Another Exercise for Healing Fear of Intimacy

When I wrote yesterday about fear of intimacy, I spoke of how, for me it was about fear of abandonment and fear of rejection. Fear of loss is also a lurker in there for me and I believe, closely tied to that fear of abandonment.
When I first began opening up my heart to a man, it felt extremely scary and anxiety-inducing. There were a couple of times that it felt just so overwhelming that I considered leaving in the middle of the night. I would find myself feeling so vulnerable that it was almost unbearable. It was utterly intense and I had a very low tolerance for it. I had a low tolerance for intimacy because I had guarded my heart from it so diligently for most of my life.
I began opening myself up a bit here and there with strangers and with my close friends. Then I started opening up a bit to the man in my life. The first guy I started opening up to, was one of those unavailable men who I talked about in the previous article. It seems he had a fear of intimacy as well, so neither one of us had much tolerance for it.
If you find yourself in this situation, I’d like to encourage you to do it anyway. It feels unsafe at first, but there are very few men out there who will intentionally hurt you. When you start opening up, even if they have their own fear of intimacy, they will treat you gently. Trust that.
If you have a fear of intimacy, this is actually a rather ideal situation, because you won’t be able to go too deep (and scare yourself too badly) because he won’t allow you to. And it’s better to know, if you’re looking for a lasting relationship (which I believe most of us are) now, than to find out a year down the road. Don’t you think?
If you keep practicing this, the Universe will bring you the man who will walk through this with you. Trust that, as well. One fear that you will have to face in your quest to overcome fear of intimacy, is that the guy your with, may not be the one to take this journey with you. There may have to be other guys. You will have to face that fear of potential loss, and may have to experience it. The way I see it though, is if I can’t overcome my fear of intimacy, I’ll lose him anyway at some point. So I might as well do some intensive healing work around this now, so it doesn’t become a life-long problem. Agreed?

If you’re still reading this, you must be with me. Yahoo!
So, beginning this frightening, nerve-wracking, anxiety-inducing journey, will be worth it all in the end. This healing went very quickly for me once I committed myself to it, so I trust it will go quickly for you, as well. Keep your eye on the prize, ladies. You can do this.
As I mentioned earlier, once I found the guy who was more tolerant of intimacy than I was, and who wanted to talk with me about our future together, it felt incredibly scary and I felt vulnerable almost to the point of being intolerable. But I stuck with it. I would come home and do the exercise I wrote about in the first part of this article, for overcoming fear. Eventually (within a couple of weeks) I became more tolerant of the vulnerable feeling, but I still felt as if I couldn’t tolerate the amount of intimacy I was feeling with him (and I’m talking about emotional intimacy here, which can certainly be sexual, but really goes much deeper than that).
I was reading on one of my favorite blogs and came across some information stating that we all have a “thermostat” for the amount of intimacy we can handle. This made sense to me. At the same time, I came across some information about someone (Christine Arylo, who I’ve spoken of in previous posts) giving and receiving love from her beloved dog as part of her daily ritual. So…I took both sets of information and thought, “aha! This is perfect!” And thus was born the exercise I’ll share with you next.
I call this the “unconditional love exercise” and this is the reason for the picture of my pooch on this post. This exercise has really opened my heart to giving and receiving love and helped me to feel more comfortable with it and raise my “thermostat”. Because really, what better way is there to raise your tolerance for love than to experience it with a being who loves unconditionally?
The way this worked is, I began everyday for a few weeks, telling my dog, “let’s snuggle.” She would climb up in my lap (and she’s a big dog, so it would probably have been fun to watch.) And then I would wrap my arms around her and get quiet and concentrate on feeling her love coming at me. It feels a bit like warmth around the heart area. And I would practice letting that love well up in me and tell her sweet things, like “you’re such a good girl,” and “I love you.” Then I would concentrate on sending that warmth I felt in my heart, back to her.
If it works better for you to send your love and then feel it coming back, you can do it that way, too. There really is no right or wrong way, just try it and see what works for you. I imagine this exercise would also work with a baby (and many of you moms out there may already practice this subconsciously) or… a cat. Although, as we all know, cats do what they want, so they may not be as cooperative.
Let me know how this works for you.
Sending love and warm wishes for healing. -M

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