There’s a paradox regarding intimacy. You would think that healthy intimacy is centered on what happens between two people. Yet relationship experts (such as David Schnarch and John Gottman) know that to have sustainable, nourishing relationships, you have to have a strong and deep alliance with yourself. This isn’t just a simple idea to breeze by without contemplation. Think of it this way: you are a ship on the sea of life and self knowledge is your anchor. If your anchor is substantial then there is no risk of losing yourself. It is your job to develop and cultivate that anchor.
Part of this relationship with yourself is the ability to focus inward to observe your own inner terrain. In this way you can discover what you need, adjust your self care accordingly, and rediscover your ever changing balance. One way of doing this is through various meditations or other check-in techniques such as the body scan. These practices allow us the time and space to be with ourselves and strengthen our ability to quiet the mind, look inward, and observe ourselves.
Another aspect of this “self-relationship” is delving into the idea of knowing yourself. Although this is a bit like a fish knowing water…who you are is all around you, yet somehow challenging to actually view. Still, one way you can explore the bigger picture of who you are is through personality profiles such as the Myers & Briggs and the Enneagram, or using a well-normed strengths assessment such as the Gallup StrengthsFinder.
Exploring who you are is not linear. It’s not something you accomplish and then you’re done. It’s not even a solo effort. It’s an ever-changing creative dance of learning and becoming.