Before Intimacy Can Happen
I often hear people say that women want intimacy more than men, but I don’t think that’s true at all. I think every soul wants to connect beyond the surface experience of daily living and into the depths of authentic humanness where we’re all worthy, loved, and acceptable exactly as we are. To experience intimacy is the whole purpose behind our desire for a relationship, a chance to see ourselves as the love we are at our very core.
I can tell you from years of experience that intimacy’s never going to happen if we don’t like who we are!! Never!! We’re going to guard that f–ing door to the depths of our being like Fluffy, the three-headed dog in the Harry Potter series. When we’re unhappy with our soul and our secrets, we snap and growl anytime someone gets close to the truth of our inherent human weakness. We don’t want anyone to touch our pain and who can blame us? It hurts.
Many of us carry around a lot of misunderstanding around being vulnerable in the past and being hurt. Every time we face rejection we almost always interpret the experience as “something’s wrong with me.” We try to determine what’s not acceptable and then we hide it or pretend it doesn’t exist. These secrets we harbor become our pain points and anyone who gets close enough is bound to trigger them eventually. Shutting down and closing off is how we keep them safe. But intimacy becomes impossible when we’re closed off.
So how do we ever experience intimacy as long as our hearts are fully armored? How do we let our guard down when we know we’re going to feel the sting of human insufficiency and vulnerability again?
First, you have to learn to love yourself fully, including all the parts that might not win approval. You must love all of it, not just the skin you are in, but all the dark crevices you dislike and keep hidden from view. How can you ever expect another person to love you fully if you don’t love yourself? Without self-love, you’ll always be putting off “I’m not love-worthy vibes” and you’ll attract people who prove that.
Commit to unearthing all of your insecurities and learn to love and accept them. You know what they are…your secrets. They are an important part of what makes you a human being with depth and feeling. When you allow them to be seen you give others permission to be real and human too. You’ll know you’re getting there when you’re okay sharing them with others, regardless of the outcome.
For years, I thought that making mistakes made me unlovable, so I pretended to be smart and infallible. But the truth is, I’m not. There’s a lot I don’t know and I make a fair amount of mistakes. I had to own my fears about being wrong and understand their source and their power. In this way, I learned to stop trying to pretend I was perfect. I could allow others to see me fail and keep going. As a result, I found a little pride in my willingness to learn and grow. Now I can ask for help and support when I need it, something that was impossible (and stressful) before.
The truth is we’re all vulnerable; it’s just that some of us are better armored than others.
But no one can really love a person who’s guarded. Learning to allow others to really see us takes practice. It takes courage. It requires a willingness to let down your guard, not for another, but for the freedom of your own heart. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
When we courageously allow another to see our fears and insecurities, doubts and uncertainties, then we’re being intimate, even if the other can’t fully appreciate what we’re offering. Intimacy isn’t a guarantee that lovers will stay, it’s a promise that your love runs deep and wide and free. It’s a promise you make to yourself, to learn and experience intimacy in your life, not just a singular relationship…although I believe that will happen too.
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