Intimacy. When the word intimacy is used, you often associate it to another person. It’s you being intimate towards someone else, with the other person as the only benefiter. This is a crime you commit against yourself. You wait for intimacy from others, and expect that others need it from you. You would also associate intimacy with a psychical or mental action. However, it is quite the contrary. Mommies, in all aspects of yours & your families lives, it all starts with you. Welcome to a new approach in life.
You need to remember this; intimacy is feeling free to be who you are with yourself first and then with others in your life. The only way to be intimate with others is through sharing. Sharing is a way to create, honor, and expand intimacy in your life. Two terms that seem very simple on paper, and rarely practiced in your daily life. So what does it all mean? As a woman being demanded so much of, how can this reflect onto my life?
Intimacy is communicated, not acted out. Let’s take something very simple. Ask yourself this, how many times have you asked and been asked “how are you” and the answer was “fine”, “okay”, “great… or something along those lines? About 99% of the time this question is asked, these are the responses you get, and the responses we give. Responses that mean nothing as nothing was shared. Now visualize the following scenario, what if you asked “how are you?” and you answer by saying “I feel overwhelmed and a little insecure today.” Yes, most people will probably be taken by surprise. Not the typical answer we generally expect out of a “how are you?” right? Why? Because the answer is intimate, as something was actually shared between two people. Something vulnerable. A true and honest answer. Something we as women & especially as moms are afraid of. What will others think of me as a woman? What if they think i'm being a bad mom?
Remember we said you were the benefiter, so where do you benefit? You come to know yourself better when you allow yourself to be known and seen by others. When you share how you really feel, you are more aware of the state you are in. Many times you aren’t in the best of moods and don’t know why you’re feeling that way. This is mainly why. You aren’t used to being aware of the exact feeling you are experiencing. We are so used to the platonic answers, guilt tripping ourselves into thinking we shouldn't be feeling this or that. When actually, wording your feelings will do wonders in solving the issue you are currently having. Again, you own up to that feeling. "I am devastated, I feel outraged." Your own feelings aren’t expressed with “He/she outraged my emotions.” You realize that your own emotions are your own responsibility, not anyone else’s.
This way, your communication with others will transform dramatically when truth and honesty is being shared. This has a ripple effect, is it will eventually change people’s attitude towards you by allowing them the space to also share their true feelings through their communication with you. People like feeling like they are 'normal' and that others share the same ideas & feelings. Only then will they start to open up, when they feel you and them share the same 'norm'.
However, as you would like for others to truly listen, you need to listen to them too. Listening is not providing feedback, solving problems, or expressing your own point of view on their personal matter. Contrary to popular belief, listening is just that, to listen with no talking required. By truly listening you have respected the honest response that person has shared, opening a channel for better relationships with others. Be curious about other’s actions and experiences, allowing you to truly listen to others. Curiosity is very health in communication. Curiosity for the sake of learning about others, not talking about them! Be very careful with this.
Its very important to be aware that you have changed, not them. Do not assume that just because you have started sharing and listening, that the person opposite you will automatically be conditioned to do the same. Even if they never start sharing, that’s not your goal. Again, you are doing this for you; for your own sense of awareness and clarity. Expectations are toxic, don’t go there ladies. Once you start doing things for you, others response to them won’t matter. Your changes may allow others to slowly open up and be less afraid to be honest and open about their feelings. That would be great, put its their own path in life, not yours. When others push your buttons, by not responding back to your openness, this helps you practice compassion towards them. As they are unable of vulnerability towards others.
Compassion is sorrow for another person’s plight or predicament, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the pain and remove the cause. Some people don’t respond well to the truth and won’t be willing to open up about their own feelings. They either give a straight face or get agitated when they feel the need to share as you have. This is not something that should be taken personally, quite the opposite, compassion on your side is needed. When you are in a non-compassionate state, you enforce negativity in others. They take it personally as nothing personal was intended towards you. They subconsciously put a shield up to avoid something from the past that doesn’t allow them to be open and honest with you. They view your openness as an attack towards their incapability; viewing themselves as a powerless victim. Compassion is a way of being inline with your spiritual self when something “bad” is happening. A simple means of accessing your compassion is to remember that behind the person’s objectionable behavior is a little child who was trained to be this way out of a need to survive the neglect and loneliness of his or her childhood. Don’t neglect their feelings or take it personally, that will only make things worse and enforce negativity.
Next time someone asks “how are you?” use truth & honesty and find the appropriate adjective to address your truth feelings. Open up, be curious, listen, be compassionate and intimacy will emerge. Welcome the true essence of intimacy in your life and enforce it in others. Teach your kids this method of communication which is bound to strengthen your family.
May motherhood be the vessel to drive our families forward.