“People will say all kinds of things about their motives and intentions; they are used to dressing things up with words. Their actions, however, say much more about their character, about what is going on underneath the surface. If they present a harmless front but have acted aggressively on several occasions, give the knowledge of that aggression much greater weight than the surface they present. In a similar vein, you should take special note of how people respond to stressful situations—often the mask they wear in public falls off in the heat of the moment.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
Introduction: What exactly is intimacy and why do we crave it so much?
Humans are social animals, and as such, we have a need to feel connected to others and to believe that we are worthy of feeling love. If one of the worst punishments we have in our criminal justice system is solitary confinement—the isolation of a prisoner in a separate cell away from all other human contact—then it can be imagined that intimacy, close personal relations, is one of the ultimate rewards.
In an article by Shana Schutte, she elaborates that, “Real intimacy makes us feel alive like we’ve been found, as if someone finally took the time to peer into the depths of our soul and really see us there. Until then, until we experience true intimacy, we will feel passed over and ignored, like someone is looking right through us.”
“Jason once told me that eye contact is the most intimacy two people can have — forget sex — because the optic nerve is technically an extension of the brain, and when two people look into each other’s eyes, it’s brain-to-brain.” ~ Douglas Coupland, Hey Nostradamus!
“True intimacy is a human constant. People of all types find it equally hard to achieve, equally precious to hold. Age, education, social status, make little difference here; even genius does not presuppose the talent to reveal one’s self completely and completely absorb one’s self in another personality. Intimacy is to love what concentration is to work: a simultaneous drawing together to attention and release of energy.” ~ Robert Grudin
“Can the purpose of a relationship be to trigger our wounds? In a way, yes, because that is how healing happens; darkness must be exposed before it can be transformed. The purpose of an intimate relationship is not that it be a place where we can hide from our weaknesses, but rather where we can safely let them go. It takes strength of character to truly delve into the mystery of an intimate relationship, because it takes the strength to endure a kind of psychic surgery, an emotional and psychological and even spiritual initiation into the higher Self. Only then can we know an enchantment that lasts.” ~ Marianne Williamson, Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power Of Intimate Relationships
“Real intimacy is a sacred experience. It never exposes its secret trust and belonging to the voyeuristic eye of a neon culture. Real intimacy is of the soul, and the soul is reserved.” ~ John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
“Simply having a phone on the table or within reach keeps the conversations shallow. None of this would be a big deal if mobile and app-based conversation were complementing rather than replacing face-to-face conversation, but that’s not the case. In fact, so many people are turning to digital to have potentially messy and emotional conversations in a less messy and emotional way. It may bring more calm to a relationship, sure, but it also strips the vulnerability and revelation that come from looking someone in the eye, seeing how your words land, seeing how their body responds, hearing the catch in their breath, understanding what is truly going on between you in a way no emoji chain or composed text could ever express. That emotional, messy, hard, exhilarating, don’t-know-what’s-coming-next space is where the moments that make life most worth living lie. Kill the space, kill the moment. Hello, tidy matrix and numbed-out life.” ~ Jonathan Fields, How To Live A Good Life