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The 7 Levels Of Intimacy, And Your Deepest Fear

7 Levels Of Intimacy And Your Deepest Fear; Matthew Kelly; Cliché's Facts Opinions Hopes and Dreams Feelings Weaknesses and Fears Needs

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to like to reveal the 7 levels of intimacy and the one fear that prevents you from expressing deeper levels of emotional intimacy.

First a quick update: 

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­­What do you really crave?

Is it to be seen, heard, understood, and validated?

And what is one of your greatest fears?

Is it the fear of rejection, expressed subconsciously as, “I am not good enough; I am not lovable”?

This fear blocks you from being seen, heard, understood, and validated. It blocks you from emotional intimacy:

‘If people really knew me, all of me, they would reject me and wouldn’t love me. Therefore, I will hide my real self or pretend to be what I believe they want me to be so that they can accept me and love me.’

Yes, but they don’t really ‘accept’ or ‘love’ you because they don’t know you; they love and accept the mask, the persona you have created, and that feels empty and exhausting.

You cannot be loved if you refuse to express emotional intimacy. They cannot love you if they don’t truly know you.

You cannot live happily and meaningfully without intimacy.

Author and speaker, Matthew Kelly presents a model of levels of intimacy in relationships, “The 7 Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved,” each expressed according to the type of relationship we have and choose.

What Is Intimacy?

I explain intimacy phonetically: Into-Me-You-See; ‘I allow you to see into me; I open up and reveal all of myself to you, completely.’

This level of intimacy – complete self-revelation – the highest of the 7 levels of intimacy is the one we desire to experience in our most significant relationships. And we long for that intimacy to be mutual.

Kelly’s Model Of The 7 Levels of Intimacy – In Sequential Order:

Each level opens you to further vulnerability and risk.

1. Cliches: A greeting with a simple response. The doorman, the cashier, a stranger, or someone you just started dating. “How are you?” ‘Fine. Thanks.’ “How is your day?” ‘Fine.’ There is no follow up question in level 1.

2. Facts: A basic exchange of impersonal information. You talk about the weather, stock market, sports, gossip, and what you did today or over the weekend.

We stay at Level 1 and 2 of the 7 levels of intimacy because we fear the third level of Intimacy.

3. Opinion: Here begins the problems – the arguments, disagreements, conflicts, and potential rejection. Speaking your mind (stating your opinions) can enhance emotional intimacy if you are self-aware, not critical or judgmental of others, and if you are willing to listen and be accepting of other’s opinions that differ to yours.

Remember: If you are highly critical and judgmental of others, there is less chance that people will open up to you and be intimate with you! Because they fear rejection and criticism, and because they know you are not accepting of them, they will most likely hide their real self from you. You can have friendships and relationships with others even if you disagree, as long as your core values don’t clash.

4. Hopes and Dreams: Sharing your aspirations and goals deepens the bond and connection in your relationship. Again, you can only reach this level of intimacy when you feel safe and know that the other person accepts you. Many people fear even admitting to themselves their hopes and dreams in life. How much harder then, is it to be intimate and to open up when you know that the other person is going to laugh, mock, negate or criticize you and your dreams? Acceptance is key to emotional intimacy!

I explain intimacy phonetically: Into-Me-You-See; ‘I allow you to see into me; I open up and reveal all of myself to you, completely.’

5. Feelings: Expressing freely what you feel about what is happening in your life and within you. Step 1 is to be able to identify, label and articulate those feelings. And if you can’t do that, are you able to express to the other person that you don’t even know exactly what you are feeling or why? “I’m just feeling lousy today, and I don’t know why.” Again, each of these levels of intimacy are easy to reach when you know that you are safe and accepted: you can be you!

6. Faults, Fears and Failures: Expressing your humanity – imperfection!

We fear that unless we are perfect or something other than what we are, we are unlovable, and no one will ever love us. To avoid rejection, we hide and refuse to admit our mistakes, disappointments, setbacks, and failures. But that prevents us from experiencing love. In this level of intimacy, you ask for support and help. Remember, too, when you admit you are human and have made mistakes, you are helping the other person to open up and do the same with you.

7. Legitimate Needs:  Life is lived in four realms. Mental, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual. We all have legitimate needs in those areas. You cannot thrive in life without intimacy and without having your needs met – above your desires and wants. This seventh level of intimacy involves making a conscious choice to help each other meet and fulfill their legitimate needs (giving and receiving.) I have said that love is about wanting the best for the other person, and wanting them to be the best version of themselves.

What Is The Antidote To The Fear Of Rejection?

Of course, you want to reach the highest of the 7 levels of intimacy. And the antidote to the fear of rejection is self-acceptance and being in relationships with people who accept you!

If you or a friend need help to accept yourself and express intimacy, to be set free from the past, from pain, abuse, hurts or disappointments, do what so many others have done: Resolve it rapidly and be set free of the pain with my SRTT process. Book a one-on-one session with me.

You can add to the conversation below.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.

Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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