Creating Fierce and Meaningful Relationships: Tips to Embracing Intimacy and Setting BoundariesJul 25, 2023
Storytime with Kate
yes, there's a point...to your dreams, your fantasies, and the things you long for ✨
So in my email a few weeks ago I shared that I'm writing a weekly love letter to my last week's self and my next week's self.
I'm loving this practice.
And when I wrote my letter to last week DAMN AM I PROUD OF HER.
I've had so many relationships in my life that have felt lonely. Like, I like the other person but I don't feel like we're all that close, it doesn't get all that deep, or that feeling of "I could take it or leave it" - a feeling of being misunderstood pretty regularly or generally unseen. "They just don't get me."
Throughout my life, I've truly *wanted* to feel something different. Something close and deep and meaningful.
I was under the impression that the lack of intimacy and connection that I was feeling in my relationships was a me thing. That somehow it was something that other people knew how to do, but I didn't. The industry of self-help and wellness kinda re-enforced this for me too. I got this message of, "fix yourself and then other people will be able to love you."
That is, until I met Ruby. For those of you who don't know, Ruby and I are best friends AND business partners - something I've literally been warned against: being in business with your friends.
But you know that book "If You Give A Mouse a Cookie?" Well, I'm the Mouse and Ruby is my cookie, so I'm not only gonna want to be friends, I'm gonna want to work together, and officiate her wedding, and create a whole fucking save-the-world-from-loneliness curriculum that we facilitate through the Self Study Program that we've seen work on ourselves AND on over 65 people in the past 3 years.
Call me a dreamer. I'm fine with that. Look at my wildest dreams coming true 😈
While on a Heartfelt Retreat in 2015, I wrote in my journal in all caps, "STAY CLOSE TO RUBY." I knew, in that moment, that Ruby was someone I wanted to be with, like, for my life. And if it was going to be different with her, then I'd have to do things differently. In that moment, I committed to doing what it takes to not ever resent her. Because for me, that's when a relationship starts to end.
*pro tip re: resentment: where there's resentment, there's a boundary that needs to be set*
What I grew up seeing in relationships was a lot of resentment. A lot of compromising and empathy for the other person without including myself. Giving grace without asking for it for myself. Offering compassion without ever receiving any. Listening without ever being heard...
Last week, Ruby and I had to really hash it out. We had to say the hard things. We had to share parts of ourselves with each other that we're embarrassed about - parts that are hard for us to look at ourselves, much less share them with each other. We had to ask the other one to help us.
Ruby had to confront her co-dependence and I had to confront my hyper-independence. Our triggers - isn't that cute?
BUT NOT ONLY did Ruby and I have to make time for this re-connection but we ALSO had to have a big business conversation and ask the coach that we hired to show up better for us. AND you wanna know something?! HE IS showing up better for us. He IMMEDIATELY implemented our asks.
AND ALSO I had to have a big conversation with someone I was dating about how we were going to move forward - or actually, not move forward because I'm not getting what I want out of it. I'm not getting that juicy, sexy, intimacy that I've always longed for in a romantic partner.
I've worked hard for over a decade to try and have these intimacy-building conversations with people in my life because I LONG FOR, I fantasize about, and I WANT close relationships in my life that are FIERCELY supportive, firm, and solid.
and wow I have that! I have that with Ruby, I have it with other close friends, and I even have it with myself - that kind of firm love. The kind that tells me that I need to get out of bed and go move my body before I decide that I'm depressed and need another day of doom scrolling. The kind that tells me that the diet-culture voice is trying to have a say and we don't do that anymore, so no. The kind that says, "honey, this isn't your fault and you need to take a step back."
And because I'm having big conversations with the people that I'm casually dating, I know that I won't feel lonely with a partner. Because I bring my full self to relationships now - and I'm not responsible for whether or not the other person is able to meet me. And that doesn't make them bad if they can't. It just doesn't make the relationship right for me.
Now, I have the kind of relationships that I've dreamt about. What I've always wanted is possible because I'm experiencing it. I've also practiced it. And failed at it. And lost some of those lonely relationships. In the moment, that's truly sucked every time. And also, it's always made space for what's next.
My advice? Let your fantasies run wild, then tell people what they are, then see what happens :)
What do you long for?
What's the story that makes you believe that what you want isn't actually possible?
*one that we hear a lot is "the way that it already is, isn't all that bad."*
How are you cultivating the world that you want to live in?!
Some things I've learned that are required for intimacy
- Learn how to say and mean "I'm so sorry I hurt you." instead of trying so hard to not make mistakes in the first place.
- Practice saying, "hey I didn't feel good about how we left it last time. Can we talk?"
- Love your anger but don't take it out on someone else. Take it out on a kettlebell, and then communicate the rest from the heart.
- Practice letting someone else's feelings be theirs, instead of your fault.
- How you feel in the relationship matters too.
- Ask for an apology when you need one.
- Stop trying to control the other person *or save them.* Instead, get to know them.
- Stop trying to control, censor, or fix yourself. Instead, get close.
- Words matter. So do actions and behaviors.
- You're not perfect and neither are they.
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