Thursday, May 24, 2007

Zuzu's comment - on intimacy etc.

I decided to make zuzu's comment a post because it will be easier for me to find later and because it was so thought provoking for me. This is my post and below is her response. And yes I am getting work done! Let's just say I'm posting since I'll be gone. . . :)

I was thinking of Scott Peck too... but I've been thinking about "People of the Lie" in reference to some of the confusion you've been experiencing with regard to "Y." Just a thought.

I have to admit, I don't really understand much of what you're saying in this post.

In other thoughts, I once had a really amazing therapist. I wish I could remember her last name. I bet she's written a book and I know I'd savor every word. Be that as it may. She taught me about intimacy.

Intimacy, she said, is being viscerally honest, without expectation. A pre-requisite, she said, for a capacity for deep intimacy, is being fiercely independent. The only way to truly act and speak without expectation is to cultivate a fierce independence. She contends it's healthy for us to be intimate with as many people as possible and another person's capacity for intimacy is irrelevant, this is about our "being known" and living close to the bone and being alive and real and expanding our capacity for joy. She's not talking physical intimacy, per se, which we might conscript our own sets of rules for. But it flows from emotional and intellectual intimacy, sometimes, certainly.

Here's an example.... you tell your parents that you believe that you are a lesbian. That's the viscerally honest part. You do so without expectation of them accepting or rejecting you, embracing or condemning you. The "purpose" of telling them is intimacy. You are known for who you are, your truths of yourself. Perhaps it is obvious with this example why to be this intimate "requires" a fierce independence. You have to have a deep enough sense of self and independence about your core self so that if they judge, condemn, accept, embrace, reject, or celebrate you - you're okay with the reaction. Because the "goal" is not about their reaction, the "goal" is about being intimate.

My therapist would contend that when you are honest WITH expectation, that is not intimacy, it's more often manipulation.

That's an obvious or "big" example. The more subtle examples might be some of your recent conversations with "Y" - you can ask yourself in retrospect, "was my goal to be intimate or was my goal to elicit some specific reaction? Did I say the things I said so that my feelings and me would be known, or was I motivated to influence her feelings and/or reactions... was I intimate or was I being manipulative?"

Sometimes when I tell Ed that garbage is starting to stink... I have a specific manipulative goal - that is that he should take out the trash. I have expectation.. heh. When he doesn't pick up on my manipulative tactic.. I can just come right out and say it. "Hey, will you take out the trash?" There's nothing intimate about it.. and that's fine.

Not everything is so straight forward, however. If we're dating and you are sleeping with other people, I might say to you, "I don't like it that you are having sex with other women, it leaves me feeling jealous, insecure and fragile." There are so many responses you could give to that statement. You could say, "I'm sorry." You could say, "tough." You could say, "get over it." You could say, "I'll stop seeing other people, I want to be with you and you alone." If I'm being truly intimate, however you respond, I might feel, think or say, "I'm not asking you to stop sleeping with other woman, I'm simply telling you how I feel." Maybe I have or haven't decided on a course of action based on how I feel.. so maybe I say, "I don't like feeling this way so I'd like to change our relationship and just be friends (or not be friends, or not be anything or whatever)" or "I don't want you to change who you are. I want you to be exactly who you are. I'm just saying how I feel and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with those feelings - I'm simply putting them out there."

Sometimes, young people, when they are "falling in love" are very manipulative.. because they have expectations.. they really want the other person to like them as much as they like the other person. But people who are seasoned at having relationships come to realize, sometimes, that the real road to falling in love is intimacy. The sooner you can shuffle off expectation and move toward real intimacy, the sooner, indeed, you can commence the real process of getting to know someone, revealing yourself to another and finding if whether or not was is beneath the wonderful infatuation of first blushes is love.

There was a great line from this movie the accidental tourist. "It not about whether or not I love you... it's how I feel about myself when I'm with you that matters." I've met so many people who contend that they're deeply "in love" with someone and yet whenever they're with that person they feel insecure, on edge, under appreciated and under valued. It's time to move on, eh? SO much easier said than done.

I don't think love is so tricky. I don't think falling in love and being in love are so totally different. I believe that I'm falling in love when I get to know people's real self and as they reveal themselves to me I find them more and more attractive. Falling in love is revealing my real self, as intimately as possible, and letting it be known.. opening it up to the possibility of being loved (and the possibility of being rejected and shunned). I can't be loved (by ANYONE) if I'm not known. (This is why "they" say you need to love yourself first... so you're firm in that fiercely independent part....) Being in love is what happens after you've fallen in love and it just seems to me that it's practicing being intimate. It's being willing to understand that not everyone is able to be intimate back at the same time, at the same moment, and that's okay.. because you can be intimate all the time even if someone else can't. If you "expect" the capacity of intimacy.. then you've ceased being intimate.

I'm way digressing.. and way going on and on and on.. but I hope there's some gem in here that comforts you during your weekend at home and as you tumble through these thoughts of Sex in the City... - Zu


just me said...

zu - My original blog post probably didn't make sense because it needed to be read in context with Scott Peck's book "The road less traveled" and his chapter on love.

Your thoughts though stand alone and I appreciate them. I've been thinking about this quote of yours a LOT lately "Intimacy, is being viscerally honest, without expectation. A pre-requisite, she said, for a capacity for deep intimacy, is being fiercely independent. The only way to truly act and speak without expectation is to cultivate a fierce independence." It came into my thoughts a lot this weekend. And it also comes to mind every time I think about "y" and "e" lately.

The only part of your thought that I'm not currently sure about is that 1) I do believe love and falling in love are different. But that's more from reading books and cerebral since who knows if I've ever been in love.

And 2) This line: "yet whenever they're with that person they feel insecure, on edge, under appreciated and under valued. It's time to move on, eh?" I partially agree... Have you read the book "The Four Agreements"? It's point is that nothing other people do is ever about me. It's always about them. And vice versa. So if I feel insecure around someone it may be I need to move on. It also may be I'm taking on their stuff on or I'm taking them personally.

Really great stuff! Thanks for sharing. And if you ever read that "Four Agreements book I'd love to hear what you think"

Zuzu said...

In terms of the bit about what other people do and it not being about you/me/us/the other - I agree. And what I like about the quote from the Accidental Tourist is that it doesn't suggest anything different, necessarily. But it talks about how you/I/the other FEELS about themselves in the context of that relationship and how essential that is.

I get that bit about how you can't make me feel unworthy - you act and I feel and perhaps never the twain shall meet (and sometimes they mightn't have ANYTHING to do with the other.) BUT, if in our relationships I'm alway left feeling unworthy in your presents - then whether the problem is your actions (or inactions) or my feelings is irrelevant, the relationship isn't working for me... even if I also feel a great deal of love for you. nes pas?

As to the bit about love... yes, yes... it's merely an opinion. We each likely experience love very differently (thank goodness!)

I'm very proud of your weekend with the parents.

Much love to you,