february book club discussion- the seven levels of intimacy | olive june

february book club discussion- the seven levels of intimacy

become the best version of yourself


I hope you loved the book! As I have mentioned before… I read this book in great detail/deeply in 2009-- thanks to a dear friend from home, who was also living in Charlotte with me. He opened my eyes up to a beautiful world of personal Spirituality and I am forever grateful. 
Thank you so much, Brent! 
I am not sure if I can ever repay you… 

 Two of my favorite gifts I have received involved this book … Brent gave me a signed copy for Christmas in 2009 and Tim gave me a gorgeous quote on our wedding day. 
The goals of this discussion are to give you the tools to build stronger relationships with the people you love and develop a sense of purpose for yourself.

1.     Gain a better understanding of the various levels of intimacy so that you can identify them in your daily interactions with people around you.  Just understanding where you are in your relationship with somebody from their vantage point and yours, establishes a baseline upon which to build your path forward.
2.     Gain a better understanding of your own intimacy and how you relate to the world, perhaps helping unleash a path toward deeper relationships with those around you.
3.     Understand the emotional energy it takes to have these relationships and better discern where you'd like to spend that energy
4.     Have tools for you and your friends, partners, family, etc. to keep each other accountable
Kelly proposes that the primary purpose of every relationship is to help each other become the best version of ourselves. In fact, he argues that our purpose in life is to become the best version of ourselves, and to help others become the best version of themselves.

What is your reaction to this statement? 
What keeps people together in dynamic relationships? Is it common interests? Sex? Why is it that so many marriages break up once the kids are out of the house? It’s because what kept you together was the common interest of raising the kids, not really anything else. Once the kids are out, that common purpose evaporates and you’re left with nothing. A much more meaningful thing to have with your spouse is a common purpose. That purpose is to help each other become the best version of ourselves.

How this applies to arguments with your spouse: you are annoyed about how your wife lets dirty laundry pile up in your closet, and you finally run out of underwear. You’ve talked about this before, and it’s not getting better. You didn’t say anything the last time, but nothing is getting better. You mention this to your wife, it’s the 10th time you’ve talked about it, and it quickly escalates into a full blown fight with you leaving in a huff and your wife crying.

Instead: Agree with your spouse that the purpose of your relationship to help each other become the best version of yourself. In order to have “better” arguments, establish the purpose of the relationship and tie every argument to that purpose. If you love your spouse, you should love and accept her as she is today but also want her to become best version of herself. You agree to tie every argument back to that common purpose.
 Do you believe that your significant other is helping you to become the best version of yourself? What about your friends?

How to build meaningful relationships: In order to build meaningful relationships with loved ones requires a certain level of intimacy. Kelly defines intimacy as “sharing the journey to become the best version of ourselves with another person”. Relationships require work and commitment. Relationships are either growing or dying, there is no middle ground. Intimacy means sharing our story but we are afraid to reveal ourselves to others because it makes us vulnerable. We are afraid that if people really knew us they wouldn’t love us – this is deepest of all human fears. You can avoid a lifetime of intimacy with sarcasm and superficial conversation.
1. Talk about which of your relationships are growing, and which are dying.
2. What relationships are you not happy with today?

What is life about? “Life is not about money. Life is not about what sort of position you have. It’s not about whether you’re famous. It’s not about whether or not you vacation in all the right places every year. Life is not about things. […] Life is about love. It’s about whom you love and whom you hurt. Life’s about how you love yourself and how you hurt yourself. Life is about love.”

1. Do you agree or disagree with this statement, and why or why not?
2. What are your top priorities in your life?
3. How important are relationships to you? What do you do to work on relationships?
The book gives you the tools to create a dynamic primary relationship. Kelly identifies seven levels of intimacy, from the superficial to the intimate. It will revolutionize the way we experience relationships. It gives us a map, it shows us where we are and where we are going, it introduces intentionality into our relationships. You will be willing to overcome your fears to explore the deep places of intimacy with the people you love and want to love more. The 7 Levels of Intimacy are: clichés, facts, opinions, hopes, and dreams, feelings, faults, fears and failures, and legitimate needs.

For Our Next Discussion:
1. Identify 1-3 relationships you want to focus on for this book
2. Before agreeing to put a task on your schedule, ask if it will help me or someone else become the best version of myself.
3. Today, how can I help someone else become the best version of himself? 

Level 1: Cliches 
Clichés - Clichés are simple conversation starters such as, “Hello, how are you?” When these are handled with ease and grace, safety is generated and people are willing to go to the next level. If they feel judged, criticized or ridiculed they will go no further. People start here to see if it is safe to connect.

During the first level of intimacy people typically initiate conversations using clichés. Clichés are safe and many people continue to rely on them to avoid deeper levels of intimacy. This style of communication is initially useful when becoming acquainted with someone, however; if you are interested in developing a great relationship with a person then you must move beyond clichés.

The key concept that will help you move beyond a cliché relationship is carefree- timelessness. This involves spending time together without a checklist, agenda or time constraints. Spending time together involves more than just being in the same place together. Think about how you hung out with your girl friend in college, talking til early in the morning, but about what? Nothing, and everything. This is what teenagers do, for hours at a time. To move onto intimacy level number two you must make carefree-timelessness a priority.

Challenge for Next Time:  Try to spend “Carefree timelessness” with one loved one – put it in your calendar right now, and report back next time.

# 2: Facts 
Facts - Facts can be personal or non-personal facts about the weather, sports, current events; whatever can be addressed in conversation without too much risk. Except in the case of know-it-alls, this is a great level for people to test whether a person is a safe conversationalist.
# 3 Opinions

Opinions - The opinion level is the first level of vulnerability, marked by a person’s willingness to risk revealing something about who they are. This is often the level where conversations break down; where disagreements of opinion reveal inflexibility and intolerance. Conversely, if a person is willing to allow others to disagree without rejecting, ridiculing or punishing, the conversation can continue to the next level.

  • Talk about a time when you were in a conversation with someone and resorted to small talk to avoid a deeper conversation. What would you do differently?

Judgment is death to intimacy. Acceptance is key for this level of intimacy. “I love you and accept you, even though I don’t understand you”. 
It’s impossible to understand a person until you accept them.

Discuss the differences between acceptance and understanding.

In our primary relationship, we must come to the agreement that our purpose together is to help each other become the vest versions of ourselves. This will resolve 90% of disagreements. A relationship is about teamwork, not about getting what you want. The ultimate dysfunction in a relationship occurs when the individual seeks personal fulfillment at the expense of the team. You and your spouse are a team. You and your teenage child are a team.

How is your team doing? 
Example Opinion Questions

What are your preferences concerning…?
What are your beliefs about…?
What do you think about…?

#4 Hopes & Dreams
Hopes & Dreams - If we navigate safely through the level of opinions, people will often be willing to reveal what truly inspires them. Sharing hopes and dreams identifies what a person wants to become or how they want to live. Being safe enough to entrust others with your dreams prepares you to connect at an even deeper level.

Knowing what brings passion, energy, and enthusiasm to the lives of the people you love is crucial if you are going to develop a deep level of intimacy. You have to know each other’s dreams. Growing in intimacy is sharing those dreams and asking how we can help each other reach those dreams.

·       Share with the group your hopes and dreams.

Challenge for next time: 

·       Create a dream book for yourself, and with your spouse; if you’re visual, cut & paste pictures of those dreams where you can see them regularly. Come up with dreams for these areas of your life: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, professional, financial, and adventurous. Take a day off with your spouse to come up with your dreams. Have your kids do a dream book too.

No comments:

Post a Comment