In her book, Take Time for Your Life, Cheryl Richardson talks about mastering the art of connection. She is talking about having intimate relationships with others in our lives. Intimate relationships are relationships that are real where each person knows the other in a true way. The desire for intimate relationships resonates deeply within me. In my book, Finding the Peace, I talk about this desire for connecting.
Connecting with others seemed to be my mission in life. To me, the most important part of relationships has always been the process of sharing souls: listening to another human being and, in turn, being heard by that person, with acceptance, not judgment. There were few people I could connect with in this way, but in any relationship that mattered to me I was always pushing for this sharing. I wanted people in my life to whom I could show my authentic self, people who would understand, love, and embrace me.
Richardson calls relationships that have intimate connections “soulful connections”. Building intimacy, soulful connections, in your relationships can be very fulfilling and worth the effort. But, it requires you being willing to go deeper in relationship with another. This means you being willing to share your inner most thoughts. It requires you being honest about your vulnerabilities, fears, what is happening in your life, and how you are “really feeling”. Yes, it is true that this kind of sharing takes courage as you risk being exploited, abandoned, rejected or disappointed. But unless you are willing to risk it you never arrive at the soulful connection that satisfies you to the center of your being.
For a true connection like this to happen, both people have to be willing to be honest and share. If you struggle with disclosing your own feelings to someone you consider yourself close to, then you are blocking the opportunity to a deep intimacy.
In order to learn how to do intimacy with others, Richardson recommends the following steps.
· Take time to appreciate the other person.
· Take time to “touch” someone with unique acts that are personal to that person.
· Take time for the basics of having eye contact, being polite, saying thank you and being on time.
Reaching out and being willing to share parts of your soul with another person is what sets up the opportunity for true intimacy. What the other person chooses to do with your soul sharing is their choice. But someone needs to step forward and start the process. The risk is that you may get hurt. The other side of the coin is that you set up the opportunity of finding a soulful connection like you have not known before, and that outweighs the risk of getting hurt. This week spend time really working at intimate connections. Push your own boundaries in this area and show a bit more of yourself to someone you would like to know better.
Tags: connecting with others, how to connect with others
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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