True Intimacy: On Being Brave and Feeling Safe.
Does your partnership allow open vulnerability? Do you both feel safe to get raw and intimate?
Imagine your partner has acted fearful of your emotions, telling you to get over it or stop crying. Imagine your partner acts uncomfortable around your uniqueness, asking you to change into more appropriate clothing, or not to share your newest art creation on social media.
Imagine that when your partner has a bad day, instead of talking with you, he turns to numbing devices such as alcohol, which only continues to fill their personal Pandora’s box.
Now, imagine your partner has validated your feelings, listening with an open heart and mind, even when the feelings you are expressing were triggered by something he did. And, imagine you express these feelings with awareness and responsibility, without projecting blame.
Imagine your partner has shown admiration for the quirky parts of you, the parts you try to camouflage with masks of normality. Imagine he has expressed emotion without reserve, confiding in you.
When my partner talks about his work, there are certain topics that bring out a certain tone in his voice. I feel his aliveness. It makes me want to participate in his creative energy.
In what ways do we encourage intimacy in each other? In what ways do we feel safe?
As a woman, I don’t need someone to carry my stuff, or hold my hand while walking down a dark alley. My partner understands this, as much as he understands that I thrive when I feel safe with him. He gives me honest feedback with my most recent short story or flash fiction. He holds me when I’m sappy, even when I’ve warned that I’m premenstrual and chaotic.
Maybe, because I’m already many decades into grown-up-hood, and have put myself through lots of personal development work, a partnership is only worth it for me if it is excellent. If we’re in a miserable relationship, because it’s easier than going single, isn’t that a sign that we don’t have a strong relationship with ourselves?
I’m no expert, but maybe we need to give ourselves the space to feel safe in being honest with ourselves before we can allow a partner to witness our authenticity. Maybe, nurturing integrity with ourselves enhances our ability to discern which person will naturally act in ways that make us feel safe to be raw and intimate with them.
What is possible when we support each other, honestly, not in the stroking-ego way, but in the encouraging-our-authentic-creativity way?
Knowing the expanse triggered in my intimate relationship, and the safe haven in a bedroom without judgment, frees me to try something that would normally be too challenging, or too exposing, or too weird. I know that if I fall, my partner will catch me long before I hit rock bottom.
Let’s challenge ourselves. Let’s be brave. Let’s share and witness, unconditionally. Trust me, when you’re sharing with your partner without restraint, it’s absolutely worth all the scary to get there.
Christy Kirsch lives in California, and doesn’t mind if you judge her. When she’s cranky, time in the garden with her strawberries, chocolate mint and poblano chilies usually sets her straight, so does a swim in the Pacific Ocean.