I’ve never been someone who would say that I have an issue with intimacy or that being close to someone scares me. If I’m being honest, I’ve always thought it sounds like a cop out when people say that intimacy, in any kind of relationship, scares them. However, in light of being ‘vulnerable’ this year (see my most recent journal post), I’ve realized that I’ve unknowingly been running from intimacy in my life when it appears. And I guess I’ve gotten away with being unaware of this because I’ve kept most people at an arms length and thought it was healthy.
A few weeks ago, Kelsey (my friend and manager) and I were driving to Asheville for the weekend. Instead of listening to music, like we would normally do, we listened to a podcast and then talked almost the entire 4.5 hour drive there. As you can imagine, a lot of things were talked about during that time. But the main topic was intimacy (whether that be in friendships, romantic relationships, anything) and how it makes me feel.
Here is how I’ve been viewing intimacy (Disclaimer: This isn’t a healthy way to view it but I’ve wrongly been living with this idea.) - The closer I am to someone, the more I will love them and the less they will love me. My faults can only be hidden for so long and so people who are close see those faults. They’ll realize I’m not as great as they once thought and they will see that other people are easier to love than I am. They’ll know how undeserving of their heart I am. So they will leave me. I’ll be left alone and hopelessly caring for them with nothing in return. So it’s better to not have super close relationships because they always end in pain.
Here is what I’m learning about intimacy from a healthy perspective - Close relationship is good. It’s actually healthy and something that we were created for. Being close to someone can most definitely be hard. It reveals things in yourself that you need to work on. It gives opportunity for another person to hurt you whether it be because of your faults or theirs. But it’s good. It’s good to be challenged and to see the ways that you need to grow. And when someone knows more about your heart, it doesn’t mean they are going to run. Our hearts have been crafted so uniquely, carefully, and beautifully. So the more someone knows my heart, the more freedom I actually have to fully be myself. And I’m deserving of that love.
This whole thing has challenged me to take a closer look at the unique ways I’ve been made that are indeed, lovable. In the past I’ve looked solely at the outward characteristics I possess that would initially draw someone to me - my musical talents, looks, personality, social status, and other materialistic things. But the issue with that is that it is so lame and so unforgiving. When I believe my people only love me because of the things I just listed, it’s insane how undesired I can feel on a day when my voice isn’t at it’s best. So I’m seeing that I need to stop believing those lies, for myself and for the people around me. I need to strip away those outer parts of me and look at the more intricate ways that I’ve been created. I need to love myself better so that I can let others love me better too.
I’d encourage you to press into the person you are without the other outer layers, without the parts that require any kind of performance. I promise under all of that is someone really great because those hidden parts are the most treasured and unique parts of us. Maybe it looks like asking someone who knows you well and who you trust to share what their favorite things about you are. Or maybe it means you sit down and make a list of good things (the deep things) you see in yourself, and then remind yourself of those things every day. Claim their truth. I’m not saying it’ll be easy to see and accept those things. My friends have gone above and beyond and written down the truths they see in me that I don’t always see in myself. (I’m convinced I’ve been blessed with the most incredible people in my life.) And I’m insanely grateful for their words, but the truth is, it’s still not easy for me to really accept those things and break my old habits of thought. But I’m trying. And hitting those lies with truth is the best way to combat the negativity. Because I know that when I’m able to see myself as the masterpiece I was crafted as, life is going to feel a lot more free and a lot more beautiful. A lot more how it was intended to feel from the beginning.