I’ll just come right out and say it: most of us are afraid of intimacy whether we’re aware of it or not.
Most people think that having a fear of intimacy means that you avoid dating, you don’t like talking about your emotions, you don’t have close friends, etc. and it does, but it goes much farther than that. A fear of intimacy absolutely affects our relationships with other people, but it also determines our relationship with ourselves, with our money, and with our goals. If you feel inept in love, if you feel out of control of your finances, or if you feel like your life is at a standstill, you likely have a fear of intimacy that is holding you back from living the life you want.
First, I want to address what intimacy really is. With relationships, intimacy is not the length of time you’ve known someone or even the things you do with that person. With money, intimacy is not spending a lot of money, or wanting money, or being vague about your money. With your goals, intimacy is not merely having ambition and ideas of what you want in your future. Intimacy is true closeness. Intimacy is vulnerability—it is a space in which you are not protected by the things you think keep you apart from risking rejection or failure or pain.
Intimacy with yourself means honesty about your feelings, about your desires, about your self perception.
Intimacy with others means that you act authentically around them, not trying to manipulate their perception of you by adjusting your behavior or priorities. You let other people actually *see* you rather than try to play a part that you think they will approve of and accept.
Intimacy with money means that you feel love towards money rather than disdain or frustration, that you know how much you have, you know how much you need to live comfortably, you know how much you want, and you are willing to explore ways of earning more by increasing the value that you create in the world. You look money in the eye rather than hiding from it.
Intimacy with your goals means that you know what you want, and you have a detailed and specific plan of what you are willing to do in order to get it. This does not mean that you try to micromanage how your life plays out. That is not intimacy—that is fear and a lack of belief that you actually can get what you want. What this means is that you have gone to the place in the future (in your mind) where you are living the life you want, you take time to get to know this future version of yourself who has created that life, and you begin to take concrete steps to become that person over time. It’s detailed and specific, but it’s not obsessive and controlling. Can you feel the difference?
When we want to build loving relationships, to make and have more money, and to pursue and achieve our goals, we need to have a willingness to feel all of the doubt, fear, and inadequacy that will inevitably come up during this process. If we’re afraid of these feelings, we will always find a way to hold ourselves back from being in a situation that might trigger them. Understanding this, it’s easy to see how a fear of intimacy with our own emotions would cause us to subconsciously avoid pursuing anything we really want in life…because we are not about to open ourselves up to all of those scary feelings. We cannot go all in on something we want if we are not willing to be truly intimate with it.
Where in your life do you think you’re suffering because of a fear of intimacy?
In what ways can you introduce more intimacy into your life, thereby making it so much more amazing?