I hope you found yesterday’s post regarding Hope, Health, and Hugging to be helpful. If you just joined this journey, be sure to take the time to go back and read from the beginning. Without delay, let’s get to it and discuss the letter “I”.
Intimacy, Independence, Ice cream
Everyone has their own definition and understanding of the word intimacy. For the sake of this article, I really like the definition given by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Intimacy is, “a state marked by emotional closeness, a quality suggesting closeness or warmth, and something that is very personal or private.” This is a much more inclusive definition.
Many people think intimacy is the act of sexual intercourse. That may be true, but it’s not the only way to be intimate with someone. You can have intimate moments with family members and close friends. Intimacy is about the moment, not necessarily a specific action or event. Intimacy is a state or feeling.
In 2002, two pioneers of Positive Psychology, Ed Diener and Martin Seligman, conducted a study at the University of Illinois on the 10% of students with the highest scores recorded on a survey of personal happiness. They found that the most salient characteristics shared by students who were very happy and showed the fewest signs of depression were “their strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them.” (“The New Science of Happiness,” Claudia Wallis, Time Magazine, Jan. 09, 2005).
You don’t have to be married and in a sexual relationship with someone to be intimate and to feel intimacy. The above study also concluded, “to form a close relationship required a growing amount of ‘self-disclosure,’ or a willingness to reveal one’s personal issues and feelings.”
It’s important that you learn how to be a good listener as well as trusting and confiding in others. The fact is you have probably experienced this type and quality of relationship with someone at least once in your life. This is an individual who was supportive, encouraging, and safe to be with. Think about how you felt when you were with them. I bet you have a smile on your face right now.
Developing and maintaining a relationship/friendship with someone is hard work. You both have to work at it. But, the rewards are worth every bit of effort you put into it.
You have read the subtitle above and you’re thinking to yourself, how can I have an intimate relationship with someone and have independence at the same time. You can, and you should. Independence isn’t about being by yourself or being lonely. Independence means having the ability to feel happiness without depending on someone else to provide it for you.
Everyone needs to learn how to make themselves happy. Just because you’re in a relationship with someone doesn’t mean that person is going to be with you all of the time. And for the sake of your sanity and theirs, you both need to have your own “me” time.
The ability to find happiness in solitude without relying on someone else will go a long way in providing you a lifetime of happiness. You can try a new hobby, learn a foreign language, or any other activity that will provide you with hours of peace and tranquility. The key is to find things you enjoy doing.
Say what? Yes, it’s true, ice cream. Have you ever thought about how your mind stores memories? How is it able to combine a picture with a word, with a smell, with a sound, and even a certain taste? This is an extremely personal experience. There isn’t a computer or robot that will ever be able to feel this type of experience. That’s because it’s not an action or task. It’s a personal and emotional connection.
When I think about ice cream I am immediately reminded of moments in my childhood. Right now, I can envision the ice cream truck that came around to my neighborhood selling different ice cream products. I can hear the musical sound/melody the truck’s outside speaker was blaring. I can see other kids running towards the ice cream truck in great anticipation. All the while, even now, my face beams with a huge smile.
The point is that sometimes it’s really easy to find happiness. Right now, think back to some of the joyful experiences you have enjoyed in your life. Maybe they’re from your childhood or just a few years ago. I’m certain you have some. If it’s something like ice cream, then go treat yourself and indulge a little. If it’s something altogether different, look at pictures, a movie, draw what you can see in your mind, or just sit down and write about it. It’s there. Go enjoy it.
As we continue this journey together, I encourage you to keep reading. If you have yet to find your own how or why to happiness, I strongly believe you will. Please come back tomorrow as we explore the letter “J”.