February is the month to show someone you love them. We see ads for flowers, chocolates, sleepwear and dinners for two. While it is cheerful and colorful and fun, one would hope that sharing intimacy with the ones you love and care about is not a one day affair. Intimacy is that deep personal attachment we form with important people in our lives. Intimacy occurs as a two-way street. We receive it and give it back. We are intimate with our family, friends, pets, long-term romantic relationships and spousal relationships. Intimacy does not occur automatically. It is something we need to develop and nurture.
In our busy lives, when we are facing job and financial stressors, when we hold two jobs and when we face something like MS, intimacy often diminishes or disappears. Intimacy is not about sex although it often includes it. It is about hugs, cuddles, pecks on the cheek, notes to each other, tender touches and sharing a quiet cup of tea. Intimacy is about feeling safe, sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment. Culturally, not all of us know how to be intimate. Our families may not have taught us. Different cultures view and demonstrate intimacy differently. Gender issues may play a role with different expressions of intimacy between men and women. Personalities differ and may not be as willing to accept or give expressions of intimacy.
After reading this, do you need to set aside time each day to nurture the relationships in your life? Do you need to tell someone that you love them and that they are important in your life? If you find this difficult to do, you may want to work with a professional to get started on communicating your feelings-either individually or with those important to you. Asking for intimacy can be difficult as well. Working on this issue will reap huge rewards for a lifetime.