“I want to be with those who know secret things. Or else, alone. “ ~Rainer Maria Rilke Tweet this
I recently read a beautifully poetic blog post on Space2Live entitled, “I Belong Deeply to Myself But I’ll Let You In: The Ebb and Flow of Introvert Intimacy”. It got me thinking about how being introverted can affect our approach to intimacy.
While many people fear being alone, introverts relish solitude. It feels good. If we are being true to our introverted nature, we have a deep and meaningful connection with our own mind and spirit. Put simply, we introverts are pretty good at being intimate with ourselves. That in itself is something to strive for. We can’t begin to love another person well if we don’t know how to love ourselves.
So we’ve nailed the first step towards intimacy with others. But what about the next step? And the next after that? Does being introverted help or hinder the creation of intimate relationships with others? Does it even make a difference?
“My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.” ~Warsan Shire Tweet this
I’m not the only one who has grappled with the above questions. Marilyn Monroe (who was probably an introvert, by the way) was known for being an easy breezy, bubbly blond. But in reality, she was an intensely introspective woman who loved great literature and wrote poetry.
One of Monroe’s unpublished poems talks about how our inherent aloneness both separates and intertwines us in a powerful way:
Only parts of us will ever
touch parts of others –
one’s own truth is just that really — one’s own truth.
We can only share the part that is within another’s knowing acceptable so one
is for most part alone.
As it is meant to be in
evidently in nature — at best perhaps it could make
our understanding seek
another’s loneliness out.
Our aloneness mirrors the separation we see in nature. It creates a barrier between us and ‘them’. Or so it seems. In reality, the understanding that we reach in solitude helps us to connect with others who share our perspective. Even if that perspective was reached in a solitary state – especially if it was.
For it is when we are alone that we are most authentically ourselves. With no one around to impose their beliefs on us, we can connect with deeper, universal truths. We can discern our thoughts and feelings from those of another person or society as a whole.
Being intimately aware of who we are and what we believe prepares us for intimacy with others. Tweet this
The tricky part for introverts is giving up a portion of our blissful solitude in order to be intimate with another. Firstly, we must decide who is worthy to know our truth. Who can bear the weight of our thoughts, ideas and dreams? Who will honor the privilege of being accepted into our inner world? And how much small talk must we endure to find them?
Then it’s time to get naked.
Emotionally naked, that is. Creating intimacy with another person involves a level of honesty and transparency that can feel a whole lot like going skinny dipping … in a public pool … in broad daylight. It is not easy for anyone.
“I felt naked. I felt as perhaps a bird may feel in the clear air knowing the hawk wings above and will swoop.” ~H.G Wells
The question remains, is being intimate with others any harder for introverts than it is for everyone else?
What do you think?
P.S. You can discover more insights and advice related to introvert relationships in my Introvert Connection Guide. Get it for free here. 🙂
Interesting question at the end of your entry…
For me, I don’t find the difficulty in being intimate with others. I find the difficulty in whether the person with whom I am being intimate is able to make the connection in depth (emotionally, conversationally, etc.). I think the difficulty for me sometimes is whether I want to push for more depth, or resign myself to an unsatisfying level of intimacy, socially or romantically.
Monroe’s unpublished poem, which you included above (thank you!), resonates with me: We can only share the part that *is* within another’s knowing acceptable… Each one of us is more than a collection of soundbytes best heard between commercials. We *are* the story.
I crave depth and details in conversation, whether a funny story or shared vulnerability. I find myself often on the receiving end of them, and not the other way around – unless I am hanging out with an introvert like myself! 🙂
I just find it hard to find (new) people to which I can relate to. Depending on which mood I’m in, I hate all people. On other moods I find them interesting. I created a routine in my life in which I feel comfortable but I realize, it doesn’t let me meet a lot of new people. But then again, those few times I do step out of my comfort zone, I’m usually too nervous to really open up for possibilities. Darn! 🙂
I read this poem of Marilyn years ago when I discovered a book about all her private notations. Since then, I just KNEW we were connected (in spirit).