When it comes to friendships and relationships, it’s pretty safe to say all of us would love for them to be smooth sailing. Not many people enjoy conflict and the negative emotions and distance that come with it. How many of us can relate to getting completely stressed out when we are at odds with our friend or partner? No, it’s certainly not fun.
In recovery, the quality of our relationships matter. If our relationships are strained, it certainly adds undue stress upon us, which can be a trigger for sure. But how exactly do you cultivate amazing and deep bonds with others? My answer: intimate vulnerability.
First, let’s define intimacy. Essentially, intimacy is a deep feeling of closeness with another person. This closeness can be with a friend, family member, or partner. Vulnerability is the ability to let down your guard and be open and honest with another person. It’s taking your mask off or being real.
Put these two together and you get something very, very powerful when it comes to connecting with others. Intimate vulnerability is allowing yourself to be yourself—flaws and all—and cultivating a deep bond with another person. It’s sitting down and having a real heart-to-heart while making eye contact, opening up, and feeling safe to share.
It’s not easy to find those willing to cultivate such authenticity, with one reason being that so many people have been hurt by others. Maybe they were vulnerable and intimate and ended up getting hurt, so they put a wall up around their hearts. Maybe this has happened time and time again, which can make for a lonely life even if surrounded by people.
How Can Intimate Vulnerability Help You?
When it comes to your level of peace and happiness, the ability for you to open up and cultivate meaningful, deep relationships with others will help you feel better emotionally. We all desire human connection—authentic, deep ones at that. The number of lonely people out there is astounding and one reason is because people are not focused on cultivating such intimate relationships. Maybe they’re scared or just don’t know how to go about it.
Think about your relationships with others right now. Do you feel deeply connected to several people? Is there someone you can really sit down with, make eye contact, and share your most intimate and real feelings? Someone you can feel super safe with, knowing they will love you unconditionally? If not, maybe it’s time you started seeking such—either with people you already know or by meeting new people.
Not everyone will be receptive, so don’t take it personally if someone only wants to form a superficial relationship. Start paying attention to who in your life comes to you as themselves—with no mask on. Those are the people you may feel safest with to cultivate such a relationship. If you and your significant other have tried to cultivate an intimate relationship and have hit a plateau, consider attending couples counseling, as there are levels of intimacy you can reach that will certainly enhance your relationship.
You deserve to have authentic, deep, intimate relationships. We all do. Keep in mind that you will have to commit to being vulnerable at times, sharing what is deep in your heart. It might seem odd at first, but with the right person, it will become a natural and wonderful experience.