I recently fell head over heels in love.
I’m not going to dish and gush just yet, but he’s pretty rad.
Early on, he asked me what intimacy is to me. He was pretty impressed with my answer and I felt all smug and self-congratulatory about it, so I thought I’d share it with you.
Intimacy is the sharing, giving and receiving of vulnerability in the moment as it is arising in relationship with the other.
It’s a different experience, sharing about something you’ve felt vulnerable about in the past versus giving voice to what feels vulnerable in the moment. When we can open to what’s happening and share what’s happening, particularly when there’s a sense of risk with what we’re opening to and sharing, we’re being vulnerable.
When another can really receive, meet us and hold our vulnerability, that’s intimacy.
We can be intimate with anyone, in any circumstance and to varying degrees, be it a lover, family member, friend, colleague, client, stranger on the street.
A few years ago at a conference we were to tell a perfect stranger what we most wanted to experience, my answer was intimacy. As far as I’m concerned, our capacity to open to one another vulnerably, to take risks and be willing to meet each other in that place, dramatically impacts our quality of relationship and thus, our quality of life.
We live in a time where what we put out there with one another gets a moment of rehearsal, whether it’s text messages, snapping 15 shots before one makes it to Instagram or a carefully constructed, apparently spontaneous status update.
Where I’ve found the greatest source of fulfillment is not in finding the places where I can present myself with greater control or perfection, but rather, leaning into the places with others that make me feel exposed or shaky, out on a limb, heart open and hand reaching, waiting to be grasped and pulled in.
To me, this is intimacy.