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Gail Petrowsky

INTIMACY….WHAT IS IT ANYWAY?

I am reminded of a story about intimacy. I had been asked to give feedback and guide a relatively new seminar leader who was giving a talk on this topic. A large crowd showed up to learn more about intimacy and to use this forum to ask questions and learn. I sat in the room listening as people were beginning to share openly and I quickly became dismayed as I observed the lack of warmth, interaction and connection the facilitator had with those who were speaking. The leader was so busy looking at her notes to see what was next she needed to cover, that she missed what was happening in the present moment right in front of her. Others were taking a risk and sharing openly, asking questions and being vulnerable and still no real connection was happening. I watched as people started to become quiet and began to shut down. You see a facilitator has to be a skilled door opener for people and allow them to be able to walk through and resolve any issues they may have. Connecting the dots in our lives is a completion process that is vital before we can move forward. 

I vividly remember getting up from my seat and walking down the aisle of this large room filled with people. The Facilitator was still busy turning pages in her book. She did not see me until I was standing right in front of her. I could not help myself as I whispered without a microphone, just for her ears alone, “How can you lead a group on Intimacy when you hardly make any eye contact at all??”, I put her on the spot and hopefully she learned a tough lesson about being present for another without any distractions. This is the core of what intimacy is all about!

How many of us are texting, or looking at our cell phones, distracted when we are with someone who is talking to us?? How many disconnects have you experienced in your relationships both personally and professionally? If your experience of a person whether they are a family member or not is less than satisfying, how often will you repeat being open and vulnerable with them? We hurt each other sometimes unintentionally by being more focused on something else than those who are right in front of us like our children , spouses, parents, friends and colleagues. We each have a profound effect on each other. Being more acutely aware will not only bring success in every direction, including feeling good about who you are, you will also leave others feeling good about themselves as they have just been heard. What a gift that is for all involved! A real wow! 

While leading a 2-day men’s seminar one of the big questions was what exactly intimacy is. Part of my answer wasn’t what they were looking for. Some were surprised to learn that what their significant others really wanted was real one on one time and being heard. Ok they said this is getting good, still thinking we were going farther I asked if they really knew what their special people really wanted from their relationships with them. What was important besides listening skills and no interruptions was eye contact. Intimacy was already being co-created just by being there for each other. There was so much more that weekend however this was a vital piece. Many men and women called to say thank you. 

Our presence and who we are is special and not giving the time to others of really being in the moment with them cuts you off from experiencing the true gift that you both could have. In a real sense this is the core of being successful in every walk of life, personally and professionally. We all deserve to be with someone without life’s distractions in that moment! What a difference we could all make in one another’s lives just by being more aware. 

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