The Importance of Intimacy

Most of the books about ikigai focus more on achieving bigger goals, but only a few talk about interpersonal relationships. Is having intimate or meaningful relationships vital for ikigai? Nick and Dr. Katharina Stenger discuss the importance of interpersonal relationships in ikigai and how it benefits people.

Nick: Probably the most important aspect of ikigai that's totally missed in the western interpretation of it, and I think most of, or many of the books, is interpersonal relationships: that we need meaningful connections with people where there's some form of intimacy, whether it's physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, experiential, and I'm kind of surprised that we don't read more about the importance of intimacy in all significant relationships.

That's what I'd say is my ikigai is -- intimacy. Like, right now we're having this kind of intellectual emotional intimacy, because we're good friends, but we're having this enjoyable conversation on ikigai and your work. And it gives me more than a sense of happiness. It just makes me feel alive; we could probably do this as a 10 hour podcast.

Rina: But yeah, I feel exactly the same. It is really a shame that people, when they hear the word intimacy, especially in Germany, I had this experience, they think about physical intimacy. That's the thing that comes to mind.

But this is only such a small part of human connection. Like you said, there's so much more to it, I had to learn that myself, and I love to give this wisdom to my clients.

And yeah, I think that ikigai can really help those people who are suffering from loneliness, for example, to get another perspective on their lives.

I think that ikigai can really, really help if you are open. If you want to make a change in your life, because it is this inspiring and refreshing way to look at your life and to reconnect with things that really matter.

The things that make your life unique and wonderful. And this includes the people around you. So an ikigai mindset makes you more active, I think, and it can draw you out of a passive state of suffering, boredom, indifference, and so on. 

So it trains your awareness or your imagination and optimism, I think.