In our lives we encounter a multitude of experiences within our relationships that both serve as catalysts for union or destructive forces that can sever any bond. Our childhood attachment to our caregivers, our life experiences, and our beliefs all shape our capacity to become intimate with another human being.
After a while of carrying childhood pain, romantic disappointments, and heart-wounds, there may be times when we start to believe ourselves unable to become truly intimate. Our beliefs and thoughts around intimacy could manifest as intense fear with which we push others away, cling too tightly, or never allow others to get too close.
The emotional pain we’ve experienced from previous intimate relationships and the subsequent fear it provokes are the root causes of any block towards intimacy.
Ultimately, fear is the contracting, withdrawn, isolated, and evasive force that destroys and blocks our innate urge to engage in intimate union with another. Love is the expansive, inclusive, open, and connective force that creates and strengthens our desire to unite.
Love is the underlying influence that guides the three elements of intimacy and promotes bonds so deep and beautiful that we completely surrender to true closeness with another.
These elements must be nourished every day with our partners or other loved ones in order to experience true intimacy. However, in this view, intimacy isn’t seen as a destination. Rather, it is perceived as an infinite pathway into the heart of oneself and another—uniting both as one.
Real intimacy is powerful and is revealed over time with ever-expanding layers of depth and continual levels of connectedness.
By nurturing these three elements, we are enabled to begin the quest toward mutual unification and uncover the journey into balanced connection.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” – Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
“There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.” – Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on life and the Human Experience
Being intimate means being real. It means being honest about who you are and where you have been. It also means being sincere, genuine, and comfortable with yourself. Your level of self-awareness is a great indicator or your ability to develop intimate bonds.
Those who refuse to truly see themselves have difficulty seeing another—and I’m speaking of a level of self-honesty and inner sight that reveals all the light and darkness about who you are. This “sight” is non-judgmental both internally and externally. It is a level of self-acceptance with who you are so that you can present your true self to another—flaws and all—knowing that you are being as real as possible.
Authenticity leaves no room for deception, secrecy, or dishonesty. It is being true to who you are as a unique individual and allowing free expression of your truth in collaboration with another.
Do you know who you are well enough to share yourself in fullness with someone else?
Are you okay with being who you are?
Can you be yourself around your loved ones?
Are you honest with yourself?
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” – May Sarton
“Vulnerability is the essence of romance. It’s the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, ‘This is me, and I’m interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more important, all that I am not.'” – Ashton Kutcher
“I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.” – Brene Brown
No matter how real you are, if you are not truly vulnerable there is no way that intimacy can blossom or sustain itself. Intimacy occurs when two people reveal themselves in full authenticity. There is no façade, no hiding, and no distraction.
Being fully present with another human being, looking deeply into their eyes, and exposing all of yourself in your entirety—now that’s vulnerable! It really is only through being vulnerable that two people can truly connect.
Being vulnerable means sharing yourself completely with another human being, even at the risk of being heart-broken or deeply hurt. For profound levels of intimacy, share your thoughts, emotions, dreams, visions, bed, time, money, bodies, food, gifts, ideas, plans, etc.
Share all of yourself with your partner and spend quality time with them. Expose your multi-faceted and mysterious nature and take the great risk of being seen. Love yourself enough to know that no matter how much another observes, you will be okay and you are always loved.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.” – Brene Brown
“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” – Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
“I don’t want to be married just to be married. I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with.” – Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
One of the most intimate aspects of life is to be fully comfortable with another human being while the two of you are sharing complete silence. Combining authenticity and vulnerability, to be silent is to be entirely real and available.
There is nothing to hide from in silence when you’re with someone, especially when you’re looking into their eyes. This type of silence is a statement of trust, mutual comfort, and freedom. There is no need for constant chatter to fill up space or electronic devices to distract each other from intimacy.
Silence is simple, pure, and filled with the seeds of intimate connection. There is no need for separation or barriers… Have you ever been driving in a car with someone (without the radio on) and felt complete serenity just holding your lover’s hand?
Have you experienced the silence as the two of you went on a romantic hike in the forest? Have you made love with your partner and, without saying a word, went on to experience a connection so deep that it felt transcendental?
There is a deep mystery to silence that touches the divine within one another. Through being authentic, vulnerable, and sharing moments of silence, you can take the inner voyage of the heart and experience ever-deepening dimensions of true connection and profound intimacy.