Whether it’s your romantic relationship, a platonic friendship or even a family relationship, intimacy and connection are the foundation to healthy relationships.
Being connected to one another is what helps us thrive in all areas of life. Healthy relationships ripple out into every aspect of your life.
With Valentine’s Day having just passed, this article is to give you practical tools and tips specific to communicating in a way that develops and deepens intimacy and connection in all your relationships for the rest of the month.
Everyone is human
Firstly, the most important thing to remember in any conversation is that the person you’re talking to has an entire inner world of thoughts, feelings and perceptions. You can only see and hear what’s happening on the outside. Words and speaking are used as a way to communicate what’s inside, but remember that your partner might not be hearing what you’re meaning underneath of your words. They also might not be communicating their own thoughts and feelings at the depth of what’s going on beneath their words.
Remembering this in any conversation helps you have compassion for another person and also patience if they aren’t hearing or understanding what you’re trying to articulate. Being in a space of compassion always helps build and strengthen intimacy and connection between the two people.
Know your intent
Secondly, whenever you’re approaching an important conversation, get clear before going in to it what your specific intention is, meaning what is the purpose of what you’re about to say. What’s your why? This can drastically shift and change the energy and outcome of a conversation! Often times, we think we’re communicating with one intention but in truth what’s happening below the surface is completely different.
If you go into a conversation with a clear intention to connect with the other person, as opposed to wanting to make them understand a point you want to make or venting your own emotions, your bring a particular energy to the conversation. Often times, people aren’t clear on what intention they’re acting from when approaching communication with others. Go into the conversation with a clear intent for creating connection and intimacy.
Understand that love is there
Thirdly, see your partner as the loving essence that they are. At our core, we are all loving beings who desire connection and intimacy with others. When you consciously make the decision to see the other person at this level of their truth, you communicate from a space of your heart instead of your head, which builds and deepens intimacy and connection. Being rooted in your heart and speaking from this place also helps your partner sink into a heart connection. This is such a beautiful space to be in with another person. It’s the space intimacy and connection come from.
Perception is key
Lastly, practice perception checking. What is perception checking? This ties back into the first point of remembering that the other person has an entire world going on inside of them of thoughts, feelings and perceptions. They have their own hopes, intentions, dreams, and desires. As well as their own fears, doubts, and challenges. Often these aren’t things that people will openly speak about. Keep in mind that they will perceive what you’re saying according to their own inner world and beliefs. No two people have the exact same inner world!
This one acknowledgement can drastically shift any relationship. Simply remembering that you probably aren’t sharing the same perspective in any given moment because you’re each seeing through a different set of eyes and through a different internal lens.
To perception check is to repeat what you think you heard the other person say. For example, “What I thought I heard you say was ________.” and repeat what you heard them say, how you perceived it. This isn’t about getting it right either! This question simply gives an opportunity for clarity and for your partner to feel understood. Feeling understood is important in building and deepening intimacy and connection in any relationship.
Over time, the more you practice these skills, the more natural and easy they become so that you’re incorporating them into your conversations and ways of communicating all the time.
This Valentine’s season, practice using these skills to experience more intimacy and connection with your love, friends, or family. Notice how the dynamic of your relationship shifts, deepens, and how both of you feel more connected.