The holidays are upon us and we will spend more time with family, friends, and intimate partners than any other time of the year. Yet, even with the closest of partners, friends, or family, we may feel misunderstood, disconnected, or not seen or heard. Being seen, heard, and accepted for who we are is one of the most important elements in any intimate relationship.
Many of us feel disconnected when people do not understand us, do not feel the way we feel, or do not see things the way we see them. Even communicating with others can be difficult when they seem to have different a perspective or opinion. Despite these challenges, we still have a strong, innate need to connect with others, to feel a sense of love and belonging. We have a deep soul desire to create better, more intimately connected and loving relationships.
Here are 7 Ways to Cultivate Intimacy and Connection Around the Holidays:
Express appreciation and gratitude. Appreciation for another person opens us to feelings of love, vulnerability, and intimacy. Expressing gratitude, especially for the little things that occur each day, contributes significantly to intimate and connected relationships. The little things do, in fact, make all the difference.
Refrain from making assumptions. Making assumptions and jumping to conclusions are likely to break the flow of intimacy and lead to defensiveness and blame. Rather than make assumptions, which is a setup for disappointment, it is far more loving to listen without interruption and ask questions to gain clarity.
Permission to break with tradition. Give each other permission to take time for yourself. Be open to creating new experiences and breaking the predictable patterns of what you’ve always done around the holidays. Take a short get-away, try a new holiday activity, and spend more relaxed time together.
Compassionately communicate your needs. Take turns sharing your vision of the holiday season. Listen to each other with non-judgment, acceptance and respect. Create an atmosphere of safety where each of you can be vulnerable and speak from your heart what your needs and desires truly are at this time of year.
Be spontaneous and playful. Let go of expectations as they are unspoken assumptions that break the flow of creativity. Be open to trying something new together such as dancing lessons, cooking together or something you’ve always wanted to do. Play with joyful abandon.
Practice healthy detachment. Patterns surface especially during the holidays because they so fraught with expectations. Practice pausing when you react, stepping back from the situation and asking yourself: Why am reacting to this person or situation? What is going on with me that I need to shift? Instead of taking another person’s reaction personally, stay detached by not trying to fix their problem, work out their issues, and remind them that you love them and are here for them.
Keep a sense of humor. Be light-hearted in every situation no matter how difficult. Laugh when you overcook the turkey, break a favorite decoration or forget to buy a gift. Take yourself less seriously and keep interactions or plans short with people who may drain your energies. Remember you don’t have to change them but you may choose to spend less time with them and more time with yourself and your partner.