We all have our own histories, challenges, and traumas that we bring with us into every relationship. When we begin new relationships, opening up is an exciting part of the journey of getting to know each other. It’s easy to talk for hours, to find intimacy in a new connection with another person. But as we move further into our relationships, delving deeper into ourselves and our struggles can become more complex and can often cause roadblocks with our partners. Evenings spent in conversation turn into silent dinners or awkward fights that seem to be about nothing. Psychotherapist, author, and host of The Dignity of Suffering Podcast, Mitchell Smolkin sees these moments as opportunities for us to rewire the defense mechanisms that our brain has been conditioned to use. If we allow ourselves to be more vulnerable and share our past traumas, we will find greater fulfillment and intimacy in our relationships.
Today Mitchell and I explore what it really means to lean in with your partner and why so many of us find it difficult to do. We discuss our own experiences with intimacy in relationships, including moments of success and moments where we failed to be present or empathetic. We discuss the power of the brain in creating habits and defense mechanisms from past pain or trauma and how we can move forward with more vulnerability despite these challenges. We also touch on the joy of creating a more profound connection in relationships and how unlearning bad habits can lead to greater intimacy and fewer feelings of loneliness.
“The ability to come together, two people, and talk about disappointment - for me, that’s actually strength.” - Mitchell Smolkin
This week on Relationships! Let’s Talk About It:
- The power of getting out of our comfort zones to create an opportunity for intimacy
- What it means to “lean in” with your partner
- The power of meeting your partner where they are
- How the arc of feeling vulnerable and being met with acceptance leads to a deeper connection
- Learning how to live through our past trauma so we can deal with future challenges
- How we can lean into our partner and share more of ourselves
- How intimacy can uncover old wounds and cause us to pull away or shut down
- The humbleness of witnessing someone else’s struggles vs. the challenge of being truly vulnerable ourselves
- How our brains have been wire with habitual defenses that build walls within our relationships
- Being an emotionally supportive partner and taking joy in the power of that connection
- How “missed moments” with our partners can cause us to withdraw emotionally
Connect with Mitchell Smolkin:
- Mitchell Smolkin Website
- The Dignity of Suffering Podcast
- Mitchell Smolkin on LinkedIn
- Mitchell Smolkin on Instagram
- Mitchell Smolkin on Facebook
- Mitchell Smolkin on YouTube
Let’s Talk About It!
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Theme music “These Streets” provided by Adi the Monk
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