Optimal Closeness

“Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words.” – George Eliot

Week Forty Eight

This exercise highlights your freedom to choose how closely engaged you want to become with others. This is your opportunity to examine how your level of intimacy varies according to your type of relationship.

The following questions allow you to examine the bond and level of closeness in your relationships and discover how you experience others.

1) How skilled are you at connecting with others well? Think about the optimal space between you and another individual and whether you feel close or distant, safely vulnerable or anxious.
Rate each of your primary work and family relationships using a scale from 0 to 10 where
0 – is completely distant: you actively keep them at arm’s length and feel anxious if they try to get closer.
5 – is optimal: you support each other and can be vulnerable on occasion without feeling anxious.
10 – is merged: You actively minimize the distinction between you and feel anxious if they pull away.

2) What do your ratings tell you about how your interactions with others sustain you?

3) What is behind the current preferred space in your interactions (In other words, what need, value or belief is being met by keeping the level of closeness as it is?) In what other ways could this be handled?

4) In what ways could you shift anxious interactions into sustaining ones?

5) How can you encourage powerful partnerships where you are both passionate about development and hold a shared agreement to mirror your higher self.

These questions benefit you by allowing you to reflect on whether you are comfortable with optimal levels of closeness and encouraging supportive bonds to occur across different kinds of relationship. Each one of us needs people to rely on in different domains from a mentor at work to people who can provide support when something goes wrong, to those who just share in our development. Do you have interactions that allow you to demonstrate and sharpen your strengths and compassionately test your weaknesses?