by Shana James of the Authentic Woman Experience (AWE)

There’s something I (Shana) want to get off my chest. After I share it I don’t know what you’ll think of me. You may trust me less. You may think I shouldn’t teach dating and relationship courses. Or you may trust me more. I really don’t know.

I’m going to take a risk because I keep finding that if I don’t risk, I live in fear of what might happen. I feel half alive. I don’t know whether others like me for who I really am.

When I risk, especially when I’m scared, I discover whether I can be more connected with people. And others share their vulnerable truths with me, which makes life so much more rich and fun!

So here it is, the confession:

My husband and I don’t have an easy relationship. We don’t have one of those relationships where we are always sweet to each other, where we agree on everything and never fight.

We are each passionate and stubborn in our own ways. We are wounded from our childhoods. We are scared to show parts of ourselves. We can be manipulative or harsh without meaning to be. We sometimes feel ashamed of our desires and lash out to protect that.

At times we're each afraid we have to “get it right,” and then feel uninspired to get “it” at all. We have days when we feel deeply in love and days when we wonder if we’re a good match.

Phew! There it is. The truth.

A deep breath. It actually feels like a relief to let you know. I’m tired of being careful, of thinking I need to paint a picture of a perfect relationship to the world so I'll be trusted.

I’m not perfect. Neither is my relationship. A part of me knows this is a good thing. I’m more in tune with the difficulties of love and relationship. But I still feel scared you’ll judge me. And I’m learning to be okay with that.

I haven’t chosen the easy path. My relationship is even more complex because I look under every “stone,” to move through any blocks in our intimacy. I want to stay true to myself and live fully. I want my husband to do the same.

It’s painful to watch the facade of relationship I often see couples engage in. I’ve coached couples who haven’t paused to look into each others’ eyes for a long time, who no longer appreciate each other, who don’t ask questions to evoke each other's hearts and dreams.

I don’t write this to judge. My bar for intimacy is really high. And I’d love for yours to be too. Because then you can have love that lights you up and inspires you.

When you light yourself up from the inside and stay connected to your truth…When you uncover the wounds and shame that cause you to lash out or pull away…that’s when love is real. That's when relationship lasts, rather than falls apart.

So, this year I don’t have empty promises. I can’t guarantee you’ll live happily ever after with the love of your life. But I do know that you, like other women who have worked with us, can call a caliber of men into your life that you may not know even exists! You can be treated with more respect and adoration by men than you ever knew was possible.

You can find men who are emotionally available, and inspire them to open up even more with you. You can have dates that rock your world. You can have men come closer, rather than walk away. You can have passionate, connected sex. You can make peace with “neediness” and create a life you love.

You can create relationships with women that are honest and profoundly supportive. You can be loved for who you truly are, by more people than you imagined being loved by.You can fall deeply in love with yourself and trust yourself!

This year I will continue to explore how to live in the most alive, in-love, authentic, passionate, undefended way. I will continue to walk through fear and shame, to where love resides. I will speak my truth more often and choose what I really want, rather than what may make me look good or be desirable.

I will be transparent, even if I think something makes me look stupid or inadequate. I will share my emotions even if I’m afraid to be seen as overly emotional or high maintenance. I will be me, even though I may no longer be wanted!

I invite you to join me. What do you want to create?
What do you want to let go of?
What parts of your humanness and imperfection do you want to celebrate?

If you want more, please join us for our first AWE intensive
in Boulder, CO: http://integralcenter.wpengine.com/authentic-woman-experience/

With love and honesty,
Shana