by Michael Porcelli

I was always a high-achieving kid. My accomplishments in school helped me develop a sense that I could do anything I set my mind to. This included getting into a great university, completing an engineering degree, and earning good money in the tech industry building software.

But it wasn’t quite true that I believed I could do whatever I set my mind to.

There was one major exception—relationships. Sure, I got along with my family, my buddies, and a select few females. But growing up, it seemed like I got started off on the wrong foot when it came to the whole dating and liking girls thing.

Into adulthood, unlike many peers, I remained stuck, feeling isolated in a kind of spiral of shame and embarrassment. People said “be yourself!” and “be confident!” but for me it seemed like an either/or choice—my “self” wasn’t “confident.” I continued with longing bewilderment, wondering “How do people even get together?! This makes no sense!”

A friend encouraged me to pay attention to my relationships as an opportunity for growing and learning. But I ignored his advice because something just didn’t feel right about “trying” or “working on” this. I thought that I should just be able to “be myself” and that it would “just happen” when the time was right or the right person came along.

After enduring as much suffering and loneliness as I could take, I decided to follow my friend’s advice. From this point forward, I spent years dedicating myself to improving my communication and relational skills. This led me to encounter the world of Circling and Authentic Relating. l would never be the same. I started seeing what I thought was me was really just layers of personality accrued from past experiences. I learned how to peel back the layers and let something more real and true come out.

Since then, I’ve noticed a big shift in all my relationships, regardless of gender. I transcended mere ideas about relationships, like what I thought it meant to “be myself” or “be confident” and learned how to more skillfully experience relating—how to track a sense of connection with others and how my communication is being received. I also learned how to bring out the best in others through the exquisite listening skills I developed with the help of the practices of Authentic Relating. Funny enough, I feel more confident and more comfortable being myself than ever before. And, yes, I’ve experienced extraordinary intimate relationships with women, beyond what I previously thought possible.

These days, I help guide others along this path. Through our courses at The Integral Center, people like you have more of what they want in their relationship of all kinds—with family, friends, colleagues, and intimate partners.

Together, we practice and explore just what it means to be authentic in any context. We unwrap what it means to “be yourself”. We reveal to ourselves and others the places where we’re still hiding. We learn how to effectively invite others to “get real” with us. We experience what it feels like to be in connection and have the kind of impact we desire in all our relationships.

I’m living proof that one can radically transform their social life for the better through developing relational and communication skills. I know what it’s like to taste this on a workshop weekend, only to have it “snap-back” once the glow fades. I know what it’s like to keep pressing on, committed to making it stick.

The Authentic Relating Comprehensive (ARC) is one course I wish I could have done those years ago. I designed this course specifically to help you integrate the principles and practices of Authentic Relating into your everyday lives, in the relationships that matter most.

I personally want to invite you to come learn how to do this for yourself with me, our incredible team, and others like you, ready to create lasting change in their relationships.

If you like my story, and you want to find out more about how ARC could help give you the tools to connect and communicate more effectively with anyone, feeling relaxed, confident, and comfortable being yourself, wherever you go, please go here to find out more.