For as long as I can remember I’ve been a highly anxious person. My head and my heart have been very disconnected and when I was born I had the cord wrapped around my neck which meant I struggled to breathe and was silent during my birth. I entered the world in a hyper-vigilant state and that’s where I stayed as I grew up a shy, awkward and uncomfortable person who had never really learned to be safe in her own skin.
My Mother raised me to be scared of the world and everything in it, and that humans were supposed to survive and generally be in competition with one another. This way of being didn’t make sense to me and gradually over time I turned to numerous ways to check out;
…love addiction and unhealthy relationships
…essentially anything that would take my focus outward and onto others so that I didn’t have to turn and face my own issues and limitations.
By my early thirties, I had become so disconnected from myself that I went through a time of unbearable anxiety and depression which resulted in me losing everything that I thought mattered to me.
Deep inside I longed for love and connection, intimacy and trust and I had unconsciously sought those outside of myself until I finally realized that I was never going to experience those things with another person, group or community until I had learned to authentically give them to myself.
And so I committed to me again, to nurturing my Spirit, and to a path of self-intimacy to really get to know the person I was. I’m still on it, and I believe that the awake and committed amongst us will be on it for the rest of our lives, but I had no idea how to find my way in that direction and I know how terrifying it can feel when you’re desperate for guidance but don’t know where to go to look for it, which was my reason for writing this blog.
5 Keys to Building Self Intimacy and Return to Your True Self
Here are five key things that helped with rebuilding self intimacy, brought me back in touch with myself and my body again when I was at my lowest and might inspire you too:
It sounds bizarre but when I was deeply depressed I had literally stopped breathing properly. Despite being a trained yoga teacher, I had lost not only my voice and sense of self but my actual deep breath. As soon as I remembered the power it held, even when my body felt broken, I remembered its ability to light up parts of my body without me even moving them. Put a hand on your belly or on your back and breathe deeply, sending your breath to that area. Feel how doing that simple action lights up and nourishes that part of your body without you even lifting a finger.
Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed at work I start breathing very deeply and mindfully and I no longer care how loud my breath is to those around me. Breathing centers the body and focuses the mind in seconds. It’s the most powerful grounding tool and the quickest way to come back to the present moment. Being in touch with our breath is the easiest path to true intimacy with the Self.
When we’re anxious or low we long for touch. Sadness makes our hearts yearn and our bodies ache. But sometimes when we get the opportunity for that kind of connection, we can push it away because we don’t feel worthy or safe. Cultivating our own sense of safety within our skin starts with trusting ourselves and our bodies and how we like to be touched. Self-massage or getting massages is a great way to introduce that soothing touch into our lives again. Just practicing giving ourselves healing, like stroking our arms or placing warm hands on our belly when we have cramps can also remind us of our natural healing power.
How are you treating and touching your body each day when you shower and moisturize?
If you don’t even know how you like to treat yourself and take care of your own body in a gentle way, how will you ever know how to treat someone else and how you want them to treat you in an intimate situation?
At the height of my breakdown, I couldn’t meditate because I was too terrified of myself and what sitting still would bring up. I was addicted to my phone, to coffee, to other people, to traveling and moving on, anything not to be still. But at a certain point in our healing when we are ready for it again, mediation is a powerful teacher and it’s the time I feel most at ease and in tune with my inner voice.
This is intimacy for me, being able to listen to my own inner guidance without the noise of other people’s often well-meaning comments. Meditation is a great tool for creating space and I believe that space in our lives, between the busyness and the crescendo of our thoughts, is the only place we can tap into our innate knowing. True intimacy with our minds can’t be rushed or hashed together; it’s easy and gentle and takes time to build.
4. Dance, yoga or other movements
I used to be a dancer but I gave it up when I was diagnosed with Scoliosis. I then trained as a yoga teacher but shut that down when I decided that I wanted to run an online business instead. I’ve created many opportunities to be intimate with myself and run away from them because I wasn’t ready to embody their principles. Picking up dance, movement, exercise, and yoga again has helped me feel my aching hips, it’s helped me mend my broken heart, and it’s helped me feel the wisdom and flow of my body again.
I believe any form of movement, even just some hip circles in the morning or some jumping jacks, can pay dividends towards bridging the gap between our head and our heart, and the heart is the place you want to be aiming for when it comes to true intimacy with who you are at your core.
My most intimate thoughts go in my journal. Sometimes they are just streams of consciousness, and sometimes they are ideas for things I want to do. Although it’s no longer a daily practice for me, when I’ve had a much-needed journaling session around something that I’ve been struggling with, I always feel more at home with myself and confident in the knowing that I am able to process and unpack anything that comes my way.
If you don’t currently journal and want to try it, it’s the most incredible free tool to clear the stuff that clogs up the monkey mind so that you can allow your soul to start conversing with you, and some people find this even more powerful than meditation.
It’s my belief that if we don’t truly know and trust ourselves and maintain that trust on a regular basis, we can never truly know and trust another. We can’t have kindness, compassion, and love for others until we’re giving that to ourselves with a whole heart. It might take some digging and plenty of awkward and uncomfortable feelings and moments (which are all okay!), but if we want to experience the richness of the depths of connection, it’s more than worthwhile.