The desire for authentic connection is one of the most natural impulses we have as human beings. It dates in part back to prehistoric times when traveling in nomadic tribes increased the likelihood of survival, and it is just as powerful and influential in our lives today.
However, many of us struggle to really connect or get intimate. We shy away from showing our real self to another, out of fear that we may be hurt.
This fear protects us but also shields us from the enriching experience of being intimate with another person – a very real human need. Here’s the problem: we need connection, and real connection requires vulnerability.
But this vulnerability frightens us and so we refuse to risk it, and protect ourselves instead, leaving us unfulfilled. So, what is the intimacy we long for, and how can we attain it?
Intimacy is letting yourself be seen and acknowledged on a deep level. Many people attribute it to romantic relationships and it is certainly found there, but that isn’t all.
In fact, the most intimate relationship in your life is with yourself. How do you feel about yourself, overall? Are you honest with yourself about your feelings, needs and desires or do you punish yourself or hide parts of yourself you’re ashamed of?
The world is a reflection of what you carry inside. If deep intimacy is something you long for start with your relationship with yourself and be brutally honest with yourself.
Acknowledge what is there and love it for what it is, rather than pushing it away because it doesn’t match some image of what you think you “should” be like.
Here is an exercise to try: sit alone with yourself for 20 minutes. Don’t do anything, just BE. Can you sit, alone with yourself for 20 minutes, or are you compulsively drawn to distraction (phone, tv, work, etc.)?
If you aren’t able to tolerate being with yourself for such a short time, then you’ve put your finger on why you aren’t able to connect deeply with another person.
But what if you have a great sense of self and you’re still struggling to connect? Here are three ways to get intimate in a confident and loving way:
1. Identify and Embrace Your Feminine Side
Regardless of your gender, you have a feminine side. This has less to do with genitals and more to do with feminine aspects. Your feminine or “yin” side is receptive, open, vulnerable, flexible, trusting and nurturing.
Ask yourself, how do you feel about these aspects of yourself? Are you comfortable with them? Do you get uncomfortable just reading these words?
Any reaction is fine, it’s just important to notice because your reactions are guidance about your own inner workings, and you can learn a lot from becoming aware of them.
Intimacy requires a comfort with your own femininity. It requires that you let yourself be vulnerable, and open yourself to the moment, regardless of what may happen.
It requires that you allow in the other – receive them into yourself, without fear of losing yourself. Risk opening to the present moment.
You will not only connect with yourself more deeply than you have before, but it will be felt by those around you and they will respond by opening to you, in turn.
2. Identify and Embrace Your Masculine Side
The second step is to identify and embrace your masculine side. Same as above, we all have masculine qualities regardless of our gender. Masculine qualities include strength, assertiveness, clarity, boundaries, leadership and pro-activeness (yang).
How are you with these qualities in your life? Are you comfortable with your masculinity? Do you assert yourself when you need to? Or do you fear being aggressive and so recoil from owning your own power?
Healthy masculinity involves standing in your power, comfortable asserting yourself, with no exaggeration or need to prove your strength to others (these defenses are often used to compensate for feelings of inadequacy).
Intimacy requires a comfort with your own masculinity. It requires that you stand in your power, undefended and self-assured, to meet the other in the fullness of yourself.
It requires you to calmly and confidently assert your boundaries, and stand up for yourself when necessary. It requires that you honor yourself, as a divine being.
The third step is to surrender. This can be the toughest part for many of us. Especially for those in self-development work, because we can tend to be “fixers” and we want to make it right.
However, connection happens when two willing people come together and take the risk of being undefended together. It is authentic, and cannot be forced.
Which is not the same thing as not able to be attained! It is more than possible to have as much real connection in your life as you want, in fact, it is the most natural thing we can do!
However, if you are still struggling, be aware of any part of you that might be trying to force (or avoid) connection. Are you using intimacy with another as a way to avoid contact with yourself?
Again, be aware of any self-judgment here, there’s no right or wrong, just information about yourself. Let yourself be honest and examine where you may be holding yourself back or pushing yourself forward more than your natural rhythm desires.
Overall, spend time checking in with yourself, and be honest with what you find inside. In particular, listen to your own body, deeply, and respect what it says, even if it doesn’t make “sense” to your mental brain.
Your body is a direct guidance system to your divine spark and it is always 100% honest. Let yourself slow way, way down, and look at an interaction or pattern in detail, staying open to your intuition and listing deeply.
Your real self-desires intimacy on many levels. Getting your fears and defenses out of the way will allow you to connect deeply and authentically in exactly the way you desire.
You will be amazed at how easily it flows! And if you need help, reach out – skilled guidance goes a long way in increasing the ease and speed of your personal development work. Enjoy!
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