The Importance of Emotional Intimacy and Belonging

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Understanding the significance of emotional intimacy and belonging in human relationships.

Emotional Intimacy, Belonging, Human Desire, Relationships, Appreciation

Emotional intimacy is a universal human desire. To be known and valued is sought after by almost everyone. Understanding what creates deep, healthy intimacy is essential for avoiding heartache and finding success. Wishing to belong—to be a part of some group, to be known and accepted into a fellowship—is a basic human desire. This comes in many forms: a family, a sports team, a civic organization, a culture, a political party, a religious group, and so forth.

But belonging to a group is seldom sufficient to fully satisfy this desire. We want to be appreciated for what we as individuals bring to that group. One particularly compelling way to be appreciated is to be desired. This might be that an employer desires your technical skills and demonstrates this by providing a raise. A school desires your academic abilities and expresses this by offering you a scholarship. A friend desires your companionship, and this is expressed by invitations to dinner. Being desired when one is deeply known (strengths and flaws laid bare) is the pinnacle of belonging. This is often thought of in terms of emotional intimacy

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