much to make me feel I’ve lost the Castle, it’s gone. One way to lose the Grail is to go a cocktail party. That’s my idea of not being there at all.” p. 76

I smiled thinking about my audience of highly sensitive people who also struggle socially (not all HSPs struggle in social situations, but the vast majority are introverts so social challenges come with the territory). I smiled thinking about all of the times I’ve stood at a party feeling so … Click here to continue reading...

Falling in Love with Other People

Let’s blow the cover off of another taboo topic in our culture, one that causes my clients to barely be able to whisper their experience loud enough to share it with me: “falling in love” with people other than your partner, including bosses, celebrities, religious figures, and even your therapist.

I’ll start by reiterating something I often express on this blog, which is that I deeply wish that we, as a culture, were more educated about the normal thoughts and feelings that the vast majority of people experience. It saddens me that there are still so many aspects of our inner terrain that remain hidden. I’m not sure where these kinds of conversation need to be happening – perhaps in school or university – but I know that the vast majority of the shame that people feel about their normal thoughts and feelings would be eradicated if they simply knew … Click here to continue reading...

Where Anxiety Hangs Its Hat

Anxiety can hang its hat on almost any hook. It can focus on relationships, fertility, parenting, health, the world, money, career, death. Within each of these topics, there are endless sub-topics that lure anxiety into its lair. If we’re talking about relationship anxiety, for example, the hook can be: lack of physical attraction, lack of sexual attraction, focusing in any area of perceived lack (education, intelligence, social fluency, humor, wit, height, ambition), religious differences, we never had an infatuation stage, or just a pervasive sense that the relationship is “wrong”.

But what if I haven’t listed your particular hook? Does that means this work doesn’t apply to you? That’s the classic response from the anxious mind!

So when I receive emails like the following…

Have you written anything on being in a relationship with significant age gaps, socioeconomic differences or previous marriage and kids in the picture? I’m curious about Click here to continue reading...

Sacred Sexuality

We live in a microwave culture, which means we expect everything to happen and arrive quickly. We expect our food to arrive within minutes of ordering it. We expect our communication to arrive within seconds of sending it. We expect our things to arrive within days of purchasing them. Gone are the days when we would wait for days or weeks for a letter to arrive, or walk to the local library and covet the treasured time we could spend with dearly beloved books. Gone are the days when we witnessed firsthand the process by which the bread that sits on our table began as grains of wheat, then grew into feathery fields, then was harvested, pounded into flour, and baked into a fresh, golden loaf. With all of the gains in speed and efficiency that technology offers, something in the realm of slow soul-time is lost. We are forgetting … Click here to continue reading...

What is my Truth?

On the last round of Open Your Heart a participant asked:

“So if I don’t trust these anxious thoughts then what can I trust? If my truth was really that we are not right for each other then how would I know if I am teaching myself not to listen when doubts arise?”

And then she wisely responded to her own question with:

“But I can see that is probably another clever resistance pattern.”

Even though she named that the question was coming from resistance, the question itself is a valid and common one, and if you’re struggling with relationship anxiety and have found your way here, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself the same thing. It’s really the million-dollar question that inspired much of my work with relationship anxiety, including the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety E-Course. Asked another way, the question is: Is my anxiety/doubt evidence that my Click here to continue reading...