Self Assessment: True or False
“I feel fenced in or controlled when people try to get close to me.”
“I feel lonely even when I’m with others.”
“I feel I’m wearing a mask when I’m with people.”
“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 expressing affection.”
“It’s hard for me to depend on others.”
“Open expressions of feelings are hard for me.”
“I’m a chameleon; I change depending on who I’m with”
“I feel like I’m fulfilling expectations rather than living my real life.”
“What if I explore inside myself and there’s no one in there?”
“I want to live a life that better reflects my real self.”
If you said true to one or more of the statements above, you may be struggling with issues of intimacy and authenticity.
Do you want the confidence to be your real self and open up more fully to others?
Fear of intimacy is common. When we open up to another person we risk the possibility of abandonment, exposure, or rejection. 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.
Authenticity is the ability to be genuinely ourselves in a range of circumstances. It is a sign of wholeness, maturity and mental health to be who we really are. Being authentic means finding out what we truly feel deep inside – not just living out ideas and expectations of who we are, or who we “should” be.
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.
Being authentic and intimate requires that we are able to tolerate the discomfort of vulnerability. Relationships are vulnerable. We do not have ultimate control over whether or not others will care about us, accept us, take an interest in us, or judge us when we open up to them.
Intimacy and authenticity involve knowing what is true inside, being able to fully experience that, and feeling confident in your ability to share your real self with others.
I can help you grow your capacity to manage the physiology of anxiety so that, regardless of how another person behaves, you can become confident enough to take the risk of knowing, being and sharing your real self.
Short video on how we defend against intimacy.
Video on the power of authenticity.
Short blog entry on emotional authenticity.
Ted talk with Hedy Schliefer on the power of connection.
Website with lots of information, videos, and articles about intimacy.
Short interview with Brene Brown on how vulnerability is connected to emotional intimacy.