There are 5 ways you can build your own intimacy so that, no matter where you are in life right now, your well-being can benefit:
- Open yourself up to new relationships. Intimacy involves a willingness to trust and confide in others. You cannot be truly intimate and fear showing your foibles to another person. You may not be able to jump headlong into every new friendship you form (and probably shouldn’t). However, if you have that willingness to share at a deep level with someone else, you’ll gradually be able to build that trust.
- Strengthen your own identity. Being sure of who you are provides you with a solid basis for relating closely to another person. Intimacy without identity creates its own set of problems in living. If you become so close to another person that you lose your sense of self, you’ll lose touch with what really matters to you. Keep your own priorities and principles strong, even as you allow someone else into your life.
- Don’t give up on intimacy. The people in our study didn’t necessarily remain with their same partners through life. Being high on intimacy may mean, to the contrary, that you don’t stay with your partner. If you really value intimacy, you may continue to search until you find the person whose desire for closeness matches yours. When that happens, the chances are that the relationship, and your sense of well-being, will flourish.
- Think of intimacy as a dynamic quality, not a trait. The way we measured intimacy specifically tapped the idea that it can change over time. We did not look at intimacy as an inherent, inborn part of personality. Intimacy is not the same as extraversion, but instead reflects the extent to which you value closeness in your life. Therefore, as your life changes so can your intimacy, and vice versa.
- Remember that intimacy is important. We tend to hear so much about “finding yourself,” especially as applied to young adults, that we forget about the importance of finding others. Being open to intimacy doesn’t mean that you’re weak, unable to fend for yourself, or pathologically dependent on someone else. Intimacy is an essential component of the healthy personality that you should cherish and foster.
It’s hard to imagine a life without relationships. With some effort and commitment, your life can include relationships that both allow you to express your true identity, grow and change, and ultimately reap the rewards of self-fulfillment.
© Dandan Li, all rights reserved