“He left me. I suddenly broke down in tears. I told him I was so hurt that he didn’t call me after we had sex for the first time. We weren’t even on a date when I burst out crying; I just bumped into him at college.” Kristy said to Gianna.

Gianna raised her eyebrows and stopped breathing for one minute. “Wow. Ouch.”

“What? That’s all you gonna say?”

No no, I’m just processing all of what you said right now, Gianna said while letting out a big puff of cigarette smoke slowly.

Oh, ok.

“I can’t believe you burst out crying. Just like that.”

“Well shit, what the hell was I supposed to do!! I couldn’t help it!”

“No, you just don’t show a guy that you’re hurt like that. They’re dicks, they don’t listen. They get happy that you’re upset because suddenly they get an ego trip from knowing that you are really into them.”

“Are you serious? Thanks for the support, geez! And, no, that’s not true, not all men are like that.”

“Hey! I’m just telling the truth! And plus, look at the way you just got treated. THAT’S why I am not trusting any man anymore. You’re just rubbing salt in your own wounds by bursting out crying in front of him like that.”

“Uh…no. I’m not rubbing salt in my wounds. I’m letting my shit come up. Maybe you should try it one day, instead of stuffing yourself full of tobacco smoke every 30 minutes to avoid feeling anything difficult.”

Gianna rolled her eyes and puffed out another mouthful of cigarette smoke.

“I can’t tell you anything, Gianna!” Kristy couldn’t control the tear that began running down slowly from her eye. She tasted its saltiness as it rolled over her top lip. Her heart was pounding, she was beginning to sweat and feeling even more stressed to be telling this to a “friend” who couldn’t even listen and support her.

“I should’ve known, you can’t tolerate my choices just because they’re different to yours”, Kristy said.

“I just…I just can’t relate, you know. I can’t relate to letting yourself cry in front of a guy like that, on random. At college.”

“Ugh!” and with that, Kristy walked off on her supposed friend.

Fast forward 10 years. Kristy is married with her first child on the way; her husband had moved to the country to be with her, so they could all be closer to her parents. He even buys her things….things that matter. Like a gym membership and a new car because hers was 20 years old and kept breaking down.

Kristy’s husband is there for her. But can you imagine what happened to Gianna? Well, she was still single, just as she was sure she should be.

Her patterns lead her to a mediocre life of safety. She has cats, but she was sitting on the couch smoking cigarettes and eating potato chips every weekend, trying desperately to drown out the feelings of regret and loneliness.

As Gianna was a very slim girl all her life, it was shocking for her to have to accept that she had also put on 30 lbs in 10 years. She was feeling desperate, after having stuffed down so many emotions with the cigarettes for all those years.

But…cigarettes. They will always be there for her.

Cigarettes equal friend in Gianna’s world.

A man, though? He won’t always be there for her. Men leave. They leave for younger women, kinder women, sexier women…who knows what they leave for. But they leave, right?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve witnessed many people claiming that they have really close relationships in their lives, but these people do not sound very convincing.

It’s not hard to see if a person is the type of person to withhold themselves emotionally (be emotionally stingy)…and when someone does withhold themselves emotionally; not wanting to be seen for who they are deep down…it becomes difficult or them to have close relationships.

That’s just how it works. The more we avoid, the less close any of our relationships will be.

We humans are all unique, but we are also all the same in many ways. A lot of us are afraid of being revealed. We don’t want to be seen…we are afraid of being seen for who we are. So sometimes, some people keep others at arm’s length. Even the closest people in their life can’t fully be let ‘in’.

What IS a close relationship anyway?

It’s when the other person knows your soul. (Freaky, I know).

It’s where you can lay bare naked in front of that person, and feel totally accepted. And it’s where you can do the same for them.

A close relationship is where there is total trust – trust for each other’s intent. Trust that you both don’t need to avoid conflict with another because both of you will be willing to take responsibility for the success of the relationship.

Close is definitely not about talking on the phone for hours every day. Why? Just because that could be entertainment; not closeness. (Of course, talking on the phone for hours can be an indicator of depth and closeness, just not always).

Being close is about not tolerating it when you know the other person is lying to themselves.

Close relationships above all, require a kind of humility, don’t you think? I say this because in the past I was a loser and I had to try to unlearn being a loser, so I could be a better person. I hope I’ve been successful.

Close relationships melt defensiveness and make vulnerability okay.

Close relationships make crying ok.

Close relationships make asking for something from the other person a non-stressful event (although it always takes time and show of high value before you can get to that place with someone)

Close relationships mostly have no blaming.

Close relationships treat each other like family. Not like an enemy.

Give and take doesn’t exist in close relationships. Give and take is for friendships and relationships that haven’t made it to the close relationship stage. Close relationships are about giving without calculating what you’re getting back. If you can’t do that – then you might be friends, or housemates, or husband and wife, but you are not close.

To have really close relationships, one must, at some point in their life, fully felt the depths and pain of loneliness. (We are all lonely. Many of us just try to keep that loneliness at bay). If one has to have an excess of acquaintances to hang out with to avoid feeling the loneliness, then that person isn’t “practicing” what is necessary for having true close relationships.

TV is another distraction from one’s feelings. Just like Gianna and her cigarettes. We all cope somehow.

But coping mechanisms are there to avoid closeness. Closeness with ourselves. Closeness with others. Nobody wants to be close because it’s hard work and icky but at the same time we all want to be close. So we are walking around like frauds. Pretending everything is okay and that we are close to the people in our lives.

But in reality?

The reality is that many of us aren’t even close to our children. We don’t employ the right strategies and environment for valuing closeness first; and so 20 years go by and we realise that while we were off making money, it came at the cost of closeness and trust in our relationships.

Here are the 5 secret ways to have exceptionally close relationships…

1: Reduce the number of people you ‘need’ to have in your life. The more you spread your eggs, the less close you will be with the people you truly like and respect. It’s okay to have no close relationships. By acknowledging that you don’t have that, and acknowledging the pain and loneliness, at least for some time (say, weeks or months), you can then come out of that difficult place with something more valuable than the comfort of avoiding pain; which is: appreciation and gratitude and depth of character. Suddenly, you are strong, and you don’t ‘need’ lots of people around to shield you from the emotional depth of life.

 

2: Love and appreciate the parts of you that you don’t want to reveal to people. The more you try to hide any part of you; the less closeness you can have with someone; especially men, as they aren’t always easily able to want to get close to you unless you are visibly feeling your feelings; or showing vulnerability.

What does it mean to love and appreciate the parts of you that you want to hide?

For example, I find that takers, (people who want to take value from other humans rather than have an emotionally close relationship), often want to hide the fact that they’re a taker. They are defensive of their Tina Taker or try to avoid being revealed. However, love that there is a part of you that is a taker. Love Tina Taker. Why? Because you need to love and appreciate that she is there for a reason – ask her why she showed up in the first place. She’s probably there because she’s afraid of dying. She needs resources, she needs to feel in control, and she perhaps needs popularity and certainty to survive for the short term.

Yet in the long term, she doesn’t serve you well – another part of you, perhaps Alison Appreciation needs to come into the picture and let Tina Taker rest. Alison Appreciation appreciates whatever she has; and she appreciates that we all have to suffer – and it’s okay. Take pride in your pain; take pride in the courage and the grit and the character and the vulnerability and the confidence you will build by surrendering to what little you have and what pain you have not allowed yourself to feel.

 

3: Understand that at the core, relationships are about resources – whether they are close or not. We enter all relationship and fake relationships for the sake of resources. Fear can often make us choose to have lots of not so real friends or sexual partners (put our eggs in lots of baskets), but inspiration, vulnerability and courage can make us choose to invest in just a tiny portion of people.

Neither strategy is wrong. It’s a risk to invest 110% emotionally in only one person. Yet it’s also a risk to give only 10% emotionally in 50 relationships. Which one do you think is riskier? Investing 10% in 50 people? Or investing 110% in one person? (Or maybe two or three, maximum).

We all have to decide if a truly close relationship is worth the risk and loss. Nobody is more right or more wrong with their choices – their choices will just either make their relationships thrive or die.

What I feel is that we have to give up ego, we have to potentially give up other friendships, other suitors….all for the sake of investing heavily in one or two or three people. It’s scary, but it’s brave. And – it’s loyal.

People who think they can have lots of lovers or lots of friends usually can’t be loyal to a tiny portion of people. Don’t you think that is true? Because their energy and time will just go to the highest bidder.

 

4: Be a safe place for the people that you care about. This requires being able to meet your own needs in a proper (and superior way). Watching reality TV for example, is not meeting one’s needs well. It doesn’t fill you up, it just distracts you. If you cannot meet your own needs through high quality avenues, then you aren’t really fulfilled and then become only able to worry about yourself (and can’t even dream of being a safe place for somebody else).

How do you show that you’re a safe place for another? Let them know that you accept and love all of them. Better still, do actually show that you love and accept all of them…every single part of them, without question.

How do you do that? Love and accept every part of yourself first. Every part of you, even the parts that you judge, no matter how bad, stupid, embarrassing or ditsy is there for a reason…and every part of you belongs somewhere.

When you accept all of yourself, then you can accept all of others, with humour and love. The reason this is important is so that you don’t sabotage emotional closeness with rules about how you *should* be or how others *should* be. Rules aren’t always bad, and rules are important…but we should at least be aware of when they might be sabotaging connection with others.

Close relationships are not meant to be easy. I know some people make you think that they should be easy, but they are only easy when you choose the hard path.

As someone much smarter than me once said…life is easy when you do it the hard way. The hard way begins with taking the 4 secret steps I’ve shared with you in this article.

 

5: Try to learn to appreciate/embrace conflict instead of avoiding it. Without appreciation for the role of conflict in your life, you can easily become a pleaser. And as you know, pleasers always lose out. Conflict and arguments (or serious discussions) will always be a part of closeness. Close relationships require conflict and vulnerability to grow!

No conflict equals no growth. If you are not growing, then you are dying (said Tony Robbins).

One thing is for sure: we can’t build a close relationships when our first and foremost desire is to have control/certainty. Neither can we be close with another if our number one need is to maintain a feeling of self importance. We have to value closeness and vulnerability more than we value ourselves.

In the name of helping you create closer relationships, right now we are giving away our report on “How to love without being used” when you get our guide on “How to stay high value when he pulls away”.

Click here to get both of these for only $7.

This bonus offer will end on the 21st of May 2017.

We’ve had tremendously positive feedback and responses from women after they’ve gone through these two guides and I think you will find many ah-hah moments and profound insights too!

I would love to hear from you – your comments will always be read and they add a lot of value to other women in the world.  Leave me a comment if you have discoveries, thoughts and opinions to share.

Lots of love to you,

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  • Andrea

    Hello,
    I loved the post!! I’m a member and have purchased the understand men as well as the commitment control 2 programs. Loved them both and I’m think about going through for a refresher. The only thing is I’ve tried severely times to contact you or your husband about a current issue I’m really conflicted about. Maybe you could suggest another program that I could do that would help benefit me. Thankyou so much for your time.

  • sandy

    this is good posting for women article feeeling

  • Mery

    Whenever i log in into this site, i feel home 🙂

  • TinyTofu

    Lovely post. I can’t help but, the first people I remember while reading this, are my parents. I would love to have a more depth relationship with them. I could feel there is this wall; this illusion of being “positive all the time” and trying to please other people, makes my soul scream!

  • Michele Hinds

    Hi Renee,

    Long time I’ve read your work, it’s still very stimulating. As much as I do agree with you to be your true self, it seems your understanding of true self is always one who puts all her cards on the table and does not bottle up or hold in emotions. But you have to appreciate everyone is made differently with different gifts.
    My mom for example, I’ve never seen her cry, when she’s hurt she bottles it, when she’s angry she bottles it, when you’re hurt or angry, she tells you toughen up. Pretty much like your cigarette smoker.
    But here’s the thing, she’s been married to my dad for almost 50 years, and my dad loved her and doted on her til the day he died and she loved him, they were inseparable, did most things together. They are my example of true love, she was there throughout his entire illness, around the clock tirelessly, and yet no one has seen her shed a tear. And every one admires her strength.
    There is not a person I’ve come across who does not love my mom. And since his passing her friends and family are always there for her, entertaining her and being a true friend, as she is also to them.
    All this without being vulnerable and more importantly being true to herself.
    I myself find it difficult to be vulnerable, I use my qualities, kindness, easy going, genuine and honest sometimes too honest, and full of integrity. But you piss me off, I’m not crying, I might not even tell you, I might just go silent like my mom or explode on you one day, but no tears. Or be like one of my bad a.. employees a man needs to just slip up once and she’s done, but they just fall deeper for her, promising her the world, and she does not budge, no second chances and she’s never short of suitors.
    Do I have new romantic love yet, no, it’s taking a while, but I will, I lived happily with my children’s daddy for twelve years, so I’ll get in to the swing again, and I’ll do it being the best me I can be, cause I do a great me. I see high value behaviour as a woman who truly embraces herself.
    And we’re all made differently with different gifts.
    Feel what’s right about your actions, hone in on your inner being and live out who you truly are.

    • Hi Michele,

      Very nice comment, thank you! I understand your sentiment, everyone is different.

      One thing I feel I have learned from the people around me, is that even if someone is “there” physically, it doesn’t translate to a depth, expression and feeling of closeness.

      When one holds things in – You can’t get the emotional closeness unless upon bursting out with all the held in emotion, the other person still finds it within themselves to trust you or persist with you; and you both then move forward with deeper trust.

      People might stay in our life, for example, and be there tirelessly, but there are many possible reasons human being might do that – for eg: (a sense of duty, reciprocity after years of relying on someone or being committed to someone, they have rules as to how they must act).

      I am not saying that these are the reasons that your mum does what she does – I don’t know your mom, and she sounds just wonderful.

      I am only saying this for the sake of discussion, and for the purpose of a different perspective.

      Also! what I was intending to talk about here is emotional closeness and depth – not just being physically available to someone, or just relying on people saying they love you…people have all different definitions and ideas about what ‘love’ means.

      Some people love deeply, and some people love on a more surface level (ie: they love as much as they can until fear kicks in, and when fear kicks in, their love isn’t delivered anymore, emotionally)

      In my bias, emotional closeness doesn’t necessarily always go hand in hand with tireless proximity. It happens with heart, depth, passion, emotion, and exceeding levels of care.

      Having said that, I totally respect your way of approaching things – I know that my views contain my own bias view of the world – and I respect that all of our perspectives are as valid as each other. So I really appreciate you sharing here 🙂

      – Renee.

  • Nes

    Hey Renée, thanks for the article. ‘Loved it!

    Biggest takeway: express that I need help/love/people (it’s a real challenge). This has lead to major unfortunate events because of the tendency to lie to oneself and think one doesn’t owe anybody (ex: “hey, they helped me because they wanted to, not because I asked”). That’s the most ungrateful thing to think when you get some reeeeeally good help!

    Katerina, maybe the use of the word “envy” was just making a nod to the emotion we (in general) experience when we see 2 people having something we don’t and would like to have, like some real close relationships.
    I don’t think it’s about awakening people’s envy on purpose. But used appropriately envy can help us know more about ourselves and foster emulation: That’s actually why we have envy in our “dictionary of emotions” (so I was said). So let’s all accept we get envious too and after Tina Taker, Allison Appreciation, introducing Poison Envy! 🙂

    • Very interesting Nes, so by thinking that someone helped you because they wanted to; you block out the possibility that they had good intent, as well as your own emotions (like gratitude, ecstasy, wonder), that they helped you?

      • Nes

        Indeed Renée. Thanks for this. You pinpointed the “good intent” factor.
        Asking for help is a very vulnerable thing to do. And the shame and guilt you get when you can’t or don’t want to return the favor is difficult to stand. Hence the attitude of “not asking for help”, the belief of not owing people who helped willingly and the block-out of every emotions replaced by tension. I believed that by not assuming people have good intent I could avoid getting upset or hurt again in case I was rejected or blackmailed for not helping. (I have observed that even if I expressed my gratitude & the joy and ecstasy of connecting with the people who helped me having my problem solved… it wouldn’t be enough: most of the time they would expect a return of the favor or some kind of submissive behavior from me.).

        I do struggle with the whole idea of direct reciprocity (“you help me => I help you” VERSUS “you help me => I get to help someone… Maybe you. Maybe not”.) So I choose to help depending on how I feel about the situation or/and the person. Sometimes I’m just not in the mood (and feel very guilty about it). And not everyone is OK with that. My closest family relatives are not for instance. And it’s disturbing. I know we (Humanity) wouldn’t be here without cooperation whose one of underlying principles is reciprocity.

        Still asking for help ain’t easy when you’re not sure you’ll return the favor the way the person expect you to.

        But like Gianna in your article, the denial to believe in people’s good intent has been “my cigarette”; not letting me be fully seen and avoiding close relationships. Today’s article and this question you asked me has been very helpful Renée.

        There’s another article of yours I discovered 2 years ago, which I really liked and think it relates pretty well to today’s article. I’m sharing the link here for newcomers; : http://www.thefemininewoman.com/2014/10/vulnerable-hearts-devoted-trustworthy-men/

  • Katerina

    Dear Renee,

    congratulations on a wonderful work!

    just one question

    how and why is envy motivational for you?

    Catherine

    • Brienne

      I would like to join in here to this thought about how envy is motivational for us. It’s a really good line of thinking. I stopped and thought about it and for me, I think it is because if I can pinpoint where and what I am envious of, I can see something in me that I feel is lacking in this area. An example for me is that whenever I see a girl in a particular skillful Yoga pose, I usually feel a little twinge of envy because I want to be able to do that too. The way I can use it to be motivational is that I can continue to practice my own Yoga and work at it.

    • Hi Katerina…lol, it is just a blog title. Don’t read in to it too much (I say that even though I also read in to things too much) but it’s true.

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