“Sex, for instance, is contact par excellence. At its best, two bodies intertwine and two souls join as one. But the sexual encounter can also exemplify non-contact. Two bodies move and touch, but the two souls remain distracted and estranged.” – Piero Ferrucci
Intimacy (Into me see) can be a shared expression between lovers of self-awareness. To be seen by your partner is to see yourself too. To be safe with yourself, while being seen (physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually) by your partner, is to offer a safe place for your partner to be seen.
A client and I discussed this idea in session recently. A metaphor using an albino cave-dwelling fish which has lost its sight surfaced during the counseling session. It was useful as a way to understand how someone could be blind to their behavior when it is obvious to others.
The eyesight of the fish hasn’t been used and therefore the capacity for vision in the fish atrophied. The fish still have eyes – they just don’t see anything. I believe we all have a capacity for self-awareness but that it can be lost (atrophy) without regular use. Self-awareness is a kind of inner sight or insight that only I can have about me – the same goes for you.
In Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages the work of developing an identity (Identity versus Role Confusion) comes before the work of intimacy (Intimacy versus Isolation), as life stages, knowing self comes before sharing that knowledge with someone.
When I am important enough to myself to learn all about me, I can see what is important about human beings. Then I can connect with others at a deeper level because my awareness of me makes me more aware of you.
One Thing to Do: Start a self-map. Ask yourself how you think about things. Write down what you think about something interesting to you like; power, poverty, pain, or playing. Then write about how you came to think that way. This helps in discovering the origins of your way of thinking.
Dawna Daigneault, Ed.S., LPC.