However, it didn't take me long to understand why relationships were not working for Aidan. Being with Aidan felt like being alone. He was so not present as to practically be invisible.
"Aidan," I asked, "What are you feeling right now?"
"I don't know."
"Aidan, please move your focus out of your head and focus inside your body. Breathe into your body. Notice any sensations in your body."
Aidan breathed. A few moments later he told me that he felt nervous.
"Aidan, imagine that the nervousness is a child inside you - your feeling self. I'd like you to notice what you are telling this child that is causing him to feel nervous."
"I'm telling him that he has to say the right thing so that you will like me."
"So when you tell yourself that you have to perform right in order to get my approval, you end up feeling nervous. What are you telling yourself about why it is so important to get my approval?"
"I guess I'm telling myself that if you like me and approve of me, I'm okay."
"Aidan, I'd like you to imagine that your inner child - your feeling self - is an actual child. Imagine that you have a little boy who is just like you were as a child. How would this little boy feel if you kept telling him that others had to like him for him to be okay? How would he feel if you kept handing him away to someone else for acceptance and approval?"
"I think he would feel rejected and abandoned by me. I think he would not feel very good about himself if I kept rejecting him."
"Yes, and that is exactly what is happening on the inner level. You are handing away your inner child for others to define as okay. But the very act of handing him away is causing low-self esteem. And how attractive do you think a woman finds you when you are approaching her from this neediness - this need for her to approve of you for you to feel okay?"
"Well, obviously, women don't find this attractive. But I didn't know I was doing this, and I don't know what to do about it."
"The first thing you need to do is learn and practice the Inner Bonding process, starting with Step 1 - practicing moving your focus out of your head and into your body - into your feelings. Your inner child feels valued by you when you pay attention to him, which means paying attention to your feelings. Your anxious, nervous, fearful feelings are letting you know that you are abandoning yourself and telling yourself that you have to perform right to be okay. Your happy and peaceful feelings are telling you that you are connecting with yourself and taking care of yourself. When you keep your focus in your mind rather than your body, you don't know when you are abandoning yourself."
Aidan started to practice Inner Bonding - noticing his feelings, and noticing what he was telling himself that was causing his anxiety. The more he noticed and shifted his thinking about himself, the better he started to feel. Within a few months of practicing Inner Bonding - defining himself and taking care of himself, instead of handing himself over to others to define, Aidan found himself dating two women that he liked. The last time I spoke with him, he was in an exclusive relationship with one of the women, much to the dismay of the other woman!