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Intimacy is one of those buzzwords that we often see in probably every single relationship book ever written.
I can understand why.
Intimacy is the glue that keeps us secure within our relationships, is it not?
When researching the word “intimacy,” it is by definition: something of a personal or private nature or quality suggesting closeness or warmth
Ugh, I could receive a more enticing description by asking an eight-year-old boy.
No wonder we have such a hard time with this word. There aren’t many definitions that make it sound appealing.
So I had to dig a little.
Here are some descriptions I found in a thesaurus:
Intimacy is a connection that creates a safe and secure feeling of acceptance and a willingness to be open.
When we are intimate with a person, we may feel encouraged to move toward an unknown territory within our own heart space. Intimacy encourages us to be authentic and present.
Most of the content I found on intimacy was reserved for couples, but intimacy can be found in all relationships. There is intimacy among friends, between parents and children, and with our precious elders. The last day I spent with my grandma was on a sunny afternoon when I sang her a Native American lullaby. As I sang to her, her eyes sparkled and a certain aspect of her personality came forward. Afterward, she sang one of her favorites back to me.
I cherish that memory and wish I had more of those real moments with her. Something felt peacefully intimate about that experience.
Here are some ways to encourage intimacy:
Take care of yourself first.
We cannot give from an empty cup and being intimate requires energy and self-awareness.
Center yourself by getting intimate with nature. Earth’s natural rhythm will move the stress out of our bodies and that will enable us to remove any blocked energy. Next, clear your head and get away from all of your thoughts for a few minutes. Try a simple guided meditation.
Be present and ask questions with a genuine effort. Wait for a response. Listen. Hold eye contact. Try to refrain from small talk. Don’t multitask. It’s simple yet so hard with all of life’s distractions.
Okay, after the person tells you how they are, look at them and take them in. Break away from a habitual style of communication that feels automatic and rehearsed.
From your heart, offer a compliment and undivided attention. Let the spotlight shine on them for a moment.
When we are able to share laughter, we not only increase connection but also create a safe place to share our flaws and vulnerabilities. Sometimes I share my epic fails with family and friends because I have a need to expose those tender moments. By revealing them, things lighten up and obstacles are removed that would otherwise get in the way of a deep connection.
Laughing at ourselves, while in the company of others, creates an intimate and raw experience.
Here are some thoughtful ideas from our lovely readers:
Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t say it mean. ~Ellen
I recently learned that many of us don’t ask or expect much of others after being rejected/let down. But in reality, we should be expecting and anticipating our partners to want to be able to meet our needs. I think a lot of us sell ourselves short and just settle. ~Thais
Be open-minded, free of lies, be a dream booster to your partner. Accept the other side of your partner and give advice rather than making it a competitive game. Always see your partner as fragile and emotional. Always seek her advice on most issues. Cultivate the habit to pray together. Respect one another, protect her like your daughter and love one another with passion as soul mates. ~Oni
The best way to build intimacy is with honesty. Being open and honest about who you are, what you believe in, your dreams, and most importantly—your emotions. Honest, open communication between two people will create intimacy.~Lynne
Something that is simple in its complexity and complex in its simplicity. A skill that sometimes must be taught. A skill that must be practiced daily. A skill both parties must have and have patience with. A skill called communication, ~John
Make time for regular date nights and positive communication about how much you appreciate. ~Michelle
In a perfect world, both sides are open and willing to work on this, not just one. ~Eli Maria
Sure honesty is good, but it’s your delivery. Be kind and patient. We have not been taught these things enough. Listen and touch. Enjoy shared foot rubs or facials. Massage soothes the soul. ~Dee
Accept each other. The awesome stuff to warts and everything in between. ~Rebecca
Establish a baseline for the definition of intimacy. For me, it means fearlessly knowing and being known. To get there, you need trust. To build trust, you need open and honest communication. ~Kevin
Buy me chocolate. ~Nicola
If both parties are okay with it. eating off the same plate. ~Ejandra
Being vulnerable. Sharing desires. Holding space for each other. Letting my husband shave my legs and other areas works as well ~Nuris
Eye contact and silence. To be in someone’s company (without the need for words) and to feel at home just looking into their eyes. ~Joe
Either good or bad, sharing your feelings about things goes a long way. ~Justin
Do scary things together. ~Andrea
Take her out to an Italian dinner. Push one of your meatballs from your plate to hers. While eating pasta, you both mistakenly eat the same strand of spaghetti which draws your lips closer together as you eat it. ~Hank
Stare down some dragons together. Nothing quite like sharing the singed hair and hot flash of a burn from seeing each other through the occasional loss tragedy of life ~Amanda
There is no doubt that we are social creatures wired for connection.
We know we’ve experienced intimacy because our hearts take notice of those tender moments. We know they are meant to be cherished.
No one has to teach us this.