It may seem a little paradoxical, but the first step in achieving intimacy with others is getting comfortable with yourself. If we are going to experience intimacy (that is, to reveal ourselves), to some extent,* we have to know ourselves and be comfortable with ourselves.
“To some extent” because nobody knows himself completely and nobody is completely comfortable with him/herself. The effort to truly know yourself is a lifelong effort.
Understanding yourself provides a foundation for:
In precious moments of solitude and silence, undisturbed by the comings and goings of the world, we are able to develop a sense of our legitimate needs, our deepest desires, and our talents and abilities.
The first step toward experiencing true intimacy is getting comfortable with yourself and learning to enjoy your own company.
In one way or another, most people are not comfortable with themselves (yet) and their discomfort with themselves can limit the way they experience intimacy.
Important points to reflect on:
Your past (people you worked for, authority figures, parents and family, role models, etc.) impacts who you are now.
Most of our inner drive, and certainly the way we react to others, comes from our own past experiences.
Our past and our self-image play a large part in how we choose to interpret other people’s behaviors. More importantly, they also determine the way we act and the effect we have on others. This is commonly spoken about as triggers*.
Trigger: A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.
We each have our own individual behaviors that shape how people perceive us.
Such behaviors often stem from our backgrounds or demonstrate what we value.
Your behaviors are based on:
The first step is to consciously acknowledge the essential truth of the human condition. While the human person is wonderful and capable of extraordinary things, we are all broken.
We are all imperfect.
When we allow ourselves to reflect adequately on the truth that we all have faults and failings, we will grow more and more comfortable with ourselves, and more and more comfortable in the company of others.
Do you tend to do any of these? If you do, how frequently does it happen?
Think about something you recently observed or discovered about your spouse.
*describe as objectively as possible
Some things you might observe: