Why is it that intentionality is so hard to come by?
We are so hurt, hungry for connection, and afraid vulnerability will do nothing other than expose the broken shards of glass we’ve accumulated in our bursting baggage over the course of our lifetime. When it’s too difficult to push through others’ resistance to open up, we back down. And when we are on the receiving end, we would rather keep our discomfort to ourselves. We put on a brave face when we’re truly terrified of saying the wrong thing, of sharing too much, of letting our yearning hearts be exposed for what they are: aching for love and profound connection. And so we retreat to the comfortable, complacent recesses of habit, whether that’s watching Netflix behind our closed doors, retreating into the beats of our headphones, or seeking solace in an established friend (I am guilty of every single one of these escapes). What we are really doing is ironically blocking out any opportunity for new connection, and perpetually propagating the scarcity of intentional relationship building.
Afraid of exposing too much, we construct walls to keep others out of our personal lives. When we build these protective dams, we are left with a shallow pool of recycled material instead of an expanding depth of new understanding not only of others, but ourselves. We fail to discover what we never knew existed through the exploration of those deeper – and sometimes darker – waters below the visible waterline. We negate our need to be known intimately and consequently hinder our receptivity to love and acceptance, whether intentional or not.
Intentionality requires us to be present, engaged, vulnerable. It asks us to show up and show our scars, regardless of how mangled they may be, and to be true to our own stories of pain and beliefs about fear. It requires us to slowly remove the makeup we’ve applied to construct the appearance of I’ve-got-it-all-together-ness when we know we’re drowning in our loneliness, in our busyness-as-defense-mechanism, in our messy lives. It insists we press into the awkwardness of asking – and revealing – how we’re really doing, and I mean the I’m-feeling-absolutely-horrible-and-worthless-today doing to reach new levels of closeness. Intentionality demands that we deliberately put aside our pride and our insecurities and invest in another soul, their acceptance notwithstanding.
Intentionality, when implemented, is a beautiful, spiritual transaction whereby two souls come together and accept each other because of their mutual imperfections. It gains strength from these interactions and is the only means of knowing another person and fulfilling our deepest desire for connection. Inevitably, we must go through the rite of uncomfortable passage of vulnerably telling someone we want to know them. But when we consider the positive outcomes of such a “risk,” isn’t it worth it to delve a little deeper?
We all want to be known. We were created for meaningful relationship. So where’s the intentionality?
Be brave. Make the time, because we all know you can make it. Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions. Show up. With all that you are. If we all embraced the uneasiness, maybe we would all feel a little less alone.