On Intimacy : our most important work

Until we can be truly intimate with the depths of ourselves I do not believe true intimacy with others is really a possibility.  Instead our drive towards togetherness or connection is always fraught with lack and most especially with the hunger for love, approval or acceptance that was not available to us in childhood from those others who were not capable of true emotional intimacy themselves.  As a result of this emotional dissociation and disconnection,  we become people who hunger and fear, seeking always that source of love and connection outside of ourselves that will make up for what was missed and exists now as a deep emptiness inside.  All our most important work lies in understanding the depth of that emptiness or wound so that we can answer with love and with coming into relationship with our emotional reality which has so much to teach us about inner intimacy and connection. Only when we develop this capacity within can we extend it outward.

Until we can know what our wounds were and feel and grieve them, until we can recognise our fear, shame and struggle as burdens from a difficult past and show love for ourselves and others in the midst of them we are not capable of a truly deep intimacy and love.

I have heard the term intimacy broken down to read as follows : Into me I see.  We need this depth of clear seeing to get in touch with our wounds and our longings and to find ways in which we can reach out to speak about and share them with others, not in a way that demands connection and love but in a way that removes the blocks that we carry as well as the defences against such love.  In opening up our hearts and minds with each other in this way we find connection, but also hopefully the support to reach further down and heal within through love what was hurt, exiled, damaged, lost or hungering before.

I am so grateful that in my own therapy I found a loving source of connection with a person who in having intimacy with herself and all human traits has been able to receive me and help me with mine.  She has  stood strongly by while I have struggled with a strong inner critic who is really full of fear and shame burdens passed down to me in my family.

However there are still times when I find myself alone and besieged by negativity and these are the times I have had to reach even deeper for a truly loving relationship with myself.  The critic often beats me up for all I haven’t achieved in the world but today I read these words and they made me realise that for the past 10 years I have been engaged with the deepest emotional recovery and discovery work on myself, that of learning to love and care for me.  I don’t see such work as selfish but as essential, for when I don’t care for and love myself I haven’t anything to give others and what I give is followed by resentment or sense of being emptied out or depleted.

So for all of you out there who may also struggle or beat yourself up with inner voices of ‘not good enoughness’ or other critical thoughts because you struggle with what society has labelled a mental illness when you are valiantly working so very hard to heal and find love within, I hope these words bring you some comfort and open up a light of truth which reminds you that learning to love yourself and extend that love outwards towards others are some of the most important things we can do to bring light to ourselves and the planet.  And that its okay also to struggle with the darkness because we all have it somewhere.

I sometimes worry that I’m not doing something more important with my life.  Caught up in day to day trivialities, it doesn’t seem I accomplish much.  Yet I forget that through all my daily routine, I am engaged in recovery.

As I grow in love, I worry less about doing something important.  Instead I stretch my abilities as far as they can take me.  My action now is a spontaneous expression of a loving heart.  I have done more in the past years as the result of undertaking emotional recovery than in the previous years without it.  To me there is nothing more important I can do with my life than becoming more loving.

Hope for Today

March 5

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