True Intimacy Depends Upon Separateness

INTIMACY DEPENDS ON SEPARATENESS

 

In earliest childhood our self-concept emerges from the

symbiotic union of mother and baby.  Gradually it dawns on us

that we are separate from our earliest caregivers.  First we

learn we have a separate body and eventually we build an

identity, initially based on our caregivers’ responses to us.

As we mature, accomplish developmental tasks and gain

experience as an individual, we realize we will never

again be fully merged with another human.  We may bond with

others and seek closeness with them but it will always be

from a position of essential separateness.

No one can directly experience another person’s

“reality”.  If we wish to be known by another, we must

communicate.  This is both difficult and frustrating.  We

want our intimate partner to see us as we wish to be seen and

to validate our own perceptions and judgements by agreeing

with us.

But they have their own perceptions and experience and

live in a “reality” forever separate from ours.  A clear

understanding and acceptance of this separateness is the

beginning of true intimacy.

It is the process of TRYING to know another and to be

known by them that constitutes the experience of intimacy.

Frustration and conflict are inherent to it.  Those who

understand this are more prepared to stick with it.

It is said that, in order to love another, you must

first love yourself.  What this really means is that, in

order to accept another’s separateness, we must first accept

our own.  Otherwise, we will seek fusion, not intimacy.

To achieve higher levels of intimacy we must have

developed an autonomous sense of self-worth.  That is, we

know we’re worthy even when we’re not being reassured of it

by another.  This is self-love.

If we’re too dependent upon a REFLECTED sense of self,

we can’t feel good unless another tells us we’re good or

unless we make them happy.  True intimacy is not a mutual

admiration society.  It’s one self encountering another.

Intimacy results from two SEPARATE selves trying to

understand and be understood, accept and be accepted.

 

 

 

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