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  • Writer's pictureRahel Landolt

Play! for More Joy and Connection

Updated: Jul 2

For those of us who forgot: We typically seek romantic relationships to experience more joy & connection. Here's why it's important to bring play into the early stages of potentially romantic relating, too.



We can "loose" our playfulness and become very serious in life due to various reasons; among them cultural conditioning, trauma and wounding. Also dating, instead of being enjoyable moments to connect, can feel heavy, serious and bring up lots of insecurity – as many of us know. This is why I find it especially important when we're dating (or start to connect with someone which could turn into something romantic, respectively) to bring in lightness, play and spontaneity.


It's about balance: Depending on where we start from, we need to strengthen the quality we tend to neglect, if we want to feel more freedom and peace. For me certainly, emphasizing play has done lots of good to me in my life, and also in relation to my romantic life: Romance feels less heavy and dramatic, and if it does for a moment, I’m quicker out of it.


Here are 7 reasons why you might give Play more space in your (dating) life, too.


1. Balancing Yin and Yang Qualities


Layla Martin, creator of the coaching program I've studied in, ascribes play to “the yin of dating”. You may know that the philosophy of yin and yang is about harmony between the two. Yang qualities in romantic relating according to Layla means, setting boundaries, vetting partners, having honest conversations, and being clear about expectations. On the other hand, yin qualities are about being fun, playful, and enjoying the moment.


Both are essential for creating a healthy and stable relationship. And dating being the early stages of romantic relating - it makes sense to set the basis for 'healthy' and 'stable' from early on (if that's what we want), doesn't it?


2. Connecting with Our Inner Child


As I wrote in my previous blogpost on attachment theory, our adult relationships get to be strongly influenced by how our needs were met as children by our caregivers/parents. Depending on the nature of this, we can feel secure in romantic relating - or experience insecurities and difficulties in forming stable, nourishing relationships. The journey of becoming more secure involves re-parenting ourselves, or embracing the inner child (in the words of modern-day psychology).


Letting the inner child play – just as setting boundaries when it acts out - is part of healing a wounded inner child. Aiyana Sheleana writes in her book "Becoming the One": "Our inner child is also home to our joy, creativity, and ability to celebrate life. Let us play, laugh, and have fun."


Embracing this playful side helps us find a deeper connection to ourselves – all parts of ourselves - and as a result of this, also with others.


3. From Stuck to Playful Problem-Solving


When we haven’t experienced healthy romantic relationships for a long time, or ever – we may start to lose trust in being able to form healthy partnership, and develop beliefs like “I’ll never find a partner”, or “I’ll end up alone”. This downward-spiralling can be a symptom of, but also result in decreasing trust and self-acceptance or -love. It makes us unhappy and the formed negative beliefs simply not true, given the facts that we can rewire our nervous system and update our beliefs. Also given the fact that everything in this universe constantly changes.


Playfulness can be a powerful tool to break free from these mental "f***eries or confusions :D: When we play, we get curious and surrender to the present moment. We get from the head into the body. From fears about the future and regrets from the past into what is true right now. Which opens the way for new thoughts, movements and actions!


In relationship expert Esther Perel's words: "Play, in general, is about problem-solving. It provides space to test new solutions. It involves physical, cognitive, and emotional development, but it is intimately and intricately connected with creativity, daring, boldness, and risk-taking."


4. Playfulness for a Resilient Nervous System


Some believe healing and transforming is about feeling uncomfortable emotions and facing the shadows. Yes, that too. Yet we can get lost in the dark and overwhelm our nervous system by staying in these states for too long.


Play is important for transformation – per example transforming our dating patterns. When we play, we release endorphins, strengthen our immune system, and build resilience. Play isn’t “just» fun—it’s essential for our well-being. And thus helps us handle challenges and pain that inevitably come up in life (including or probably more so :D in romantic relating!) with more ease.


5. Nourishing Our Attachment System


Playfulness is a wonderful way to nourish our attachment system. It is a pillar of a so-called secure attachment system and helps us build connection and trust with ourselves and others.


Play, of course, is different to playing games – what common dating advice often suggests. Playing games, like waiting days to text back to seem less needy, is a symptom of and can even foster insecure attachment. It’s the opposite of authenticity. Authentic play, however, helps us feel secure and connected. Just as feeling safe helps us let our guards down, be authentic and naturally playful.


6. Strengthening Our Self-Worth Outside Partnership


I often encourage coaching clients to live from their desires already now, which helps strengthen our self-worth! We want to value the desire for partnership. And also, we want to know that life is okay as it is now.


This mindset shift can take the pressure off dating and allow us to surrender to life, be grateful for what we have and open to even more joy. Feeling okay with one’s life already now also increases our sense of agency, so we can actually choose who and what adds beauty to our lives, rather than choosing based on fears or societal conditioning.


7. Play for Play’s sake


Sometimes we forget: We don’t need means to an end. Why not do something simply for fun's sake? I quote Esther Perel one more time: «Sure, we can engage in play as adults because it’s healthy, because it releases endorphins, and so on. But that’s kind of like saying that one should have sex because it burns calories. Just like sex, playing as adults is about pleasure, connection, creativity, fantasy—all the juicy parts of life we savor.”

 

How about falling in love with life, with oneself, with others – and also with dating?


❥❥❥ 


Thank you so much for reading and being here. I will love to hear how this blogentry has landed for you and what you take away from it. Welcome to let me know via e-mail or Instagram! Also, here is some final food for thought:


What would it mean to have more fun and be more playful in your dating life?


With love,


Rahel.


 

P.S.: If you’re a woman -  I’d like to invite you to participate in the July-month dedicated to PLAY! within our Flirty Friday classes. Learn more here about this online space where you get to meet like-minded sisters and receive your weekly dose of pleasure, sisterhood and embodiment. We also have a free Summer Ceremony coming up, on July 3rd at 10am.



 

 

 

 

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