Most people see intimacy as something sexual. But is it really? Today, proposing that it is not. Intimacy is way more than something sexual. It plays a big part in the physical bond between people, but it is way more than that.
A speaker once said that intimacy is seeing into someone. This meaning resonates on so many levels. Seeing into someone and appreciating that vulnerability while allowing someone else to see into ourselves, that is far greater than romance. Albeit, romance does need a level of intimacy to be all it can be.
A Perspective on Intimacy
In an ever connected digital world where we manufacture the facades we show, people are starting to starve of real human connection. We are not feeding our souls on all the levels we once were able to. We have greater access but we don’t always maximize these opportunities.
The greatest plus for being digitally connected is that we can reach people too far away to reach otherwise. We make friends and we share stories on levels we couldn’t before. Yet, often times, we rob ourselves of deep connections with the people closest to us.
Some families only speak via their text messages on their phone, even at the dinner table. Other families have no clue what is going on with each other outside the shared Google Calendar on their phones.
Sure, there are digital advantages, but we forget that most digital interactions are one or two dimensional. No amount of graphic symbols (emoticons) can really transfer a rich connection with someone else.
There is a reason why video is starting to take off. It brings a more complete two dimensional picture of the person to us. Sometimes, feels three dimensional. However, only face to face can give the full four dimensions we crave.
In person, there is the spoken exchange. There is the facial expression. There is the body language. And there is the vibe we get. Some folks feel warm. Others feel distant. Some feel safe while others weird. That “vibe” is meaningful coloration to the connection that is often lost over digital.
This is never more critical when in a group setting. Some folks say that the right combination of friends make them feel a certain way or alive. Another group of people make a person feel drained. Even if there is minimal interactions. That’s all part of this elusive “vibe” that makes the connection four dimensional.
How is intimacy not… you know… intimate
We don’t like using the word intimacy outside the context of romance for a wide variety of reasons. However, it applies to so many other connections people make.
When a friend is crying because they lost a loved one, giving them a hug to console them and grieve with them is a very intimate connection. They feel you. They get support from you coming from a deep place in your soul/heart. That support can often deepen the friendship. But that lack of connection in their time of need can significantly weaken a friendship as well.
When people “see” another “soul” they are seeing a person for who they are. It is not always comfortable, especially if one has not been warmed up for it.
Intimacy takes time. There are steps to take. Getting to know a person, getting to understand a person, getting to trust a person… is an investment in the connection aka relationship. All human interactions are relationships. Some are super brief… like a quick hello. Others are very intimate like two people talking about their lives over coffee every day for the course of a lifetime.
None of these examples require any romance to have and cherish. Yet, all of them have a degree of intimacy. Let’s break them down for a quick second.
A person can say hello and it will feel hollow.. It may feel off-putting. It may feel indifferent. That is a hello lacking intimacy.
A person can say hello and it will feel like it changed the whole perspective of the day. It feels like it brightened everything. A connection was made. Something genuine was exchanged in a brief second. That is an intimate moment. They showed their soul with a genuine heartfelt welcoming hello… without being over the top in production either.
Same goes for the two people who share the event of drinking coffee every morning at the same time and place. It could just be two bodies sharing the same space and that’s it, as is the case for many who go buy coffee at the same place and time. Or, they can share more of themselves over time and develop extensive deep friendship over the course of time. One is not intimate, the other is.
Inside of romance
Of course, most of us understand that romance and intimacy should walk hand in hand. But, doesn’t always. When it doesn’t, that’s where heartache happens the easiest. Granted, when it does and things go wrong, the pain is all the more intense.
However, many today want to get the benefits of intimacy in romance without putting the work to have both. They do the acts of intimacy to get to the benefits of romance to satisfy selfish needs. Those people rob everyone of intimacy and romance.
In the words of a sage older woman I once knew… “romance is the key to foster intimacy… but intimacy is the vehicle by which romance is renewed”.
Too many people get comfortable with someone and shift their attention away from romance. They turn their relationship onto auto-pilot without telling their partner this… and assume the partner will fly the relationship in the desired direction through osmosis.
When comfortable, that’s when we have to be more active in sharing ourselves as we continue to grow as individuals. It is easy to assume we know because we feel comfortable.
In the words of a sage old man I once knew… “when comfortable, one has to change the settings, to give romance a chance to be fresh. That is the key to intimacy that lasts”. The willingness to try new romantic things, do new things, go to new places, and explore new challenges all are means by which we uncover new parts of ourselves to share with our partners.
Romance that is constantly refreshed always feels new. Maybe not brand spanking new, but new. The kind of knew that allows us to appreciate and see something different about our partners. This is how intimacy is nourished. We experience our romance from a new fresh perspective every time we do something new as a couple.
This applies to friendships, mentorships, families, and acquaintances
The more we’re able to show our souls to our partner, and they do the same, the more romantic and intimate the feeling is between the two. Sure, love is awesome. Love is great. But love (as a verb) can only do so much. The currency by which love feels so amazing is the merger of intimacy with romance that is experienced when we let someone into our heart and they do the same for us.
We all walk around, as social beings, willing and able to connect with people. The ones we feel the best connections with are the ones who let us see their humanity and find out it resonates with ours. Not everyone will want to connect with anyone. However, to get to the level of amazing connections, we’ve got to be willing to take the risk to see someone for who they are. We’ve got to take the risk to let people see how we are.
Should both souls vibrate at the same energy level, then, the connection feels amazing… ie intimate. This is never more important than when we say we love someone and want to feel connected to them.
Sure, both parties have to be open and connected, but sometimes, just sometimes, we have to take the first step to show them how amazing it is to connect on the soul level.
Too many folks wait for someone else to show them it’s safe, it’s cool, it’s secure. This is where we can take the lead to show our lovers, friends, family that it’s OK to connect with us. We are safe. We are trustworthy. And when they see this, they may decide the like the feeling of security, warmth, and acceptance. They may learn from us to be the same with us and presto… intimacy working fabulously.
That’s the beauty of romance. The beauty of showing the other just how amazing it is to be open, transparent, comfortable with us. It is worth their time to invest in us to share this and bloom along with us.
That’s the perspective on intimacy that romance is intertwined in coloring how love feels when two people are intimately seeing each other’s souls.
Next time you’re with someone you say you care for (like a friend, family, or romantic partner/interest)… let them see a bit more of the real you. Nothing too woo-woo. Just be more yourself. You may just get the benefit of seeing more of who they are and grow your bond stronger.
May your perspective on intimacy continue to bring you more fulfilling intimate connections with those you care for.