When I hear those lyrics I am reminded of so many of my clients. They come into therapy wanting deeper, more connected relationships. They have some idea of where there want to be. They’ve waded into a relationship and they love it. They love it so much that they want more, they want to go deeper. But they don’t seem to be able to. Something holds them back.
It seems almost crazy on the surface. Being in a loving, committed, caring, wonderful relationship…wanting more…but unable to go deeper, to embrace the depths of the wonderfulness. But in reality, it isn’t so hard to understand. At least not if you believe something I’ve said many times before – deeper connections mean being more vulnerable.
I know many people try to resist this notion. But we connect more deeply when we trust others to know more about us, our values, our desires, our fears, our failures, our gifts, our talents, our weaknesses…all of that and more. And the more we reveal of ourselves the more vulnerable we are, the more someone can hurt us. I saw a quote recently. It said “Love is giving someone the power to destroy you…and trusting them not to.” That seems pretty accurate. We so often think about love as what we do for others. But a big part of it is not kind words or loving touch or gifts…it is just being willing to expose our true selves.
And then there is the other side of it. The part I think these lyrics are really talking about. It is about our other fears…it is not about trusting the other person, it is about trusting ourselves. Will we be able to handle the anxiety of revealing our authentic selves? Will we be able to gently and compassionately handle the other person’s authentic self? And what about the good parts? Do we really deserve so much happiness? Will our self-doubt make us feel like a fraud getting benefits that we don’t deserve? Will we have enough air to breathe?
There are a lot of reasons to keep ourselves from developing deeper relationships. Fears and doubts abound. But from my perspective the potential benefits far outweigh the risks. I believe we are made for connection. Deep, authentic connection. Romantic relationships, family, friendships…all types of connections. I think we are at our healthiest and happiest and our lives run more smoothly when we are connected. I think it is natural that connecting deeply can be scary…because the rewards are so amazing.
Think about your relationships. Have you struggled with how to make some of them deeper? Maybe it isn’t about spending more time with one another or helping out with chores or sharing more interests. Maybe it is about being willing to expose your authentic self. The deep, dark corners and the wonderful bright spots. The fears and the dreams. And when that feels scary, try taking taking a deep breathe…and dive in. I bet you’ll have enough air to breathe.