Before I begin, I want to mention how this newsletter is structured, because I’ve discovered some confusion with some of my readers. The newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1, but most often is not referenced in part 1 (it offers a different point of view); the third is a quote. I hope this eliminates the confusion, and that you enjoy all three parts.
I want to begin and end today with two quotes from Martha Beck on intimacy. The first is:
Remember, intimacy increases with honesty. Share less to keep people away and more to draw them closer.
It may seem obvious – at least the first part – but so often we end up not saying what’s on our minds. To protect our friend; to protect ourselves; to protect our family. At least, that’s what I say to myself when I hide some part of the truth. But really, it’s more complicated than that – and much more simple. It’s complicated because, while I may be protecting someone, I’m also afraid – of ridicule, of making someone upset, of getting hurt. And that’s the deep-down simple truth of it – because deep down, I’m afraid of getting hurt.
So I hide away, protecting my fragile ego behind politeness, authority, absent-mindedness, distraction – anything that will prevent a possible confrontation. And a possible painful moment. I’m not always like this. For me, it’s when I expect to be ignored or talked down to. For you, it might be a different reason, like feeling rejected, or abandoned, or even manipulated or controlled. Whatever the reason, most of us avoid being honest at times with people in our lives who don’t deserve it.
It takes courage to be ourselves all the time, and there is a huge payoff: true intimacy.
Here are three things you can do the next time you’re temped to hide behind a front rather than be honest with a loved one:
- Take a breath and notice how you feel. There’s always a feeling that accompanies our desire to hide. Mine is a tightness in my chest just below my Adam’s Apple. It tells me that I’m afraid, and I have an urgent desire to protect myself. This is what my fear feels like and I’ve learned to recognize it.
- Take another breath and take charge. That part of us that is in fear is very young and, just as with any child, needs reassurance from a responsible adult that they are safe because the adult is with them. We need our conscious selves – our inner adult – to take charge, knowing that – with rare exceptions – there is nothing actually life-threatening out there. And the only way that can happen with any success is if our inner child feels safe and in good hands.
- Take a third breath and act. Once our inner child and adult are in sync, we are able to act from a calm, considerate and mature place; from a place of intimacy and empowerment.
Quote of the Week
Conflict in close relationships is not only inevitable, it’s essential. Intimacy connects people who are inevitably different. -Martha Beck
At times we need more – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages. For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org