“I hate you.”
“I need you.”
“I want space from you.”
“I resent you.”
“I’m curious about you.”
We make statements similar to these all the time in all types of relationships. When we speak in this way, it makes it sound as if there are fixed things called an “I” and a “you.” The statement defines the relationship between these two entities. As long as it appears to be that way, all of our attempts to become more intimate, to improve the quality of relationship, are restricted to changing the verb that goes between the “I” and the “you.” If we can shift from “I resent you” to “I forgive you,” it feels like a big win. If we shift from “I hate you” to “I trust you,” it seems like greater intimacy.
When Chameli and I started to develop the Deeper Love work eight years ago, we both came together in a spirit of discovery. We had realized that trying to change the relationship between the “I” and the “you” didn’t work very well. It’s rather like two people sitting on either side of the Grand Canyon, wanting to experience love together. One throws a missive across the canyon, perhaps a rock with a note tied to it, saying “I love you.” It arrives at the other side. The recipient unwraps it, experiences warm, fuzzy, feelings, and sends back another missive, maybe pink and wrapped in lace, saying “I love you too.” They’ve now entered a Hallmark world together, but the vastness of the canyon between them is a more significant cause of the feeling of separation than the content of the notes that they send back and forth.
For my wife, Chameli, and me, the journey into a deeper intimacy began with an investigation of this thing called “I.” You don’t have to look very deeply into the sense of a me to discover that it’s not really a thing at all, but rather a collection of voices. That’s why our relationships are so often characterized by mixed messages and shifting dynamics. At one moment the “I” is the victim, and in the next moment the “I” has become the playful child, the next moment the loving parent, the next moment the horny lover. There are thousands of voices like this. Just scratch the surface a little bit, and we discover that we don’t have just one personality, but everybody has multiple personalities. (more…)