Is there anything greater than love?
In a simple answer, yes there is. Gratitude. To have gratitude for someone means to have no judgment of them, or you. With gratitude, you can be grateful for someone whether or not they are being kind, happy, sad, angry or anything else they’re choosing. With love, there is always judgment. There are expectations of what you must be and do to show you love someone: ‘If you loved me, you would do this for me’, ‘If he loved me he would have bought me a single red rose, not a dozen!’ Love has a godzillion definitions! Do you love your family the same way you love your cat? Or your friends the same way you do your lovers? Even with unconditional love, you still have to judge whether or not it’s something you can be unconditional about!
So what if it wasn’t actually ‘love’ that we were looking to have with each other?
Gratitude is one of the five elements of creating true intimacy. The others are honoring, trust, allowance and vulnerability. The key to becoming intimate with your partner always begins with becoming intimate with yourself. To have a relationship that truly contributes to expanding your life, you must be willing to create these elements for yourself and with your partner.
In an intimate relationship, each individual honors himself or herself and is willing to do what is right for them. You honor the other person and treat them with regard. You are willing to allow your partner to do what is right for them without judgment and without requiring them to be anything other than who they are. This means that you also trust the other person to be exactly who they are, and not what you wish or want them to be.
Along with trust and honoring of yourself and your partner, you want to be in allowance of the other person and not judge their choices, thoughts or beliefs as right or wrong. Allowance is where everything is just an interesting point of view. You allow the other person to have their point of view and you don’t feel the need to criticize. Criticism is based on judgment – ‘I want you to do it my way’. In allowance you do not try to stop your partner from being different than you are. And you do not stop you from being different to them. You have a life and you let your partner have a life.
Vulnerability is also present in intimate relationships. A lot of people misidentify what being vulnerable really is. Vulnerability is when you are totally present with you and whoever is in front of you, with no barriers. An example of using barriers would be when your partner is angry . How often do people automatically put their barriers up, get their hackles up, or ‘harden up’ for a fight? If you are willing to recognize that is what you are doing, and say ‘You know what? I am not going to have my barriers up here, I am going to push them down and receive all of this without a point of view’, it is amazing how the person will run out of steam very quickly! That is because there is no wall for them to bang up against anymore. Being willing to be vulnerable is to not go to your defense systems or fend off real communication with upset, judgment or withdrawal.
The great thing about these elements of gratitude, honoring, trust, allowance and vulnerability is that you do not require to be in a relationship to have these for you. In fact, having a relationship is not the source of intimacy. You are. By you being willing to be the source of gratitude, honoring, trust, allowance and vulnerability with and for you, it is then you can bring into your life people who will contribute greatly to you, whether or not they are someone you choose to have sex with.
Speaking of sex, do you notice that it is not actually mentioned in the elements above? Sex, or more specifically copulation, is not a part of creating intimacy. You can include sex in intimacy but it is not what creates intimacy. Sex is something our bodies get to do as an exuberant expression of life and if we allow it to be, it can be fun and playful and totally without significance, much like a game of Frisbee. What if you were to do your whole life from the fun of it?