In our mother’s womb, all of us were just ourselves, with no conditions. As adults, we continue to long to be received by others, just as we are. Since we’ve all been hurt by life, our place of intimacy is often an area of both great longing and deep anxiety.
How do we re-engage when we have been wounded in this area? Are we able to risk being present to another knowing we can be hurt? Too often, we choose simply to keep pretending, and to secure ourselves in parameters we can control. We tend to live out of a self that we know very well, and that we can share easily with the outside world. Yet, inside we have a more difficult space that we may not go to often. This less-explored area is more closed off to others, yet it is important that we risk engaging with it. Our deepest, most hidden self is the part which most of us would not risk telling anyone. If we see this inner self as unacceptable, we may focus on developing our outer self in order to be seen as popular and engaging.
In wanting to go into intimacy, we will need to find someone to help us take steps to begin to explore our inner, unknown self. There are great challenges there, for we will move into spaces where we may not feel we have an escape plan. But it is here where we are being invited by God to courageously work and to gain capability. He is always busy, wanting to heal our wounds. He does not want to overwhelm us and knows that intimacy can be a scary place if we go there too quickly.
Ideally we need to be with others who are also willing to take little steps in this area, and who are not trying to fix each other up. As we learn, “Yes, I can do this…” and, “No, I will not yet risk that…” we are training our intuition. We are learning too from others who are also asking deep questions and are leading the way into that space.
It is all too easy to live from an outer self and to ‘wall off’ our real self. Yet, our most interesting, truest self, is our inner self. It is this part that is the most worthwhile to explore, though we resist this exploration as we all have been schooled to have judgments about what is good or bad within us. God loves us, and wants us to love all of ourselves. He is not asking us to be exposed inappropriately, but with support from trusted others, to become more integrated people and more fully and satisfyingly our authentic selves.