If we are unable to tolerate, even love, and appreciate those parts of ourselves that we don’t consider so lovely, how can we hold that space for other humans? That lack of tolerance will show up as judgment even if we don’t utter a word. Judgment will make its presence known one way or another, and it’s a non-starter when it comes to creating intimacy.
2. Create safety
Psychological and emotional safety is the ground on which you build intimacy. It’s the air that participants breathe at all times. It’s the flavor on the tongue, and perfume that infuses the atmosphere. All the time, in every moment – no exceptions. It’s a verbal agreement that needs to be made in the beginnin and revisited consistently. The vow to never use anything done or said in the container of intimacy against the other once in “the real world” is a sacred vow.
I know it to be true, that most of us can bounce back from heartbreak and most forms of betrayal, but to betray someone in this manner, is often a dealbreaker and shatters the whole container of intimacy in one fell swoop. This is the step that requires us to be our most conscious and mindful selves. Intimacy is not just a state of being that feels good – it’s a gift given in love and from the heart – and it’s a responsibility. Take it on only if you’re ready to cherish this gift.
3. Be (mindfully) vulnerable
Yep, I said it, and there’s no way around it -, and guess what? You have to go first! The game of waiting for the other to “show their hand” before you share something truly meaningful and vulnerable, is not building intimacy. It’s a chess game, and it’s the absolute opposite of what we’re discussing here. But for most of us, we’ve lived in the states of protection and defense for so long, that we don’t even know what vulnerability looks and feels like.
That’s a longer conversation, but for now, I’ll leave you with a quote from Brene Brown that puts it so very elegantly, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable but they’re never weakness.”
4. Nurture connection
Phew! Happy to share that if you’ve made it through steps 1-3, it does get easier. Connection can be operationalized, and we can break it down into action steps. This is easier for most of us than the internal work of cultivating acceptance and vulnerability.
A connection can mean different things to different folks. Just ask and then make agreements. Don’t assume that if you feel connected talking to your partner on the weekends when you’re relaxed, that he feels the same way. Perhaps, he wants a daily text or call in order to feel connected.
In my Coaching work, I only accept clients for a minimum of 6 months because I know from experience, that’s how long it takes to create the deep and sustainable relationship that will have them feeling supported, even when I’m not consistently in their lives. Cultivating connection is an ongoing conversation, and perhaps the most impactful practice in any relationship that matters to us.
It is not easy to build intimacy, but it’s far more within our power to create than most of us realize. And it’s always, always, always worth it!
Written by: Carolyn Mahboubi If you are curious to learn more about Life Coaching, then click here Originally appeared on: Carolynmahboubi.com Republished with permission.