No, I’m not speaking in tongues! “Into-me-see” is one of my favorite phrases. It’s a wordplay on ‘intimacy’ sounding like ‘into me, you see.’ It’s a catchy way of describing intimacy as the ability for someone to truly see into you.
But there’s a catch.
We can’t genuinely allow others to see into us if we can’t even see into ourselves.
So, let’s get intimate with this topic.
Disconnection from Self
Someone I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from over the years is Gabor Mate. He has this way of discussing trauma that really sparks something in me. According to Gabor, we’re all traumatized by our society.
There’s so much truth in that!
Our societal conditioning suppresses our emotions, interrupts our natural rhythms, and often discourages us from engaging with nature or staying active. As a result, we disconnect from our authenticity. And once we’re disconnected from self, it’s impossible to experience true intimacy.
True intimacy always begins with self.
Sadly, disconnection from self often happens in childhood. As children, we rely solely on adults to help us understand the world. We place complete trust in what society and adults teach us. And when certain needs aren’t met, we quickly learn to adapt. People often talk about children being resilient, but it’s more about being adaptive. We learn to take on specific roles and behaviors that will gain us more love, attention, or safety in our home environments.
This is exactly how patterns are born. Some of us may have become the ‘quiet ones’, learning that our parents only gave us attention when we didn’t voice opinions, while others turned into people pleasers because no one gave them attention until they put on a mask to become someone different.
As we age, those patterns stick. So, if we continue to live our lives based on the defensive survival strategies we developed as children, we can’t fully express our authentic selves. And if we can’t express our authentic selves…
You guessed it—we’ll struggle to find intimacy.
Pushing Back Against Society
Because of our experiences as children where we didn’t feel safe being our authentic selves, it can feel incredibly vulnerable to embrace intimacy. And there’s often no one around to help guide us when we hit our teens and early twenties. We live in a culture that lacks intimacy, so many people struggle to understand their own emotions. It’s like they’re not even aware of the distinction between the masks or roles they adopted in childhood versus their true selves.
What helped me during those informative years was breathwork, and it’s why I’m so passionate about sharing breathwork with others. Our culture explicitly discourages us from embracing intimacy, but breathwork puts us face-to-face with ourselves. Breathing is being intimate with oneself and shedding those defensive layers.
By delving into a deeper part of ourselves that’s genuine—which I think of as the innate and essential self—only then can we truly experience intimacy.
I know it can be scary at first. It’s overwhelming to think about reconnecting with your true self because being that authentic may not have been acceptable or safe when you were a child. Love might’ve been given to you conditionally, with various expectations and requirements attached.
So, the basic foundation for intimacy lies in our ability to revisit and learn how to shed the masks we wear, the rules we follow, and the survival strategies we’ve been using subconsciously.
Now, I don’t mean to imply that these defenses have zero use. In certain situations, having a protective mask can serve a purpose, like in certain work situations.
But, in order to truly experience a sense of connection, we must prioritize cultivating intimacy with ourselves. We need to be willing to reveal our authentic selves so we can experience everything wonderful that life wants to provide.
Core Wounds and Fostering Connection in Relationships
To establish genuine connections with others, it’s essential to lower our protective mechanisms and defenses. It’s too challenging to truly experience intimacy with guards up! This is especially true in the context of romantic relationships, where couples often find themselves operating from their defensive mechanisms.
When many couples first meet, connection and intimacy feels effortless. They talk with each other about their lives and goals, and may dig into deeper topics. Each of them might actually feel seen and understood for the first time in their lives.
But, I’m going to burst your bubble here…
This is a false sense of intimacy!
Yes, you are making a connection, but the early stages of relationships are all about infatuation. And infatuation comes from heightened doses of “love hormones” (dopamine and norepinephrine) that will make you feel giddy and like you’re floating on clouds.
But, as any couple in a long-term relationship will tell you, that heightened infatuation eventually fades. New couples haven’t yet gone through the trenches together.
Let’s face it: relationships are hard! Society gives us a false narrative that if it’s “true love” then everything should be easy. If it isn’t, then we’re with the wrong person or in the wrong relationship or it’s the wrong season of our lives, etc. We’re supposed to ride off into the sunset together and live happily ever after—that’s what real love is!
Sorry, but that’s not realistic at all.
As infatuation fades, the core wounds within each individual begin to surface and both partners may start to get triggered. When core wounds are triggered in a couple, their old protective mechanisms tend to take over. It often results in a dynamic where the couple ends up battling each other, again and again.
For example, one individual’s core wound may revolve around feeling a deep sense of insignificance or ‘ don’t matter,’ while the other’s wound might be centered around a belief of helplessness or ‘I can’t do anything.’ So if Partner A unconsciously ignores or overlooks the needs of Partner B (who feels insignificant), Partner B may lash out at Partner A. Partner A didn’t even realize they were doing anything wrong so, just being human, they feel like they can’t do anything right.
And the cycle continues.
This is a common pattern with new couples that, over time, gets compounded, leading to less and less intimacy. What couples might think they’re arguing about is each other, but really, it’s their individual core wounds that are fighting.
The work, in this case, would be for each partner to take responsibility for their core wounds. It’s about learning what these wounds are, learning how to work with them, and sharing them with each other. This act of sharing breeds intimacy, leading to a deeper connection.
True intimacy comes from being raw and real—it goes way deeper than infatuation to a level where each partner is authentic, open, and genuinely vulnerable.
Strength in Vulnerability
Growing up, my parents never had emotionally intimate conversations. They didn’t talk about their emotions at all. My parents saw themselves as intellectuals and framed emotions as something they were too educated for. Emotions, for them, were primitive.
As you can imagine, I struggled with emotions and often repressed them.
But I know my story isn’t unique—a lot of us have grown up in environments that treated emotions poorly. For some families, they never talked about anything deep, while for others, emotions became unsafe because adults were constantly overexpressing themselves or ‘vomiting’ feelings.
That’s an important insight: Being emotionally intimate means finding a balance between two extremes. You don’t want to repress your emotions, yet you don’t want to constantly be flooded with them either. Vomiting your emotional energy or projecting your emotions onto other people isn’t the same as sharing and understanding each other’s feelings.
Being vulnerable can help us find balance.
Now, we’re often taught to be tough and strong, and somehow that’s seen as the opposite of vulnerability.
I don’t find that to be true. The more vulnerable I’ve become, the stronger I am.
In my Breath Is Prayer Ceremonies, I always start everyone off with a very vulnerable share to help foster that strength within them. Each short, vulnerable share, allows people to connect on a deeper level. It gives everyone present a sense that we’re all on the same plane, together.
The message I want everyone to understand is: It’s safe to be vulnerable.
We’re all human, going through our own stuff. We all have our vulnerable moments and experiences.
The more I’ve embraced vulnerability, the more intimacy I’ve felt with myself and others. I feel much more cohesive as a person now. Before, because of my upbringing and for many years, it was like there were two sides of me: the outside person and the inside person. This dichotomy felt so fragile, especially when I was in my 20s. I felt like people saw me one way—strong and capable—but inside, I felt very fragile.
Vulnerability brought me back to myself and back to intimacy.
As always, I’m a work in progress, and that’s ok with me.
Take A Step Toward Intimacy
If you feel a nudge inside you or a pull or a deep knowing, I’m always here to help you explore vulnerability and intimacy with yourself and in your relationships. After all, that’s why I’m a Life & Intimacy Coach!
Breaking through how you’ve been conditioned by society and understanding your core wounds is a journey, and I would love to share my tools and experience with you, being your guide for this part of the path.
Let’s book a free 15-minute discovery call to discuss how coaching can help you reconnect with your authentic self.