On any given day, you can open your phone or computer and connect with people all over the world. One click and you are able to “reach out and touch someone”. We can send a message and have our loneliness assuaged because someone responds.
We are incredibly connected and yet, remain terribly isolated.
If you don’t believe me, ask yourself when the last time was when you had a real, deep, meaningful hug. I don’t mean the kind of hug you exchange that’s 5 seconds long; I mean the kind of hug where you hold onto one another tightly, chest to chest, feeling each other’s heart beating. When is the last time you spoke your truth, unfiltered, and unwavering, while looking deeply into the eyes of another?
We are connected but lack intimacy.
Intimacy is often mistaken for sex but they are not the same. A mentor of mine used to define intimacy as “into me see”. You can allow a person into your body and keep them barred from your soul. Intimacy is the willingness to peel back your façade and expose your authenticity to another. It’s letting your defenses down and showing who you truly are. bell hooks wrote, “to know love, we have to tell the truth to ourselves and others. Creating a false self to mask fears and insecurities has become so common that many of us forget who we are and what we feel beneath the premise”.
And so we run from intimacy — from dalliance, to dalliance, from lover to lover, from encounter to encounter. We never let anyone get too close lest they see beneath the persona we have created to hide us from the world. The thing our souls most crave — to be deeply seen, accepted and loved by another — to feel the marvel of another person who sees us at our worst and still loves us the most is the very thing we avoid.
We exchange intimacy for surface relationships that feel safer because they carry less risk. We trade our soul’s longing for our ego’s safety and then we wonder why we are lonely. We allow our fears to determine the direction of our life and lament finding ourselves where we don’t want to be.
There are too many unwilling to pay the cost of intimacy because intimacy isn’t cheap and it doesn’t come without a price.
The woman with the alabaster box didn’t concern herself with the price of the oil with which she would anoint the Christ. She only knew that to offer anything less than the best she had to give wasn’t enough to show her love.
To be intimate, we must strip back the layers that we have constructed to keep ourselves “safe”. We must let ourselves see and be seen. We have to open up and communicate honestly. We have to have the courage to take a risk; risk being seen, and risk being rejected. We must be courageous enough to speak our truth and stand in our truth. We must be brave enough to see ourselves, let ourselves be seen and to stand beneath the unwavering gaze of another. Maybe your knees will quake and your heart will pound in your chest.
There is a price to be paid for intimacy. It doesn’t come cheaply, which may be why it’s so difficult to find in our world of quick fixes and immediate gratification. The price is honesty — with yourself and with others. The price is courage — the willingness to be seen. The price is vulnerability — to allow yourself to be deeply witnessed without hiding. The price is being “naked and unashamed”…unguarded and open.
““The whole point of an intimacy is to serve each other in growth and love, hopefully in better ways than we can serve ourselves. Otherwise, why engage in intimacy if your growth and love are served more by living alone? Intimacy is about growing more than you could by yourself, through the art of mutual gifting.” ~ David Deida