Intimacy – in today’s world “intimacy” is often associated with sexuality. This is a shame because, by definition, intimacy is “a close or warm friendship or understanding; personal relationship” Collins English Dictionary.
I think of intimacy as an authentic connection, shared moments and the ability to allow yourself to be open with another person. I truly believe that it’s vital to understand how opening up to intimacy will allow you to be respected and loved, for who you are.
Relationships will always flourish with a degree of intimacy – there is power in being authentically seen by someone else and to being known for who you are, and as a result, you will be loved and respected because of it.
Learning to value yourself and being open to giving and receiving in relationships, will have a powerfully positive impact on your health and well-being. Good news, huh!
In an article I recently read by Paul Bedson of The Gawler Foundation, Paul discusses how;
“.. true intimacy can take many forms.
It can be demonstrated by the ability to really listen to someone, to allow them the space to talk about their feelings, needs or concerns, without jumping in too much or being distracted.
…. it’s important to speak from the heart and talk about your own feelings and requests. …. respecting the other person, being concerned about their goodwill and expressing gratitude or giving compliments. …
Intimacy creates more safety and equality between people.”
So, how can you improve intimacy in your relationships and develop authentic connections, starting right now?
Here’s Paul Bedson’s 5 Steps:
1. Know Yourself. This step is about accepting yourself, and spending time getting to know yourself, this may be through meditation, journaling or coaching.
Through choosing to connect with yourself & by being kind to yourself you are less likely to project your desires, feelings & emotions onto another person.
2. Forgiveness. If necessary, step away from the history of the relationship and make a plan to move forward. Extend goodwill towards the other person & release any hurts that you may have to allow the space you need to create something new.
3. Own Your Stuff. Take responsibility for your emotions and needs. When you have been able to do this, you will be able to express your feelings & concerns more appropriately.
4. Learn To Hear ‘No’. When listening deeply and speaking the truth, you will learn the difference between making requests and extending demands.
5. Express Gratitude. By expressing gratitude and genuinely wishing the other person well, you are stepping into the art of giving and receiving and this is vital to the growth of any relationship.
I know that after I spent time getting to know myself on a much deeper level, I was able to allow myself to be authentic, open, practise forgiveness and own my stuff. As a result my relationships were all taken to another level.
It is incredibly important to me that I am respected for who I am and I know that with this, comes being loved for who I am. It’s often not an easy process and I will admit, I’ve lost relationships with people I thought were important to me.
But what I realise now is that those relationships weren’t authentic and were most times, based on someone else’s version of who I was.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I would like to note that this article was inspired by and based on, an article written by Paul Bedson in the April 2013 issue of Living Now.
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