Authenticity is a prerequisite to intimacy. There are many layers to authentic connections, communication being only part of it. Authenticity is a learned skill that needs to be nurtured and reinforced.
Unfortunately, most of us do not learn to relate authentically as children. Knowing this as an adult usually requires more internal work than most would recognize. It requires some risks, but it is so worth it.
Authentic connections require several elements:
1. Safety in relationships. This is particularly true in complicated relationships
with people who lack emotional intelligence – and are especially hard to achieve.
2. Self-acceptance. Learning to accept ourselves (and others) as perfectly imperfect humans is also necessary. This quality leads to relationship and emotional safety, as discussed in more detail.
3. Self-awareness. Self-awareness enables us to understand more about who we are and what makes us tick. It is about embracing strengths, limitations, good and not-so-good qualities, sensitivities, and vulnerabilities.
As we come to terms with the fact that we are all these things, not either/or, we realize how this ‘messiness that is me’ affects our relationships. It allows us to find ways to work with the messiness instead of denying it.
Compassion for ourselves can be one of the outcomes of accepting who we are, warts and all. As we learn self-compassion and acceptance, we can better feel and express empathy for others in all their messiness.
Conscious risk-taking involves piecing all these elements together with the ability to recognize who can reciprocate. Not everyone is capable of emotional
intimacy. Many are unable to cope with open and honest connections. Conscious risk-taking allows you to determine when and with whom it is safe to be authentic.
Learn more about these elements and enjoy the journey!
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