At some level, most people defend against intimacy or receiving too much love. However, many of us have different ways in which we express and engage this resistance. How do you defend against being loved? Do you avoid deep intimacy because it is scary? Is your life passionless? Do you find it difficult to let people love you? Have you settled for less than what you really want in life?
Intimacy is about being real. It’s about being who you are, and not living with the thoughts of who you are, or the fears of what might happen to who you think you are -- all of which come from living in your imagination. Intimacy involves dropping into the bare bones of your present moment, into your heart, into love and the beauty of self.

Most people have disconnected from feeling deep intimacy at some level because it triggers core unworthiness. There are endless ways of disconnecting. I was busy being busy, making myself look important because I was rushing around doing so much. I’ve since realised that behaving like this was a form of laziness because I was avoiding engaging with my authentic self and doing what I came to do. Instead I built up a shopfront of false bravado, creating the impression that I was something I wasn’t. When anyone asked me how I was feeling, my answer would be ‘I’m fine’, even if that was the last thing I felt. I would eat to numb the pain that was screaming inside. I began believing my lies about who I was and felt permanently empty. I was disconnected from the real me. But if anybody threatened to expose me I would attack them, get angry, throw a tantrum and when all else failed, run away.

A common defence strategy against intimacy is to build a series of masks. My favourite mask was using humour and making people laugh -- the tears of a clown. These masks are used to fortify your heart centre by cloaking your vibration. Most people do it automatically when their way of being is challenged as a child. They learn to present a certain face to family, friends and at school in order to fit in and function. Over time, that way of being, although not a true expression of the self, becomes what we identify as the self and believe to be part of our true core essence. In fact, what we are doing is relating from the layers we’ve built up to shroud the heart.
Behind the fear of intimacy is the need to be needed and to feel useful. You become a people pleaser by giving more than you receive. To keep the pattern running you attract people who are users and take from you without understanding what it is you are sharing. You then feel resentment because you aren’t appreciated, followed by guilt because you have been taught that it is good to give and you should feel good about giving. In an attempt to stop the guilty feelings you try to please more and so the cycle continues. The whole dynamic is driven by guilt and runs round a closed circuit until you integrate unconditional positive regard for the self and others.

When I was running this pattern I had convinced myself that I was a wonderful person because I gave so much. It didn’t dawn on me that I was covering up my fear of intimacy and not letting love in. It’s much easier to give than to receive. In hindsight it was actually selfish of me to block others from being able to give.
Addictions are invariably your unconscious protection against receiving and a popular way to avoid intimacy. Almost everyone runs the addict archetype. As you block healthy ways of letting in love and attention, you close your heart. You often use addictions to cover your feelings of emptiness and to feel good in a way that protects you from opening your heart and feeling your pain. Anything can be an addiction, from obvious habits like alcohol, smoking, eating and sex to more subtle addictions like watching TV, shopping, thinking, inner criticism, spacing off, cleaning, co-dependent relationships, always wanting to teach or give advice, playing video games, internet surfing and exercise. Two of the most popular forms of addiction are boredom and complaining.
Your ability to be intimate is not determined by how much you were loved, but by how much your parents loved each other (even if they were divorced). Children learn about intimacy by experiencing the connection and love between their parents and the family, as this is what creates a sense of safety. Without emotional safety, your child is vulnerable to developing addictive and co-dependent ways to get their needs met. Telling your children that you love them isn’t enough. As a child I painfully recall feeling all the stuff that wasn’t said and I got confused because what I was feeling was very different to what I was hearing. It’s how you relate to a child from who you are that does the most teaching. This is what is called “walking your talk.” It applies to all aspects of life whether you are a therapist, manager, employer or teacher. You teach by what you radiate, not by what you tell others to do.
Interesting things happen whenever you perceive yourself as a victim. The first is, “I do not create my own reality.” The second is, “Because I do not create my reality, I have to watch out because the world is a dangerous place.” Third, once you decide that the world is a dangerous place, you create shields around yourself and swords to “defend myself against those who are trying to make me a victim.” Thus the armour gets built up, and the arms race escalates -- first on an internal level, then on the outer. Not much chance of holding a loving heart space with all that going on.
The way to move into deeper levels of intimacy is to give yourself permission to feel how you feel without judgment. You will have to say “no” to what you don’t want so you can create space for the new to come in. Layering the new on top of the old just jumbles stuff up, leaving you with a foot in both camps, the old and the new. Sit with your feelings and the places you don’t want to go with your feelings, and feel into it all. Welcome in any thoughts, emotions, pain, beliefs that appear to block you from being intimate with yourself.

This means no more putting on a smiling face so that others will accept you. You will need to get real about how you feel and accept yourself as you are in this moment, warts and all, and accept yourself without judgment. This will mean feeling feelings that you don’t like. You will go through a vast spectrum of feelings from pure joy to the darkest depths of despair. To do this will take courage, and it will require persistence not to fall back into the old patterns that stop you from feeling. To heal your pain, you open your heart and love the unlovable.

Vulnerability is an important quality to integrate in its higher expression. By being vulnerable you have the courage to go anywhere with your feelings at anytime. This is not to be confused with the lower expression of vulnerability where you display your emotional immaturity by projecting or having emotional outbursts whenever and wherever you feel like it or leaving yourself open to attack of the ego due to low self-worth and inadequate spiritual boundaries. To experience intimacy we need to integrate vulnerability.
Your ability to witness what’s going on inside is an important skill in developing heart mastery. Right now, do this quick scan technique to deepen your connection with yourself. Use any or all of your senses to do this, for example, use your eyes, your feelings, your senses. Close your eyes and take a few moments to scan your system front and back and left and right. Feel every inch of your physical system all at the same time while connecting with the earth. Extend your awareness out into your emotional, mental and spiritual bodies, scan these bodies. Describe and journal what you witnessed in all of your bodies. Do this twice a day until it becomes something that you do automatically. This exercise will help increase your awareness so that you can change unconscious patterning.
It takes a great deal of inner strength to live life to the full and be happy. We often lose sight of our personal dreams, neglect our boundaries and allow our desires for a better life to be trampled on by the masses moving in the opposite direction. Wake up from mediocrity and claim your gift. Gain the confidence to live fearlessly, and love openly.

Jenny Parker has studied the healing process and accelerated human change for over 25 years. This knowing and wisdom is put to good use with people worldwide in her work as a coach and mentor, teacher, writer and inspirational speaker. For more info go to or email