The crucible of a relationship is a living, moving entity that requires devotion, attention, and willingness to face that which we avoid the most.
Our tendency toward avoidance can be remarkably surprising, especially for those of us who consider ourselves desiring of and open to intimacy.
We can go to great lengths to avoid certain feelings, and when it’s hidden or subtle, we are highly unaware of it.
For example, I habitually ascend to the safety of my mind’s objectivity and logic to justify and rationalize things that are not of a mental nature, but of the heart, body, and soul.
I do this even when I think I am not. And then, when I return to a calm felt sense, I become aware of deeper feelings and the avoidance of being with them.
Avoidance, even the most subtle variety, is an obstacle to deepening trust and intimacy.
What is needed to dismantle the barriers to intimacy with others is a deeper intimacy with self.
Here are three ways to deepen our intimacy with ourselves, so we can have more intimate, loving relationships with others.
1. Take time to cultivate your nervous system’s capacity to be with sensation. This looks like noticing when you are triggered, even in a mild way and slowing way down. The impetus to take a ride can be compelling. Choose instead to remain present to the felt sense in your body and breath while you feel activated, without attaching to an outcome. Allow this to unfold.
2. Feel your sensations through a regular embodiment practice such The Non-Linear Movement Method®, Somatic Experiencing®, or other trauma-informed somatic practices that connect you to your body’s natural intelligence.
3. Nurture the relationship with the sacred companions of self-compassion, self-approval, and self-love. Read inspiring books, do inner child work, journal, meditate, talk to friends, or go to nature. Do whatever connects you to your soul.
The unfelt and unmet parts of ourselves will forever be woven into the matrix of our perceptions and expressed through our engagement with others until we become intimate with them. Left alone and disowned, they become the fuel for drama and disconnection.
The devotional work of dismantling our obstacles opens us to a vastly wider and deeper human experience with ourselves and others.
When we become this intimate with ourselves, we feel safe in our heartbreak. We learn to allow the potency of our grief, for all that happened and didn’t happen, to enter our embrace. It becomes a source of awakening inspiration.
When we open to feeling, we invite the integration and autonomy that is the foundation for freedom and love.
It’s through the obstacles, through the pain, and through the grief that we make the sacred descent into our embodied aliveness where we trust life, we open, and we love what is.