-- Communicate. Talk about what you want, feel, think, and dream. Practice honesty with kindness and compassion. Express gratitude and appreciation for your other. Acknowledge their talents and offer support with an open mind and heart. Ask questions that deepen your understanding. And create opportunities for such conversations.
— Explore Intimacy. Intimacy (“into me see”) is a shared closeness, a feeling of connection and support. It requires a willingness to let another know who you are, how you think and feel, and it can be a little scary if there are parts of self that we don’t even want to see. Carl Jung used the term “shadow" to describe the parts of our mind that we prefer to be in the dark, and these are the parts that tend to cause problems in our relationships. “Relationships are the ways in which we try to resolve our own internal issues” is how my therapist stated it, and it is helpful to travel those ways with honesty, openness, humor and compassion. Swallowed anger, hidden feelings, secrets, addictions and lies erode feelings of closeness and evoke mistrust and anxiety. Intimacy is a risk; it requires trust. Willingness to know yourself and allowing trust in your abilities and your partner’s gives you a strong base.
-- Listen for understanding, asking questions to clarify rather than making assumptions. The process of intimacy is one of ongoing discovery and it is when we think we already know what someone is thinking that we miss the opportunity to learn more about them and grow closer. Simple responses like “Tell me more” or “What did you mean by that?” can deepen our understanding and connection while opening new channels for improved communication. Avoid judgement; it does not improve the quality of relationships.
-- Take responsibility for self and pay attention to your choices. Regardless of the situation, your point of power is how you respond to it. Let your response be a conscious choice rather than an unconscious reaction. If you find yourself blaming or judging or building resentment, ask yourself “What is my part in this?” and look to how you can change your thoughts or actions in order to better the situation. Choose to forgive mistakes; resentment is a heavy burden.
-- Ask for help if you need it. If you hit a wall, you have choices. Some people choose to run away and likely recreate the same scenario somewhere else while others choose to stay and suffer in martyrdom. You might choose to ask for help, support and direction if you find yourself unable to see a clear path. Know that it's ok to admit you don’t always have the answers.