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Valentine’s day is around the corner so this is a great opportunity to talk about Intimacy!
What image comes up in your mind when you heard this word?
In most cases, it’s an image of sexual embrace between 2 people. However, intimacy involves so much more than physical acts.
Intimacy, at its core, is the emotional ‘closeness’ that slowly grows on a bedrock of trust and self-disclosure. Intimacy is “into me you see”, it is a fundamental human need right next to food, water, and shelter.
The Impact of Emotional Neglect Over History
In the early 1900s, many doctors and psychologists actively campaigned against showing affection to children because they believed it would cause “weakness and codependency”. It was common to believe that emotional and physical detachment in early life were essential to creating strong, independent adults.
They were profoundly, painfully mistaken. This kind of thinking created immeasurable damage to the minds, lives, and offspring of those affected. It’s entirely possible that our emotionally deprived grandparents raised emotionally unavailable parents, who raised us – a generation plagued with depression, anxiety, and growing mental health distress.
When babies and young children are deprived of emotional connection and intimacy, they are likely to grow into psychologically damaged adults who have an incredibly hard time connecting deeply with others. Emotionally neglected children grow into emotionally unavailable (and sometimes unstable) adults.
Humans evolved over millions of years as social, emotional, and spiritual beings. We could feel long before we could think. This is why intimacy is so important. Developing emotional closeness with friends and family undoes the psychological damage of emotional neglect.
What if intimacy is something that causes fear or avoidance? Is it really that important to work on it?
Yes, it is. The presence of Intimacy in your life is a significant contributor to physical and mental health. You can create more intimacy in your life in many ways. Remember the definition given above?
Intimacy grows on the bedrock of trust and self-disclosure. “into me you see”. Build intimacy by allowing others to “see” into you (your fears, hopes, disappointments, beliefs) and by creating a safe space for others to share about themselves.
If this is something that interests you, therapy is a fantastic resource to help you reach your goals. For more information or to book a free consultation, please call 250-718-9291 or email us at email@example.com
The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness, Jeff Olson, 2013
Written by: Mykhaylo Petrynyak, BA Psych, MACP