It is often said that the greatest human fears include death and public speaking. I believe that the fear of intimacy is also one of the greatest fears. Intimacy is what brings people closer and deepens relationships. Yet so many fear real intimacy. They feel more comfortable only half showing up and being only half present in life and relationships. I believe that intimacy can truly transform people's lives. Not just their relationship with others but also with their relationship with themselves. Because intimacy is the only way we know ourselves and know others.
Why do people fear intimacy? People are often afraid of what is inside them. The wounds, pain and hurt of the past still lives within their mind and body. They are afraid of rejection. Ashamed of who they are. So they keep a tight guard over their heart. On an unconscious level there may be a part of them trying to protect them. In this age of perfection they feel any wound or hurt is a sign of weakness. So the impact of this is that they only half show up in their life and relationships. They present only one side of themselves to others.
How modern life has created a false intimacy. In our modern time of social media, tinder and internet dating it's easier to be intimate with another after a few drinks - indeed many find it is easier to have sex than be intimate with another. In our modern world to be intimate with each other on Facebook includes likes and comments on posts. These intimacy issues have always been part of our humanity however it has manifested on a different level with the digital age. I see it all so often. Couples sitting across from each other at dinner both disconnected from each other yet so very connected to their phones and what other people are doing yet missing out on what is in front of them.
As humans we seek connection with others yet are too afraid to truly love and open the doors to our hearts to allow another person to see all of us - not just our best bits, our strengths, and joy but also our weakness, the shadows and the wounds. This takes courage to fully show up in this way but the rewards are great for we need intimacy in our lives to truly flourish.
The art of intimacy. To be intimacy with another we must also learn how to be intimate with ourselves. To practice self-love, compassion and kindness. To remove our self imposed masks and ideas about perfection. To judge less and be kind more. To be intimate with another we must remove the guards around our hearts. We must be be willing to be vulnerable. When you let go of the fear of intimacy your life changes - you begin to embrace connection with yourself and others on a deeper level. You focus on what's important rather than hiding parts of you. You feel much more free within your mind, body and heart.
Intimacy isn't just about sex or physical contact. It's about a deeper connection from the well springs of your heart. Today be brave and take the first step towards a greater intimacy. Share your wildest dreams. Your hopes and desires. Go out in nature together. Dance. Also go beyond the voice. There is nothing so beautiful as to gaze into your eyes of your loved one. No words. Let the intimate and wise heart speak with the voice of love.
Your heart knows the voice and rhythm of intimacy. Shift your awareness down into your heart and feel the connection there. Let your guard down. Remove your self imposed mask and allow yourself to be truly seen. Slowly and gently - go at your own pace. When intimacy awakens in your heart your life changes. You feel more comfortable within yourself. Your choices will be based upon love, dreams and hopes rather than fear, shames and hiding your true self.
Intimacy strengthens and deepens connections and relationships. It's the soul of a relationship. It's the gentle fire in your heart. The grace of your love. There is nothing to fear about intimacy for that for it's the naturally expression of who you are within your body, heart and mind.
When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning. John O'Donohue
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