"Intimacy begins with oneself. It does no good to try to find intimacy with friends, lovers, and family if you are starting out from alienation and division within yourself." -Thomas Moore
Do you try to create intimacy with your partner without first checking inside to see if you are connected with yourself? Do you believe that if you found someone to love you and connect with you, then you would feel happy and fulfilled? Are you looking for someone else to complete you?
One of the major reasons that many relationships don't work is because partners are alienated and divided within themselves, which comes from abandoning yourself rather than loving yourself. My work is all about helping people learn how to love themselves so that they can share their love with others and experience the intimacy and connection that we all need and desire.
"Intimacy begins with oneself." What does it mean to be intimate with yourself? Intimacy with others is about feeling emotionally close and connected with them. It is about connecting from your heart rather than from your head. You can connect intellectually with others from your mind, but emotional intimacy is about a heart connection. The same thing is true about inner intimacy . You cannot be intimate with yourself when you are focused on your mind rather than on your heart. Inner connection and the resulting inner intimacy occurs when you open your heart with kindness, compassion and a desire to learn about what your feelings are telling you.
Years ago I used to wonder why I could not maintain intimacy with others. I had no idea as to how I was abandoning myself. I didn't understand that my main intention was to avoid my feelings and avoid responsibility for them, and to have control over how others felt about me. I didn't realize how much I was letting myself judge myself and how awful that made me feel. I didn't realize that turning to my various addictions — food, anger, judgmental-ness, caretaking or withdrawal — made me feel anxious and alone inside. I thought these painful feelings were being caused by others' unloving-ness towards me.
It wasn't until I started to practice inner bonding that I understood what I had been doing my whole life up until then. As I diligently practiced the Six Steps of Inner Bonding, I gradually learned to stay present in my body, mindful of my feelings, and to want to take responsibility for my feelings rather than avoid them. I gradually learned how to manage the deeper painful feelings of life that I had been avoiding — the loneliness, heartbreak and helplessness over others that plagued my childhood, and that I had learned to avoid with my self-abandonment.
Starting from my atheist background, I gradually learned to connect with and trust my personal spiritual Guidance. I started to see my true self through the eyes of my spiritual guidance, which enabled me to love and value who I really am. I gradually become connected and intimate with myself. As this occurred, I found that I was able to deeply connect with others. What a joy! I can't think of anything more rewarding and profound in life than the emotional intimacy and connection that occurs with others when I’m connected with myself. Sharing love with others is truly the greatest joy in my life, and it can occur only when I'm deeply connected with myself.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her new 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" – the first two weeks are free! ! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.
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This article was originally published at Inner Bonding
. Reprinted with permission from the author.