Intimacy = Into-Me-See

If you ask someone how do they define a romantic relationship? At some point in their description the word “intimacy” will appear. Intimacy and relationships are closely coupled (pun intended). But if you break the word “intimacy” into its parts – an insight hidden in plain sight appears: Into Me – See. 

Cliche? Yes. True? Also a yes.

“The best thing that you can do for your partner is work on yourself. The best thing your partner can do for you is work on themselves,” says Zach Beach, yogi/author/podcaster & founder of The Heart Center Love School. In our podcast interview with him, he talked about how “the best container for our own healing and growth is a relationship, and particularly an intimate relationship.” 

Ah! So the ME isn’t separate from the WE. In fact, it seems like the journey of growth in any relationship, first starts with self-intimacy. 

That should be easy right? For a successful relationship with others – work on your relationship with yourself. How hard can that be? It turns out it isn’t “hard” so much as confusing, overwhelming, counterintuitive, exhausting, and at times straight-up disheartening as you slowly peel back the years of trauma and conditioning. 

Thankfully, there are many resources to help make this ambiguous trip into ME-Town a little more friendly. In his book, 7 Lessons of Love, Zach talks about the two pillars of happiness

  1. Love
  2. Finding a way to cope with life that doesn’t push love away

While reading this, something resonated deep within me. We often intuitively know it’s a good idea to focus on Love as a pillar of happiness, but the second pillar? That’s where growth lives. Because when life gets tough, and it always does – it’s easy to shut down, shut out, or shut up – none of which is very beneficial to cultivating love & loving-kindness in your relationships, now is it? 

So when we catch ourselves in this dry spot, we can always count on RAIN to help us. No, not the wet kind, more like the Into-Me-See kind. RAIN is an acronym that enables you to focus on the 4 stages of moving through experiences, regardless of how hard they may be to process – as you focus on your journey of self-love. 

  • R: Recognize
    • Recognize whatever emotions and sensations are coming up for you; sit with them. Name what you are feeling to help tame the emotion. A good resource to help guide you while naming an emotion can be an emotion wheel.
  • A: Allow 
    • Allow yourself to feel the emotion, rather than push the emotion away because of judgment. Yes, you are angry, but “angry” is just information. At its core, emotions are pieces of information. How you choose to act on this emotion dictates the associated consequences. If you decide to sit with the emotion non-judgmentally, and with curiosity, well, I wonder what you would find.
  • I: Investigate 
    • Investigate and dig deep to find where the emotions are coming from. See if there is a need for love or tenderness underneath those emotions. When we lean in with curiosity and non-judgment it’s a lot easier to excavate the root cause or need underneath the emotion – this doesn’t mean you won’t ever get angry again, you will. All this means is, next time it will be easier to understand why – and what you need in order to heal and grow.
  • N: Non-identify 
    • Non-identify with your experience, and remind yourself that you are so much more than your thoughts and emotions. This step is complementary to allowing yourself to feel your emotions – after we lean in with curiosity and dive deep, it’s important to “cut the rope” to the experience, expanding our narrow wheel of awareness to being more holistic

There is no one size fits as you embark on this long and beautiful journey of love and growth, but I think Zach said it best, “we grow in relationships, we are wounded in relationships, and we will be healed in relationships.” 

Maybe it’s time to lean in. Especially when you consider the fact that “researchers say that working on your relationships for 20 mins a day provides 3x the health benefit than running on a treadmill.” So when you put it like that – investing time in exercising “love” sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

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