Intimacy with the Self

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In order to have intimacy we first need to have a sense of self. We need to be intimate with our own interior, to know our needs, wishes, fears, boundaries, and hopes. Through knowing the self within, we can honor the self that lives within another. We need to be able to love our own self enough to offer it openly to someone else. Without self-love, this cannot happen.
— Anodea Judith

In my experience, an effective spiritual practice stimulates an inner alchemical experience. It reveals aspects of ourselves that were previously hidden, and in the process we undergo a transformation, which can be subtle or not-so-subtle. True intimacy begins when we start to look into ourselves clearly and truthfully, and don't run away. We start to sit with the parts we've rejected, or perhaps others have rejected, including fear, shame, guilt, and anger. This isn't always pretty, but it's the foundation of self-love. Self-love emerges when we embrace ourselves as multi-faceted, flawed, perfect beings. Intimacy and understanding the Self (higher self, with a capital S), is a form of self-love that continues to unveil truths over time and continued practice.

Intimacy in a relationship is an extension of this personal understanding and acceptance. Whether this is revealed in a friendship, familial dynamic, or romantic partnership, we can gain insight pretty rapidly into our own being through the eyes of another. After all, if we haven't investigated our own boundaries and desires, how can we expect someone else to recognize them? When we get clear on our own fears and hopes, and what they are rooted in, we can start to "show up" more fully in these relationships. This also gives others permission to be more present and more real. When we love and accept ourselves and our process, we develop trust that others will accept us as well. We don't need to emotionally babysit one another any more, so to speak, when we recognize each other as whole beings. Self-love gives us freedom from relationships that are co-dependent, manipulative, and suffer from unclear boundaries. It empowers and grounds us in decisions and relationships that inspire and bring us joy!

Our personal comfort level with self-love and intimacy extends beyond interpersonal dynamics, and manifests in our relationships with money, sex, creativity, and so on. Developing a practice that challenges us and illuminates our blindspots is extremely helpful in the process of getting to know ourselves on a deeper level. 

To learn more about intimacy and self-love through yoga and meditation, please connect with me over a session!

Katherine Mills