Why Being Your Genuine Self is a Way to Create True Intimacy and a Healthy Relationship
“Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone – and finding that that’s ok with them.”
― Alain de Botton, writer/essayist
Have you ever taken the risk to be FULLY YOURSELF with someone – allowing your weird self to come out, exposing the things you feel ashamed of, being brutally honest, or just being who YOU want to be? Just letting go and trusting that it will be okay? Or at least not worrying that something will go wrong? THAT is intimacy in its truest form!
We spend so much time thinking about things that get in the way of intimacy:
- What does he want me to do?
- What am I SUPPOSED to do?
- Am I too fat?
- Can I perform?
- Did I screw up?
- Does she really care about me?
- Oh no, I made him mad again….
- I can’t.
- She’ll hurt me if I do that.
- I’ll make a fool of myself.
- I’m too scared.
- I can’t BELIEVE he did that! What an asshole!
These types of reactions are very understandable and I think they come up for ALL OF US at times. But a need for intimacy and closeness is a driving force for everyone – scientific studies have shown that children who have their basic survival needs (food, water, clothing, shelter) met but lack emotional and physical attention, fail to thrive intellectually, physically, and emotionally. When relationships are going well, we find ways to push through barriers to intimacy, but when we are stressed, self-conscious, or angry, and start blaming and not trusting our partners, we will inevitably find a way to seek out some form of connection SOMEWHERE – but usually somewhere ELSE (whether through an affair, other friends, or becoming overly involved at work or other activities).
I asked you if you had ever experienced what it was like to fully let yourself go with someone. My guess is that you have, even if only for a moment or two…. If you’re more fortunate, you’ve experienced this many times. The important question is, how can we rely on intimate connections with our girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends, and wives, especially if we currently feel distanced or lack trust? I will go into more depth about intimacy in an upcoming post, but as a starting point, I will say this:
It starts with yourself. We have a tendency to focus more on what our partners are doing or not doing – are they doing the things you need to feel safe enough to be your true self? Really, though, it is up to YOU. Instead of focusing on how your partner can change, I challenge you instead to look at what can you do to open yourself up to these experiences. How can you create the environment, emotional state, or self-confidence you need to foster intimacy in your relationship?
Emotional and physical intimacy is a foundational element of healthy relationships. When intimacy begins to disappear, relationships start to suffer. Repairing intimacy is one of the most common issues that couples work on in counseling, and is an important issue to address sooner rather than later when it shows up. If you are currently experiencing lack of intimacy in your relationship the counselors at the Salt Lake Relationship Center can help! Please contact us or schedule an appointment today.