Intimacy is learned at birth.
The first eight to ten months of an infant’s life is the critical building block of time in his or her ability to trust, which confirms their self-esteem.
The “good enough” mother will hold her infant to her warmth constantly and be able to anticipate the needs of her child.
That need and appropriate expectation signals to the newborn: “Someone knows what I want and gives it to me the second I need it. I feel safe.”
Intimacy is one of those words that most people associate with sex. For me, it’s about being real, visible in that nanosecond, and totally exposed for how I feel in that moment.
It is a bond between you and another person — whether it’s spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, or sexual. Having nothing to do with boundaries, it’s where merging takes place — at that moment.
This is scary territory for people who would rather hide.
The last thing they want is to be vulnerable.
Hiding is safe, disguises bring comfort, and shrouds throw off the enemy.
Here’s a reality check:
You cannot be truly intimate with someone else unless you are intimate with yourself first.
You can have the illusion of closeness, but inside, you know the real scoop.
In many situations, you are there 90%, and the other 10% you keep in a safe place until you are ready to take that huge leap.
You are holding on to what you think is some tiny shred of dignity and protection. Fear keeps you in check.
Sometimes intimacy is about feeling vulnerable and asking for what you need or want without trying to control the future. Intimacy with yourself is being totally honest and accountable to yourself… and liking yourself.
Lack of intimacy is more common than not; it’s easier to turn one’s eyes away than stand steadfast and be clear with another person in the same split second.
It’s as if you are in a tunnel. The vehicle that will take you to the light is called trusting yourself.
And the way to gain trust is to respect yourself, which automatically sets boundaries for the rest of the outside world.
Once you start treating yourself with respect, you get to give yourself permission about what and whom you want close to your soul, and with whom you want to share your inner light.
And as you let those certain people or events in, your heart expands, and joy becomes the order of the day.
Margo was adopted, and her parents had two children after her. Her parents were very rigid, structured, and terrified of life.
Anything natural or holistic made her parents uncomfortable.
They were not affectionate with each other, nor with the children. Any physical contact made them pull away.
Physical contact is a primal need. Robbing a child of that tactile experience creates strong signals of not being wanted.
It can lead a child to believe that “Something is wrong with me.” Physical closeness, skin to skin, is organic and feels good to both parties if they allow it to be so.
Children are sensitive and perceptive so they can sense tightness in their parents, siblings, and anyone around them. This is one major benefit of pets in the home; they are safe to be around.
As Margo got older, that lack of physical intimacy became an issue. She had boyfriends very early, and sex before she was 16 years old.
She was starved for affection.
Her need for confirmation of her feelings was derailed very early, so her life was split between overworking and compulsive running.
When she was in her 20s, she became a workaholic and a marathon runner. Literally and symbolically, she was running from the pain, numbing herself by working long hours, and running endlessly.
On the surface, she appeared intact financially. She made a good living and lived in a lovely home. She dated infrequently because she was so busy, or so she said.
But the truth was that she felt out of control with other people, and more in control when she was alone. She expressed her angst by feeling that she never earned enough money, so she kept working harder and harder as if she would someday feel content.
The money had become her lover.
But she was terrified of losing what assets she had. She could not sleep without a pill, could not relax without wine, and could not ever be truly still.
One day, she was in a car accident and broke her collarbone, leg, and arm.
She was housebound for six months.
Ironically, this was a true gift from the universe. She was forced to be still.
This is when we started our work together and she set out on the path of seeking answers to her questions that she’d never given herself permission to ask.
She read books that had sat on her shelves, never opened, asked spiritual questions from people she barely knew, and started to let others in.
She experienced herself from another perspective and saw that she was able to not only survive sharing her long-hidden shame about not feeling wanted, but her life began to feel slightly lighter, easier, and less frightening.
As she let go and came to understand where her fear of intimacy had come from and how to manage it, she started to shift and heal.
She was beginning to comprehend that she had to first be intimate with herself before being able to truly connect with another person.
Knowing herself on an intimate level established trust from within and grounded her.
From that center, respect emanated. How she felt about money, and then how she handled it, shifted so that she no longer felt afraid of losing her assets.
She is now enjoying the benefits of financial security, finally, and of having new friends who value her and see her for who she is.
Intimacy is learned at birth.