Hello to the Best People on Earth. I’m so happy you joined me today to talk about intimacy with The Self. For the last three weeks, we’ve been discussing how to nurture intimacy in your relationships. Intimacy is often intimidating because it requires risk, self- disclosure and willingness to feel vulnerable. Humans don’t naturally like these things. Intimacy takes courage.
But what about intimacy with yourself? What if you’re alone in your house. No one is calling. No one is texting. It’s Friday night and loneliness settles over you like a dark fog? Or what if the discord in your family relationships is so thick that even though you’re in a house full of people, you still feel shut out?
Loneliness is a depression trigger. If loneliness starts to settle in to your every day life, depression might be hot on its tail, leaving sad and sleepless nights in its wake. Loneliness speaks. It says things like, “What’s wrong with you? Everyone else has someone but you,” and “Other happy families are going places and doing things together, and “You missed the boat. Your chance at relationship happiness is over.”
Loneliness needs a muzzle, don’t you think? These kind of thoughts are no bueno because they are grossly exaggerated, they lack evidence, and they are just unproductive.
Here are some ways to cultivate intimacy with yourself, thereby muzzling the criticism of loneliness.
- Don’t Abandon Yourself. Just because you are alone, doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. You are not BY YOURSELF, as much as you are WITH YOURSELF. Re-frame the way you see alone-ness. Frame it positively instead of negatively. View your alone time as an opportunity not afforded to all, to meditate, to dig deeper, to think through, to curiously research, to formulate ideas and put them into practice- to mine the gold of your own soul.
- Do What You Want: Alone time gives you the opportunity to explore, experiment, practice and create what you really want to do. Find out what you like and get really good at it. practice it, work at it, master it.
- Take a Risk: the fact is, you need other people, and other people need you. Invest yourself in a group of people who care about you. I believe that the best groups are structured groups. I learned a few years ago, that unless I structured my time to see my friends, I would never see them. I joined the groups they lead, the classes they taught and the teams they were on. Yes, I went to PTA meetings I didn’t want to go to, and I cycled through SPIN class I cursed myself for trying, and I looked idiotic at Zumba- but, heck I was with my friends! Which was the whole point. Take a risk, and find a structured environment that nurtures friendship. Invest your time and heart into these environments and they will pay you back in big ways.
My brother and sister were 10 and 12 years older than me. By the age of 7, I was raised as an only child with two working parents. I spent a lot of time alone and there are still times, though surrounded by loving Mr. Dashing, Sweet and Sassy and the neediest dog on earth, my past gets triggered. My one constant from childhood till now, is my faith in Christ. I often feel God’s presence in the sunset, a favorite poem or the humming bird that visits the porch.
Intimacy with the Self is a life long goal and can be practiced when we feel most alone.