“Intimacy is based on shared vulnerability…Nothing deepens intimacy like the experiences we share when feel flayed, with our skins off, scared and vulnerable, and our partner is there with us, willing to share in the scary stuff.” ~Dossie Easton & Catherine Liszt
Ever had that dream where you leave the house naked? That’s the dream we all dread. It’s not feasible that you would wake up in the morning and simply forget to put clothes on–but the dream still terrifies most people.Advertising
The same can be said for those who struggle with making and maintaining intimate connections. Does the thought of allowing yourself to be completely vulnerable and letting someone see your bare naked soul terrify you? Do you find yourself going from one relationship to another, but you can never seem to find true love? If this is you, you may have intimacy issues.
Many people struggle with developing an intimate relationship with others for a variety of reasons such as:Advertising
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of being hurt
- Fear of exploitation
- Past experiences
- Inability to trust
- Traumatic childhood experiences
These are all legitimate intimacy blockers and valid fears. When we lower our guard and allow people to get close, there are consequences–good and bad.
True Intimacy Keeps People Bonded
Intimacy is a close personal connection between two people that is developed over time. Typically, we learn how to develop intimate relationships as children through our interactions with out parents and close family members. As we grow older, opportunities arise to develop other intimate relationships outside of the home. We learn to establish commitment and trust, and build connections through work, play, sex, and shared experiences. The journey towards creating intimate relationships is therefore potentially never ending and everyone’s experience in learning to be intimate is different.Advertising
The one constant and fundamental truth concerning intimacy is we all have a deep, innate need to have intimate relationships in our lives. Psychologist understand and have proven that relationships matter to our sense of well-being. Throughout life, we need relationships to help us feel connected, boost our feelings of self-worth, and sustain our moods.
The Truth about Letting your Guard Down
When determining how to lower your guard and trust people, there are a few things you must consider, understand and accept.The first of which is that intimacy involves risk. This is just a hard truth about intimate relationships. You could get hurt. But on the other hand you could enter into a relationship and experience love at its deepest level–the kind of love musicians sing about and laureate wax poetically about. You could find yourself in a deep meaningful relationship and experience the euphoria of being totally and completely loved and accepted exactly as you are–flaws and all. Consider the possibility of experiencing true, unbridled, intense and passionate love. As intimacy grows, the intensity of the love and passion grows as well. This happens over time.Advertising
Intimacy Takes Baby Steps
The next fact is that developing an intimate relationship takes time; intimacy is a gradual process. Take baby steps. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT bare your soul and present your heart on a platter on a first date. You are begging for rejection. We all want to be loved and accepted but we must be considerate of the other person. Believe it or not, you are a lot to take in all at once. Throwing all that you are at a stranger or mild acquaintance, all at once isn’t fair to them. Divulge your true self in small doses. Get to know them as you allow them to get to know you. Evaluate their response and then proceed a little further. As you see them begin to open up, you do the same. Mirror their level of intimacy until you are comfortable and it feels safe to share a bit more of yourself.
Mirror Your Expectations
As you begin to gradually open up and connect to the other person, you will have the urge to pull back. During these times it is critical that you remember that you have to give in order to receive. If you want acceptance you have to give it. If you want trust you must first be trustworthy. If you want someone to open up and expose themselves to you, you must do the same. You have to model the behavior you are expecting. Ask questions and genuinely become interested in who your partner (or potential partner) is without judgement. Intimacy occurs when both people share and are transparent and honest with each other. The relationship is not truly intimate if only one person is open.
Learn to Express Yourself
Lastly, understand that as intimacy builds shutting down and refusing to share can quickly kill the intimacy. Learn how to express yourself. Expressing our thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears and traumas is difficult. Talking is only one mode of communication. Write out your dreams, journal your feelings and fears and then, let your significant other read it. Illustrate your feelings in a painting or drawing and use that as a catalyst for conversation. Find songs that evoke deep emotion or remind you of an experience you had and allow your special someone to hear it and then explain why it is so meaningful to you. There are so many avenues to generate conversation and get naked emotionally–use whatever vehicle that best suits you. Find a way to be open.
A Wise Word on Intimacy
Intimacy is cleverly described by some in the faith community as “In-to-me-see.” When you refuse to allow yourself to be truly seen, you are preventing yourself the emotional sustenance you need to be your best and most complete self. Intimacy is risky but the love and connection that results is definitely worth the risk.
Last Updated on May 28, 2020
10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life
Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?
You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.
Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.
You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.
Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.
1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams
If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.
Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.
When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.
Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.
So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.
Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.
2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses
Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.
Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:
- Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey
- Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment
- Answer a few Superpower Questions
Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.
3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required
Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.
The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?
You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.
Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.
Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.
4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love
The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.
Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.
To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.
This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.
5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo
Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.
Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:
- Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
- Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
- Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.
The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.
Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.
6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling
I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.
To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.
Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.
A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.
Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?
Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.
7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic
Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.
Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.
What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.
Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.
8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future
Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.
Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.
What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?
These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.
9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas
Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.
This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!
Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,
“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”
10. Count Your Rockstar Moments
Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.
Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.
You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!
Eleanor Roosevelt said,
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.
By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.
If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.
This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.
Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.
More About Success in Life
- 20 Definitions Of Success You Should Never Ignore
- How to Create Your Road Map to Success (A Step-By-Step Guide)
- How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People
Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com
|||^||Huffington Post: Why Finding Time Each Day For Creativity Makes You Happier|
|||^||Fast Company: These 4 Hobbies Can Actually Improve Job Performance|
|||^||VIA: The VIA Character Strengths Survey|
|||^||Fast Company: This Is How Many Minutes Of Breaks You Need Each Day|
|||^||Stanford News: Stanford study finds walking improves creativity|