Experiencing a lack of connection in your relationships?
Although you may feel like it, you're definitely not alone.
If you're one of the 54% of people who feel isolated from others, a lack of self-intimacy may be a big part of the problem.
In our society, we tend to view words like 'selfish' or 'self-conscious' in a negative light. Of course, our ability to connect with others is fundamental to our very survival. However, this idea can backfire when we become so programmed to putting others ahead of ourselves, we hardly know who we are anymore.
The truth is, real intimacy (both physical and emotional) starts with you.
The path to self-love is littered with obstacles. After all, we all have our own insecurities to bear. For many women, extreme self-consciousness or even outright self-loathing about their weight or looks, can significantly erode sexual intimacy with their partners. In fact, one UK survey reported that 52% of women felt reluctant to be intimate with their partners due to a lack of confidence about their bodies.
Self-intimacy is the first critical step in getting to know ourselves — not only so that we can become closer with others — but so that we can finally see that we're actually pretty perfect, just as we are.
What is self-intimacy?
If this is the first time you've heard the term 'self-intimacy', it may sound a little 'out there'. It's far from new, however. The ancient Greeks called it 'philautia', which literally means 'self-love'.
According to Melissa Orlov, author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage, 'self-intimacy is about being aware of your own feelings, caring about those feelings, and sharing them with your partner.' But it's not all talk, either. Melissa explains:
'Self-intimacy, and the sharing of your feelings it implies, isn’t just about being verbal. Some people are better at expressing themselves non-verbally. But whether you are a verbal or non-verbal communicator, being in touch with your own feelings on a regular basis helps you thrive with your partner over the long-term.'
The ability to look at our behaviors objectively is a pretty big deal for those of us living in today's world, where the vast majority of people are running 100 mph on auto-pilot. We act unconsciously, we let our minds wander, we have no real idea what's wrong. By developing self-awareness, we can start to notice and heal our emotions moment to moment until eventually, we look up one day and realize that feeling well is the default, not the outlier.
A study by the University of Michigan found that people who were able to look at a situation from an 'outsider's perspective,' were less at risk of experiencing depressive symptoms. The best part? It doesn't have to require hours of therapy or an expensive 3-week yoga retreat.
Here are 3 simple ways to make self-intimacy a habit.
Keep a journal
You've probably heard this advice before. But did you know that there is a firm body of evidence proving that writing about emotional events (both good and bad) can improve your physical and psychological health?
If you don't think of yourself as much of a 'writer', start with just 10 minutes a day and see what you can get out of your head and down on paper. Another option is to try a video diary which can be a surprisingly effective way to discover important insights about yourself.
Have your own back
Feeling isolated is the worst kind of pain. Peaceful solitude, however, is one of life's most delicious gifts. Whether it's spending a day at home alone or going out solo for coffee or a movie, doing things on your own can build confidence and help strengthen your inner bond. Or, why not go bold? Take yourself on a relaxing holiday or sign up for a new class without knowing a single person in it.
Learn to self-soothe (the healthy way)
Stress is a habit. And the best way to break a habit is to replace it with a better one. When you're feeling distant or down, take a minute to find out what you really need. In many cases, better food choices or a little extra exercise can be exactly what you need to offset the negative emotions.
Whether it's something as simple as passing on that second cup of coffee and reaching for the water instead, you'll be amazed how the tiniest of changes can move mountains over time.
Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship there is. And it's critical to maintaining a deeper connection with your partner (including all the great sex that goes with it).
At vFit, we're on a mission to help more women live their best lives. Did you know 89% of our study participants felt increased confidence with intercourse after trying vFit?
Ready to feel connected to yourself and your partner again? Take the step to self-intimacy today.