Saturday, January 7, 2012

Emotional Intimacy

I heard a quote the other day:

"How do you know when you are being emotionally intimate with another person? 
When you feel anxious and afraid of how the other person will react to what you are sharing, that is when you are being emotionally intimate."

That kind of blew my mind. It's been rumbling around in my head for several days now.

In my post a few days ago, I talked about how intimacy requires saying what you mean to say. Being honest about anger, pain, love, happiness... I talked about how afraid I was to talk about my anger and my pain. I was afraid of getting hurt. Sometimes, literally PHYSICALLY hurt. I was also afraid of being criticized, demeaned, or humiliated. I was afraid of the things I said being used against me at a later date. I was afraid of so many things, so I kept my anger and pain to myself. I thought for so long that I didn't deserve to be treated with kindness and respect if I wasn't doing everything everyone wanted me to do, and that feeling and belief drove my fear... which kept me from expressing... well... anything.

I like this new idea of what intimacy is... It makes so much sense to me...
Saying, "no", requires more trust (for me) than doing what the other person asks of me.
And thinking about the people that I like having in my life: They accept my boundaries. When I say, "No," they don't push me. They are still kind to me and treat me with respect even when I don't do everything they want me to do. It would be IMPOSSIBLE to have an intimate relationship if it wasn't safe for me to be honest... say no; I don't like that; I don't want that; please don't... Completely impossible to have any level of intimacy if "No" is not an option.

Argh! Even now, I hear voices from other people telling me, "It is selfish."
I hear myself saying, "It's no big deal. I can handle it."
Or the fear of retribution from some... the ones who don't understand what a healthy relationship is... thinking that it is okay to respond with hurtful words or actions if I don't do what they want.

But I go back to what I would want for those that I care about. I would want them to be respected. I wouldn't think it was selfish of them to take care of themselves... in reality... seeing others stand up for themselves and take care of themselves has created many beautiful friendships.  (My FAVORITE moment with BJ, "I'm going to take care of myself. I'm going to do what I want, and if you don't like it, then FUCK YOU!" At the time, I resisted the urge to smile... I didn't want to ruin the moment. It felt AWESOME! Loved seeing that he could and would stand up for himself... even "against" me... That was hard and scary for him to say: Completely goes against HIS need to please everyone... which is probably a big reason we became such good friends. He trusted me, and I responded in a way that showed I knew him and I respected him.)
 I wouldn't want them to force themselves to do things they don't want to do because "It's not big deal."
And I hope that if I ever say or do hurtful things, they would get themselves away from me to a safe place. I don't want to hurt anyone.

Respecting boundaries doesn't mean that they don't share feelings. If I say, "No. I don't want to spend the day with you," then a healthy response (if it's true) would be, "I feel sad and disappointed. I really wanted to spend the day with YOU." I respect their feelings and don't try to change what they are feeling... they respect my feelings and don't try to change what I am feeling... I share what I need to share, and I allow others the freedom to respond in the way that is truest to them. (And as always, if their response is abusive, I can let them know, I can choose not to be around them, or any option... I always have the freedom to get out of a situation that is harmful or toxic to me.)

Still learning. Still exploring. Still thinking.
What are YOUR thoughts on this idea of intimacy??

1 comment:

  1. I like those thoguhts...
    Intimacy is hard. I am not good at it. I find it easier to prented that everything is okay then to be honest about the fact that they are not...