Intimacy Part I – A Distant View
What does it mean to you? Do you know what it feels like to truly be intimate with another? If you were to count the number of people you have been completely vulnerable with, how many would there be?
Intimacy relates to our childhood. Our family system. What and who we grew up around and how we perceived that environment. Whether we felt safe and secure. Whether we felt loved and accepted. Whether or not we felt safe enough to share our most personal needs, wants and desires. Did you feel you could share those personal needs and wants as a child? If you did, were you accepted or made fun of? Did your family allow you to explore who you were as an adolescent? And as an adult, did you allow yourself to be vulnerable? Would you? Could you now?
Intimacy is connecting to another person on a deep, spiritual level. It’s connecting with someone with body, mind and soul. Intimacy is quite difficult for many people. Some mistakingly conclude that sex is intimacy. Sex is a form of intimacy, but it isn’t the only thing it’s about. Intimacy has to do with sharing. Communicating. Opening up. Becoming vulnerable. Trusting. It’s about being authentic.
Erik Erickson presents his theory of intimacy in his popular Theory of Development where he specifically discusses a stage he calls “Intimacy vs Isolation”. This stage takes place somewhere between ages 18 and 40 and the conflict we face during this time is whether or not we are able to form loving bonds with others.
I fear that many people do not know how to be authentic. They do not like to be vulnerable because they are scared to be hurt and they, therefore, are incapable of becoming truly close to another.
Intimacy involves love. In order for you to know if you can love others fully you must ask yourself if you love yourself fully? Are you able to be vulnerable? Have you ever told anyone your deepest, darkest secrets? Are you able to say what your true needs are? Are you uncomfortable with what those needs are? Do you feel shame in regards to what you want and desire? Does it scare you? What are you really afraid of?