*You are reading a guest article from, Embody Tantra trained teacher Shivangi Bhatt.*
Like all humans, I’ve experienced the sting of rejection in deep and painful ways over my lifetime. I feared that I could never be loved if I showed my true self to the world... and so I never felt real intimacy.
Hi! I’m Shivangi, one of the reasons I came to Tantra was that I was dissatisfied with the intimacy I had experienced. And I didn’t know HOW Tantra could possibly help me with that, but I knew that whatever was happening in my life wasn’t working.
As a beautiful, professional 30-something woman, I dated successful, smart, good-looking men, and I was charming, witty, and bubbly when I was with them. I showed selected parts of my real personality to them, but only the parts that were pleasant and polished. I never could let go and really show myself. I always held something back, held it tightly to my chest, afraid to expose my true self to an intimate partner, because I was so afraid of being rejected. And because I could never show myself fully, I never experienced the pleasure of real intimacy. I never felt really close to any of these partners. And all of those relationships inevitably fell apart.
Like all humans, I’ve experienced the sting of rejection in deep and painful ways over my lifetime. As a child, when I tried to show my true self – boisterous, emotional, strongly sexual, and a little dark – to adults. They would snap back at me and want me to be different, smaller, more pleasant, and more contained.
As I got older and became romantically involved with men, I found myself having this experience over and over again. I’d take a chance and show a sliver of my real personality, and get feedback that I was too much – too big, too sexual, too dark. Of course, it’s quite possible that I manifested much of this rejection because of my own fears that it would happen. I carried a deep story of “always being rejected, always being too much,” and I experienced everything through the filter of this story. So of course, it appeared to me that men were never accepting of my true self, and that I was always being rejected.
It’s a many-layered thing. But whether I was really being rejected over and over, or just perceiving it to be so because of the deep pain inside of me, it felt terrible. And a new and more powerful story formed in me – that I never could or would be loved if I showed my true self to the world. And so I kept my real self locked away. I interacted with the world with a perfectly curated version of myself, and never felt real satisfaction in my intimate relationships.
My first Tantra retreat was transformational. First of all, it was such a safe container. I sensed that I could be vulnerable in that space without being in danger. Also, I could sense that my teacher embodied many of the qualities I was afraid of showing – strong sexuality, a big vibrant personality, and an understanding of pain and darkness. But it was clear that she was very much loved, and very comfortable with herself. Seeing her show up so fully made me feel like I could maybe start to show the real me as well.
And then, of course, there were the practices. Tantric meditation practices are truly magical at unlocking deep pockets of pain and old patterns. In one practice in particular, I worked with a partner who, with the guidance of our teachers, created a very safe space for me to be incredibly vulnerable. As we practiced together, I felt myself starting to release the fear I had been carrying for so many years… the fear of rejection, the fear of never being loved. In that moment, I was allowed to show up completely and trust that I would be accepted just as I was.
That was the beginning of my journey to unravel my old stories and fears around being “too much” and unloveable, and the first step toward allowing real love into my heart. It’s a journey I am still on today. This is not something that transforms overnight, but Tantric meditation allowed me to make that first breakthrough and realize how much I had been holding back and how much pleasure and love I had been missing out on in my life. And today, when I feel the fear rising up, or when I start pulling away from intimacy, I can always come back to the Tantric practices to sink back into my body and enjoy all of the love that life has to offer me.
~ Shivangi Bhatt
What if you had the tools to move beyond your fears of rejection? Join us for the upcoming The Awaken Weekend and be guided on a journey of awakening your body. This is a deeply accepting container of love to allow ourselves to truly be seen and even loved in uncomfortable places.
*I’ve extended the EARLY BIRD RATE!*
May 4+5 . Los Angeles
Who is Shivangi?
Shivangi loves to share the blessings of her personal journey and her Tantra practice in an effort to help members of her community live their very best lives. As the daughter of a Hindu priest and a Balavihar teacher, she was raised in an orthodox Hindu Brahmin household where she received a deep education on Hindu mythology, Vedantic philosophy, Indian classical dance and music, Gujarati, Hindi and Sanskrit. Challenges with depression, anxiety, and addiction led her to turn away from religion and from God during early adulthood, but then Shivangi discovered a new relationship with her Higher Power as part of her own recovery. She feels blessed to have learned embodiment meditation, which connected her with her body, opened her heart, and helped her understand the sacred nature of her sensuality and sexuality. She recently completed her teacher training with Embody Tantra and teaches classes in Los Angeles.