TED* Works!™ in Relationships – February is the month of Valentine’s Day – a time to celebrate love, romance and gifts of acknowledging the important relationships in our lives.  So, this month, the focus of “TED* Thoughts” is on applying TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) to relationships.

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Valentine’s Day was last week.  The day before, I was having a conversation with a colleague about the day and she shared that she and her husband had mutually decided several years earlier not to celebrate it.

Before you think them “love Scrooges” (“bah humbug!”), hear their reason: why let a “Hallmark Day” determine when to surprise each other with ways to celebrate their love and romance?  She assured me that she had many such days in the course of a year – as did her husband from her.

It got me thinking even more about intimacy in important relationships, whether it is a spouse, a significant other, a family member or anyone in your life for whom you feel appreciation and connection.  In fact, intimacy is a quality of relationship you can extend to anyone with whom you interact.

Here a couple of definitions of intimacy found on line:

 ·         “innermost: relating to or involving the innermost nature of something” and “closely connected: very close because of the influence of one thing or another.”

It has been said that intimacy actually means “into me see.”  Connecting our innermost nature with the innermost nature of another is what intimacy is really about.

How do we practice intimacy?

The key to this practice† is being fully present with the other in a way that is non-judgmental and meets them where they are.

One feels heard when you can feed back to them the content or essence of their perspective or what they are saying.  To do this, it helps tremendously to be able to listen for understanding or possibility.  You can hear someone – even if you disagree with their stand or perspective.  It’s as simple as saying to the other “here’s what I hear you saying;” feeding back a summary of what they said; and asking “did I understand you correctly?”

One knows they are seen when you give them your undivided attention – if only in that particular moment.  While you might encounter the other in a role they play in the world – be that a clerk, or a co-worker, or a customer/client, or a loved one – to respond to them as a person (rather than just a role), they inherently feel seen as a Creator.

One feels loved when someone gives us the gift of their presence – especially through being heard and seen.  I heard a distinction a number of years ago that has been extremely helpful at times: I can love you even if, in a particular moment, I do not like you because of what you are doing or how you are showing up.

Intimacy is not a quality of relationship reserved for a particular day or a particular someone.  It is a connection when we meet anyone Creator-to-Creator.

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† Friend and colleague, Mark Jones, CEO of the Integral Wellness group, developed this practice after meeting privately with the Dalai Lama. In that brief conversation, the Dalai Lama pointed out that all people want and need three things: to be Heard, Seen, and Loved.