The usual intimacy definition is closeness of various kinds: friends or lovers, a cozy room, or sex.
I also think of intimacy as AUTHENTICITY. HONORING TRUTH, recognizing the necessity of truth in the long term. Being secure enough to say the difficult things, to rock the boat. To stop people pleasing.
MY Intimacy Definition? Don't Sweep Relationship STUFF Under the Rug
Small Stuff Matters
(cuz over time, small gets big)
Have you ever had the experience of feeling a relationship going sour and remembering with disbelief how good it once was? That bewildered "how can this be happening?" feeling.
Like it is surreal in an awful kind of way? What went wrong? What did I say? How could they suddenly be so distant - or harsh or cold? Where did the trust and connection go?
Frequently there is some small event that triggers this -- but the event doesn't explain the depth of the break. It doesn't make sense.
"I don't like being wrong or making someone else wrong, I don't enjoy giving or getting feedback, I (they) can't change, there is no point trying to change things, it's hopeless, I just have to deal with it."
I think that what often lies underneath this baffling break is a slow death of intimacy. The slow death of intimacy begins with good intentions. Relationships/relating include inevitable small hurts, disappointments, misunderstandings, disagreements, insensitivity and so on.
No one wants to make a big deal about it in the moment. The trouble is that each time there is a tiny bit of distancing, of withdrawing, of pessimism about the possibilities of being authentic about it.
You can be overly optimistic that the relationship/connection doesn't need to bother with that. You can hear it in your mind, "It's FINE, no big deal. It doesn't matter. Who cares? I don't want to be picky, I don't want to be selfish. I can let it go."
A cornerstone of abandonment issues can be a history of relationships where things were not worked out with love and trust. Commit to overcoming that pattern.
Commit to having relationships with people who are also willing to do the work and face the discomfort it takes.
There CAN be a mutual dedication/intention to ALLOW natural reactions - and then get past initial triggers. The patterns behind loss of intimacy can be Repatterned!
Under all the fear, loss and confusion is love and desire for closeness. The first step is simply to recognize that there ARE these beliefs operating in each of us and that we can flow through and around and overcome them.
We CAN shift to resonate with POSITIVE outcomes, with more closeness and love through a positive argument or clearing a misunderstanding, through expressing our needs and feelings.
It isn't easy to put our vulnerable open hearts out on the table.
It isn't easy to tell someone how they hurt you when you can be pretty sure they'll take it as an attack.
But we can't let AVOIDING discomfort, difficulty - even at times being wrong or rejected - be the unconscious operating intimacy definition that we live by - we can redefine, relearn, re-experience, release, and even re-love.
NO NO! I'm kidding!
But seriously...if something isn't working for you, hold an intention to honor both yours and their feelings,
take time to reflect, be kind and diplomatic OF COURSE -
But do trust yourself. You are a good person!
If something is coming between you, trust the process of intimacy to work it out.
Truth can be raw and full of conflict AND full of love. Polarity is what makes the electricity. It is about sharing and being heard, not being agreed with, not being right, not pleasing, not ALWAYS keeping the peace.
It seems like the main barrier to authentic intimacy (the only kind of intimacy!) is people either taking things personally or ASSUMING that the other person will.
The situation I've outlined here are examples of how the unspoken rules of society dictate "a socially appropriate "intimacy definition."
These unspoken social rules are also know as a collective "dream" - or collective reality. Our unconscious rules of of "not rocking the boat" - create inner hell and relationship hell.
It's based on judgments about good / bad, right / wrong - and a belief in "worst case" - instead of belief in positive possibilities - and keep us separate and desperate.
"I don't trust that they love me when they give me feedback, they don't trust me when I give them feedback. We close our hearts, defend ourselves and feel cold."
What it all amounts to is a resonance with the negative outcomes of being truly intimate and authentic and negative assumptions about clearing things up, and about potential arguments.
There is also resonance with not expressing feelings or needs.
Sadly, this is often behind the baffling transformation from closeness to the surreal disconnect that appears to be over something trivial.
What if an effective intimacy definition was "Sweat the Small Stuff (cuz it AIN'T SMALL)."
What if your operating definition was "Pay Attention to (and deal with) the Details."
What if we treated intimacy in marriage like clearing clutter, not leaving a bunch of garbage sitting around stinking up the place, not accumulating invisible baggage with each other?
"I (they) feel criticized, blamed, judged, demeaned, dismissed. I (they) tense up and cut off. It's hard to say how I feel, and hard to apologize."
These are examples of what we resonate with when we choose not to be intimate about uncomfortable stuff. These are beliefs that based on conditioning. These beliefs can be shifted. We can stop resonating with dis-empowering unconscious beliefs -- but only if we have the courage to see them.
"I (they) feel powerless and afraid in the face of upset. I'm (they) are not lovable. I (they) will abandon our relationship. I don't know how to change or find happiness."
Instead we humbly accept that we are human and that these conditioned beliefs are PART OF THE HUMAN CONDITION. These beliefs exist probably most of the time for most of the people. However, as humans who can choose consciousness, we CAN choose to face and then transform them within ourselves.
The key here is to remember that these negative, limiting beliefs (about being authentic, being intimate even when it isn't comfortable, working it out) are from PAST OLD PATTERNS. Any "imperfection" is only natural, part of being human and really not all that personal.
Not personal in the sense that these "negative" or difficult things are part of being HUMAN... and not us - not a true reflection of who we really are deep down.
Intimacy, feedback, dealing with the details, the little hurts and misunderstandings - even arguments - truly can be a good thing - even a necessary thing. Going through it is the way to preserve and strengthen the bonds of love, trust and closeness...
Reach New Levels of The Personal Intimacy Definition
That Inspires You
Here is a fantastic summary of a famous book, The Four Agreements, that describes four life-changing personal agreements (one of which is not taking things personally.) http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-the-four-agreements/#gsc.tab=0#link_2873951
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By Laura Frisbie, M.Ed., CRRP
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