“I feel fenced in or controlled when people try to get close to me.” “I feel lonely even when I’m with others.”
“I’ve been told I’m clingy, jealous or controlling.” “I’m afraid that if I let someone in they will hurt me.”
“I’m uncomfortable with affection.” “It’s hard for me to depend on others”. “Open expressions of feelings are hard for me.”
If you answer yes to one or more of these statements you may have problems with intimacy.
Fear of intimacy is common. We open ourselves to the possibility of abandonment, exposure, merger, or attack when we open up to another person. And yet the deepest, most meaningful, and most growth promoting experiences are interpersonal. We miss out on a lot if we cannot let ourselves get close to others.
Intimacy is the experience of allowing ourselves to be known in the depth and complexity of who we are. It is revealing our true self to another, “warts and all”, and letting them see us as we are. It is also opening ourselves to another, allowing ourselves to know who they truly are, and letting them in.
Intimacy with others starts with intimacy with ourselves. You can’t get close to others unless you get close to yourself, and getting close to yourself means feeling what is going on inside you. Yet we so often ignore, neglect and criticize ourselves in the very way we fear others will do to us.
One small thing we can each do right here and right now is pay attention to ourselves and notice what we are feeling. In this moment in the body. Say hello to what you find with warm interest and, even if it is uncomfortable, do not judge it. Open yourself to you. Drop your guard and let yourself be seen by you. Stop looking the other way when there is pain or anxiety. Stop telling yourself you shouldn’t feel that way.
Let yourself be surprised by Who you find within. Stay with you with warm interest and breathe. If you start to feel this is silly and not important, be aware you are saying who you are is silly and not important. Push back against the old lies that say you dont matter and aren’t worthy.
Get close to you. Feel you. Accept you in all the messy marvellous mixture of yourself. There is nothing more important and you are so worth it.
Photo Credit: Peanut Edith