Intimacy in Relationships

Have you lost hope?

They say opposites attract. I don't have statistics on this, yet many years of counselling people on relationship issues have proven this to me. The very opposing characteristics that fascinate one initially, tends to be what frustrates them as the 'honeymoon phase' of the relationship ends and the real relating begins. This is where the problems start.

The major reason people seek out counselling, buy books or enrol in personal development programs is to relieve pain from past unresolved relationships, mend problems in their current relationships and create more intimacy. What those seekers discover is that most people have intimacy confused with intensity.

Intimacy is like taking a cruise on the Caribbean and intensity is like racing in the America's Cup. Now before you categorize the cruise as boring, for the 'old folks' and The Cup for young adventurers, I suggest you bear in mind longevity. We all like a blast of excitement, but to live running on adrenalin wears us out and makes us old before our time.

From entertainment to advertisements, we are inundated with messages about sex and romance. After all, isn't that the basis of intimacy? Fortunately, intimate connections cover more breadth and depth than just sex and romance. Consider:

  • Emotional Intimacy …the food that sustains us and makes life yummy!
  • Intellectual Intimacy…exchanging stimulating information, ideas and possibilities.
  • Physical Intimacy… nurturing touch, hugs or someone to do something with.
  • Spiritual Intimacy…the joy of a great connection and the fulfilment it brings.

The 'connection' is what most are after. Problem is, you can't have the connection with another until you have it with yourself first. If you want that connection, you have to be willing to share the most vulnerable and intimate parts of you - your personal, internal world - with a significant other. Meaning your thoughts, feelings, wants, desires and what you value. To do this confidently, without the fear of rejection, is easier said than done.

Intensity in relationships is an addictive substitute for intimacy caused by unresolved childhood wounds such as neglect, abandonment, abuse, engulfment, extreme control and unmet childhood needs. Many are caught in an addictive cycle (a swirling dance) that is an intense replacement for true intimacy and real relating. This intensity distracts partners from discovering the real issue… acknowledging and dealing with the emptiness and loneliness in their relationship.

Maybe you've lost hope for success in your relationships and don't know how to find it?

Hope is a spiritual quality, the expectation of good in the future. Hope is the call of humanity. Human beings look and pray for hope every day. Think of it, we hope for a 'better way' in the afterlife; to make good investments; to win the lotto; a healthy diagnosis from our doctor; to find our soul mate; to raise healthy children; or we visit the local clairvoyant in search of hope for a better future.

Are you looking for hope? Well look no more.

Whether they know the story or not, most people when asked what they know about Pandora's Box will respond "It's a can of worms - don't open it!"

As the story goes,

Pandora was the first woman to be on earth. The God's created her, a stunning beauty, with the gifts of intuition, curiosity, a playful spirit and…a bit of deception! She was sent down to earth to punish man because the God's were angry about the way man was carrying on. Before she was sent, a final gift was given. A beautiful box with a gold cord tightly holding the lid closed. Pandora was given strict orders not to open the box or even lift the lid.

Once on earth, Pandora heard voices calling to her from inside the box. Call it curiosity or intuition, eventually it got the best of her and she untied the cord and lifted the lid.

The God's had malignantly crammed into this box all the diseases, sorrows, vices, crimes and misfortunes that afflict humanity. The box was no sooner opened, than all these dark ills flew out, in the guise of horrid little brown-winged creatures, closely resembling moths. These creatures started stinging Pandora and her husband most unmercifully. They then flew out through the open door and windows, and fastened upon the merrymakers without, whose shouts of joy were soon changed into wails of pain and anguish.

Pandora and her husband had never before experienced the faintest sensation of pain or anger, but as soon as these winged evil spirits had stung them, they began to weep, and quarrel for the first time in their lives!

In the midst of their quarrel, they suddenly heard a sweet little voice plead for freedom. The sound proceeded from the unfortunate box, whose cover Pandora had dropped again, in the first moment of her surprise and pain. "Open, open, and I will heal your wounds! Please let me out! " the voice pleaded.

Pandora opened the box a second time and discovered that the gods, with a sudden impulse of compassion, had concealed among the dark, evil spirits one kindly, light creature - HOPE - which was at the bottom of the box! Hope touched the wounded places on Pandora and her husband, relieving their suffering. Then Hope quickly flew out of the open window to lift the downcast spirits of the merrymakers and heal them.

According to the ancients, evil entered into the world bringing untold misery. But Hope followed closely in its footsteps, to aid struggling humanity, and point to a happier future.

Maybe it's our intuition, or something of a spiritual nature that attracts us to opposites. Perhaps our soul is yearning to evolve and calling us to go through the darkness to get to the light?

There is a simple, yet profound truth that's worth repeating. "We teach people how to treat us." And most of what we teach, we do unconsciously. The secret to creating intimacy is to 'unlock' the unconscious patterns and repressed emotions causing one to recycle the same unfulfilling relationships. Once partners realize that the 'answer' to their relationship problems lie within, they can then begin the journey that leads to healthy, happy relationships.

The next time you feel trapped in a dark place of pain or confusion about a relationship - look within yourself and find the benefits from the light of Hope.

Posted on 29 September 2006 in - Library - Relationships

Shirley Smith

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