In a culture focused on “rugged individualism,” we’ve lost the subtle art of intimacy. We need to prove ourselves. Protect ourselves. Vulnerability feels like a weakness and letting someone close feels terrifying.
But we ache for it. We crave the depth of real, authentic relationships with friends and beloveds.
As women stepping into leadership, developing intimacy is our access to greater visibility. It creates the necessary connection to develop the “know, like and trust” factor that is integral to building a business.
If you want to grow your business, empower other women, and develop deep, meaningful conversations …
This is it.
It’s essential that you reveal more of the real you.
This is intimacy.
How much can you open yourself up to allow others in to really see you? Can you take the guard down and stop protecting yourself? Can you let go of the story that someone has to prove themselves trustworthy before you let them in?
The most powerful circle leaders are the ones who people feel like they can connect with and feel safe with, and that is because they are able to be present. They have developed intimacy and they are open and available for that deeper connection.
Here are four ways to develop intimacy with the people around you:
1 – Empty out.
Our monkey minds are constantly keeping us preoccupied … analyzing, judging, thinking, problem solving. But that keeps us separate and disconnected. When we are caught up in our heads, we cannot be present with someone else. Instead, we must let go and empty out. When we empty our mind of expectations, assumptions and judgments of what you think they will think of YOU and what you think of yourself, you can then drop into your body and share what’s alive and present.
2 – Tell the Truth.
Once you are present, it’s about revealing what’s there. The truth, not the pretence. Not what you think they want to hear.
Most of the time, we hide the truth because we are afraid of being rejected or abandoned. We think the truth will create disconnection. But when we pretend or lie, this is when we create the separation. It takes courage to tell the truth. As Brene Brown said in her famous Ted Talk:
“The original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language — it’s from the Latin word “cor,” meaning “heart” — and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”
So truth telling is about sharing from your heart. It’s rooted in love. It’s not a projection, it’s not blaming the other person. It’s coming from self-responsibility with the intention of creating love and affinity.
It’s sharing when you are sad instead of bypassing straight to happy.
It’s sharing when you are hurting, without blaming the other person for trying to hurt you.
It’s vulnerable, and there is a risk, but it’s what ultimately creates real authentic connection.
3 – Look someone in the eye.
I did a workshop a few years ago in a more corporate setting and paired up the women to do an eye gazing activity. When they finished and I asked how they felt, they all agreed is was challenging. Some women said they never have looked anyone in the eye before.
Looking someone in the eye is vulnerable because you are revealing your soul. You are allowing someone in to the deepest part of you. And the more you practice, the more comfortable you get with it.
I especially invite you to look someone in the eye when you are feeling ashamed or are afraid of the person’s reaction. This is the hardest, but creates the deepest intimacy.
4 – Don’t give advice.
At Sistership Circle, we have an agreement in our circles not to give advice, but instead use the “beam” to acknowledge someone’s share. When we give advice, we rob someone of their intuition and self-authority. We create separation, believe it or not.
I’ve noticed many times when people give unsolisited advice that the receiver’s eyes glaze over. They check out. They are not looking for the answer, they are simply looking to be heard.
So next time, stop yourself and instead take a breath with the person. Offer a hug, or simply show empathy by saying something like “I can imagine that really hurt.”
Your presence will allow them to open up even deeper.
And on the flip side, when sharing something vulnerable, set your own safety up by requesting that the person just listen and not offer any advice. This will allow the other person to show up with deeper presence, developing your intimacy together.
Want to create this level of depth for yourself? Then I highly recommend joining us in March for Feminine Uprising LIVE. You can watch the video to see what I mean here.
I’d love to hear from you: what’s one action you can take this week to develop more intimacy?