Practicing Self Intimacy Can Nurture All Parts of Your Life
Including your relationship with others.
‘Intimacy.’ is defined as the awareness of your feelings, giving those feelings attention, and in caring for them, you can share more authentically with yourself and a trusted partner.
No one knows how you feel in your body more than you do. And no one knows what feels good to your body more than you do. When you’re able to connect to your innate and intimate self, you can cultivate a deeper connection with the person who knows you best — you. How this translates into deepened connection with your partner has, for too long, gone unrecognized.
What is Self Intimacy?
The word intimacy is often convoluted, over-simplified into being about penetrative sex with a partner. In actuality, intimacy is about building connection first, matching energies, and then exploring how the physical body can manifest those feelings, whether alone or with another.
The practice of creating a deep connection with the self first and foremost is the first step in self intimacy. “Cultivating a deep intimate relationship with yourself is about being a witness. Creating a safe and sacred space where you give yourself permission to show up wild, un-choreographed, and free to be the most authentic version of you,” says licensed psychotherapist, Sex Therapist, and Evolved Intimacy Coach Nicole Colleen.
Exploring self intimacy is about discovering your likes and dislikes, finding what your body craves and desires most, nurturing your emotions authentically, and giving these newfound aspects of self the attention they deserve. When you’re able to connect back to these senses, you’re able to cultivate healing, growth, and expansion in all parts of our lives; not to mention, this level of attunement translates into being a more attentive partner to others.
How to Cultivate Self Intimacy
Creating this rooted connection to our senses allows one to acknowledge and respond to emotional, mental, and physical cues from a more aligned place. If there is a sense of imbalance or unease, intimate self-connection gives you permission to answer these cues, and nurture them accordingly. For example, if an unwavering feeling of overwhelm or anxiety surfaces, a practice of self intimacy can help you utilize your learnings to shift you from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state. Touch therapy, for instance, can work wonders on an activated nervous system. Giving yourself a self-massage, placing your hands on your heart while taking deep belly breaths to slow down your heart rate, holding your hands in your lap, running your fingers up and down your legs and practicing mindful awareness to the sensations, are all ways of connecting to the self intimately, and, in tandem, allow you to drop deeper to a sense of physical connection with your body and its senses.
The Impact of Self Intimacy on Others
This kind of self connection and intimacy supports the way in which you show up in other relationships. “Intimacy asks that we take down all the masks, show up in all our vulnerability, and say, ‘Hey, this is me. Can you love and accept me in the most authentic expression of who I am?'” says Colleen. “We have to be able to answer that question with unwavering acceptance before we can ask that of someone else.”
This awareness affords the space to be present, aware, supportive, and genuine within your romantic, professional, and personal relationships. It is normal for fear to arise at first, but with practice, this degree of self-exposure will grow to feel safer and even become second nature. Learning how to support your needs is what gives the foundation for being able to hold space for others. When you show up grounded and centered in your interactions and truthful in your needs and desires, both parties benefit and are able to grow more truthfully. “How we intimately relate to the people in our world is a reflection of how we relate intimately to ourselves,” continues Colleen.
Self Connection and Wellness
Developing nurturing connections within relationships is a key pillar to wellness. The journey of self-discovery and achieving optimal health can often feel lonely and isolating. This is why having supportive and encouraging relationships is so important on the path. A primary way of calling in those relationships is by first knowing what kinds of relationships you desire most. And that knowledge comes from first nurturing your relationship with yourself — cultivated through the art of self intimacy.