I’ve been thinking a lot about intimacy for the past month. What occupied my thoughts most was the notion that intimacy cannot exist without exclusion. That troubled me for a while… the notion that some had to be “left out.”
The more I explored these thoughts, though, I came to the conclusion that the exclusion part is not something that is a prerequisite – we don’t have to actively exclude or enforce exclusion to protect intimacy.
When it comes down to it, intimacy really is just a shared experience between some individuals that others have not yet had. If this is actually the case, then exclusion is merely the result of limited experience. Of course, it’s impossible for everyone to share every experience, so intimacy will always exist.
I think what is at the heart of the matter is empathy. When we share an experience with a person or a group, we’ve gone through something together. Because of our shared experience, we are able to empathize better with that person or group. Even an outsider to the group can convey a similar experience and find empathy in the group.
This got me thinking, we can use all that we have experienced thus far as a way to build empathy, simply by sharing what we’ve gone through, what we do… by sharing our individual lives we allow others to see how similar we all are. And where we differ allows for the existence of intimacy.