May 1, 2012

Turning Disappointments into Intimate Connections

Another Thursday evening, another wonderful evening with the Wowettes.  Yummy food, delightful company, and a speaker who touched us all.  Julie Orlov is the author of "The Pathway To Love - Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery."  When we initially corresponded, she suggested the topic of "Turning Disappointments into Intimate Connections," a subject no other speaker has taught us, so I was intrigued and she seemed genuinely happy and enthusiastic to speak to our group. We were lucky enough to enjoy her company for the pre-speaker potluck and she seemed just like one of us, talkative, sharing, listening, and laughing while enjoying a healthy and hearty meal.

Julie taught us that relationships are all living and breathing life forces, never static, but growing and changing.  Every relationship has a predictable pathway, which if understood, allows us to grow through the challenges quickly and with less pain.  Finally, relationships give many gifts and provide a mirror to help us understand ourselves and grow.  Julie noted that there are three different types of disappointments, which she defined as not having our needs, wants, expectations being met. These three are value-based, with those in the relationship having different sets of values; integrity-based, with the one who disappoints not being reliable or keeping his or her word; and no-based, meaning simply that we don't like to be denied when we want something.

Facing disappointments, we are reminded, Julie says, that life is not fair.  Our reactions to these disappointments teach us who we are, and she told a personal story about how a cousin disappointed her by not planning to attend an important family function.  Julie allowed herself to fully realize what his "no" meant to her, and she choose to confront him in a way that talked about her, how she felt, how much it meant to her to have him attend.  Rather than lashing out and condemning his actions, her recognizing her own reactions and then being so vulnerable to him allowed them a very special moment of closeness that they had not experienced together. She showed us how she practiced her "stop, look, and listen" technique that allows us, when disappointed, to take the time to ask ourselves, "What's at stake for me?" and "What results do I want from this?" and finally seek to understand the other person by really listening, instead of reacting from a place of hurt and emotion.  She reminded us that we are responsible for our own feelings and actions, that we need to own our feelings, forgive the one who disappointed us, and re-open our heart, all of which can increase the depth of our intimacy in the relationship.  Disappointments can hurt and wound us, but we can heal by being compassionate, thinking about the other person's actions and reasons for them, and then understand and accept the other person.  

I was surprised to see how many of the ladies were affected by Julie's teachings, how many have held hurts inside of them and how Julie's words allowed the ladies to feel the pain and start to let it go. Julie's statement that "It's self-love to forgive" seemed to have a profound effect on many of us and I have a hunch those are words we may never forget.  So thanks to the most lovely and kind Julie for an evening of her good company, amazing wisdom, and words that changed our lives.  (You can reach Julie at