Humans are very social beings, with a desire for autonomy. There is a healthy balance between the two, where we have freedom to grow and experience the world but can trust that we have certain people who have our backs, people who get us, know us and accept and love us anyways.
Healthy and safe relationships are a huge component of positive mental health and a very important ingredient to resilience.
Often a strong support system is what gets us through some of our toughest days and times in life and can helps us manage our mental health. Unlike other resolutions, stronger relationships that are built on emotional intimacy are something money can’t buy.
What is emotional intimacy exactly? This is an emotional connection with another person where you feel safe, accepted, and understood for who you truly are. Emotional intimacy is what provides us with comfort, empathy, and support from another person, both friends and intimate partners. This intimacy helps reduce emotional pain and leads to more fulfilling and lasting relationships.
How do I get more of this? Emotional intimacy and stronger relationships require openness, vulnerability, and a willingness to show the raw and messy parts of yourself to another person.
This can be hard for many people, especially if they grew up in a family that sent a message that your needs were not important, or you shouldn’t need to ask for help or you experienced trauma. Early experiences make it hard to be comfortable with letting other people help us, be there for us or need us.
When people have these unfavorable experiences, they sometimes trying to become what others expect of them instead of who they really are because it feels safer, it's an adaptive strategy.
Sadly though, they can lose touch with who they are and can become unsure of their needs and feelings, and this helps explain why some people feel alone in their relationships. They do not want to show any vulnerability as it can feel like giving another person ammunition to hurt them.
Despite the inherent risks to emotional vulnerability, there a few ways to get started:
Practice understanding how you feel (this is really just your body talking to you) and communicating this openly and honestly with your partner or friend. It is normal if you feel that you do not have the skills to communicate your feelings to others, deal calmly with conflict or set boundaries. This is first learned in childhood and not everyone grew up with healthy examples of this. These are skills that can be learned and practiced.
Practice staying in uncomfortable conversations with people you love and care about.
Practice asking someone for help. Seeking a safe emotional connection and support from others, practical or emotional, is not needy, despite what you may have been told directly or indirectly.
If no one knows how you feel about yourself, your life, your experiences, where you’ve been, what you need then no one really knows you and it’s impossible to create an emotional connection.
We're here if you want to talk :)
Take the first step and call us for an appointment ...(506) 651-1239