Friday, February 15, 2008

Acceptance and Intimacy

Today while cruising one of the online dating sites I’m on, I came across a familiar face of someone I had met last year. We had a brief meeting, a few phone calls and emails, but he had decided he wasn’t ready to pursue a relationship (probably a nice way of saying I wasn’t the one). He went his way -- I went mine, and I noticed his profile disappeared off the net. Today I came upon him again, and wrote a quick email just to say hi. He wrote back a very heartfelt note that touched me, because I think it speaks volumes to what probably most of us feel as singles.

He stated that everyone he’s met since then has wanted to change him, and secondly he misses physical intimacy. Well, he’s not alone. Two basic needs we all have -- acceptance for who we are and intimacy with another human being.

My encouragement to him was not to settle for anything less. When we are in relationships where we have the expectation of changing someone into what we want, we do a great disservice to that person. Each of us needs to be accepted and loved for who we truly are. Why? Because it brings us the greatest freedom and intimacy we can possibly experience with another human being. When there’s always expectations, you’re never really at ease or at peace in a relationship. You never feel truly loved and accepted for who you are.

I think we try to change people out of desperation, because we haven’t been patient enough to find the one we’re meant to be with. So we figure we’ll take what’s there, mold it to our liking, and then love it. But that’s not unconditional love -- it’s conditional. Do you wonder why there are so many divorces? Our mates just don’t meet up to our expectations, so we move on. We don’t love them as they are -- yet we expect them to love us as we are. It’s all out of whack -- I don’t know how else to express it.

Of course, as a single, I too miss terribly intimacy with a mate, which is another basic need -- to be touched. Unfortunately, we can go down some pretty destructive paths in our lives if we look for intimacy in the wrong places. So for me, I wait, rather than crash and burn.

Next time you’re in a relationship, I hope you find someone to love you “as is.” If you do, your greatest intimacy with that person will be born out of being accepted and loved for who you truly are.