Shrink Fear Grow Love

When the fear-fog clears, when the projection that has kept him separate from you and sealed a barnacle over your heart finally shatters, you see your partner as if for the first time. Not only do you see her clearly, in all of her sweet and simple splendor, but the delusions of separateness fall away, and you can see how under the hooks of

hair or

teeth or

height or

education or

ambition or

boredom or

do we have enough to talk about or

he’s wrong for me or

she’s not attractive enough or

I’m always irritated or

mannerisms or

humor or

social fluidity or

so-called chemistry

lives the voice that says:

I have loved you all along.

In those moments of clear-seeing, like sunshine after rain, it’s as if there is no “me” or “you” but only us, or maybe it’s fully me and fully you that makes the us so good.

Without the fear-fog clouding vision, you can see what matters most: her heart of goodness, his mind of honesty, her willingness to keep trying, to keep showing up even when you’re stuck behind the dark wall of shame and projections, even when your past flies out like a thousand bats at night and lands in your bed, even when you’re a thousand miles away while standing side by side.

In real life, the projections don’t fall away in one magic movie moment. Rather, they shatter then seal over then shatter again, a hundred times, a thousand times, a million times, until the space between projections is longer and the place of real love is wider. In the clear moments, you know what you know which is that I do not want to walk away. I want to know what it is to love, fully, without restraint, without fear. I want to know what it is to receive your love every day, to stand at every doorway of our life holding each other while the winds of change blow around us. I want to grow old together, not just to count up the years but where each year of our marriage brings new richness and depth, where our grandchildren look at us and say, “I want their marriage.” Passion will still pulse between us when we’re ninety. We will be Love Warriors.

This “you” of which I speak is the thousands of clients and course members who I have guided through the fear walls and barriers that prevent a heart from fully loving. For clear-minded and open-hearted loving is what we all want. We live in a culture that expects us to get there naturally and fails to teach us that there are reliable principles and actionable steps that can help us shrink fear and grow love. If you would like to learn the Love Laws and Loving Actions that will help you clear away the fog and see through clear-eyes, please join me for my next round of Open Your Heart: A 30-day program to feel more love and attraction for your partner. This twelfth round will start on March 12, 2018, and I look forward to seeing you there.

46 comments to Shrink Fear Grow Love

  • Josefine

    Thank you for putting words to so many feelings that me and so many others have everyday. I’ve been through months of anxiety, but today I’m feeling so much love for my boyfriend and everything that he is, Thank you for being my guidens when there are no other ways.

  • Ravenna

    Wow… just wow. This was amazing,I have so much work to do. I never thought a good and loving reltionship was possible as I didn’t grow up with good examples around. Yet, your work truly makes it feel possible to fight against that voice that says “you can’t do it” and believe that I and so many others CAN indeed “love fully, without restraint and without fear.”

  • Berrylotusgirl

    This was so beautiful it made me cry. Thank you for the work you do that has allowed me to stay present and get married and learn about love. You have changed the framework of my understanding of love do that I have true love in my life. ❤️

  • CT

    Absolutely beautiful post as always Sheryl !! Thanks for that.
    I do have a question, if the anxiety have been around for a long time is it possible it juat makes it impossible to get to the want ans desire for the future with your partner?
    Before the anxiety i had no problem with that. I couldn’t wait for the proposal, we always talked about the future together and so on. We both knew and i felt that we have found a pretty good person next to us to do life together and marry one day.
    I just struggle to connect to with all that ,and that makes me scared and worry:(

    • Valentina

      Hi CT, I just wanted to say that I struggle with the exact same thing and I would love if Sheryl or someone else gave us some insight, because it makes me obsess so much. I was diagnosed with OCD and I’m trying my best not to engage with this kind of thoughts

      • CT

        Valentina,im very sorry to hear that you struggle with the same issues:(
        It just eating me alive. It so painful and scary.
        I have broke down om tears to my partner so many times and saying that i dont want to loose him or our relationship. That I don’t want to leave him. I know that i lobe this person so so so much.. so whyyyyy i cant connect to those things lik I connected before the anxiety 🙁

        • Valentina

          I think we can’t connect with those things because we’re forcing us to do so, it’s like tickling yourself, you won’t feel anything. Maybe we should try to distract ourselves instead of trying to connect with those feelings? I don’t know

          • CT

            For me im just scared that if o can’t connect to all those things that means i have to leave and that means i dont want to be with him ,that I don’t want to marry him
            Sheryl do you have any wisdoms to share?
            It s so bersu confusing and scary:(

    • Keep going through the Break Free course, CT, and practice the tools. It’s the daily practice that makes the difference between remaining stuck and breaking through. Have you taken Open Your Heart? It would be great for you if you haven’t taken it yet.

      • CT

        Im so scard. I scared to do anything bc im scared that i would find out that deep down I don’t want this ,that i dont want my partner ans that i have to leave 🙁
        I know im stuck but im so scared alao 🙁

        • How much of the course material have you gone through and what tools are you practicing daily?

          • CT

            Sheryl if im really honest right now I don’t practice anything. In past i have done journaling.
            Right now im just stuck and lost and scared. Im also very stuck when ot comea to intrusive thoughts.. im still on that side i feeel that every single thought inhave is true,and then i have a thought that i dont want my partner ansd thwen that makes me feel upset and scared and then thoughts follow that i just don’t want admitt my truth and thats wjy i feel anxious
            I guesa you can tell im just very lost here at the moment and im juat scared to do anything:(

          • If you do nothing, nothing will change. I encourage you to to dive back into the course and focus particularly on the lesson on working with your thoughts. Once you jump on the intrusive thought train, it’s down the rabbit hole from there. You need to learn how to name the thought and practice working with it as I teach in the course.

          • CT

            I really appreciate your kind worda Sheryl !
            So there ia a way back for me ? There is a way back to connect to my wants and desires what o had for yeara before the anxiety kicked in ?

  • Sarah

    Hi Sheryl,

    When will the next round after this one be run?

    Thank you. Lovely post 🙂

  • Dee

    Sheryl, as always you are a master of words. Thank you for your research and work into RA. I trusted your words and I now no longer have the chasm of supposed disconnect or the fear for. I’m back to having my normal feelings and emotions about my husband and our relationship.

  • Tundi

    The beauty and wisdom of your words transcend this dimension. Thank you for weaving the story of this difficult journey into such breathtaking beauty. Your words light me up and every inch of my being is screaming YES!
    I just want to read it over and over and over because it fills me with gratitude so much I might burst. Thank you for giving us a reason to believe, to try and to persevere! There is light on the other side, and it’s brighter and warmer than I ever imagined! Much much love, Tündi

  • ALEX

    I came to your website many times when I was in a dark place googling away. I finally purchaswd the course and it changed my life. The only resource to this problem. I am now moving away from projections. It’s easier to understand and see them as they are, because fear is now holding itself to other people in my life as well. Like my family, whom I love with everything. However, I am getting into a place of despair because I can’t identify the fear, I can’t identify how to make the anxiety better. There’s nothing making me unhappy, so I can’t get rid of its claws. Having those intrusive thoughts is making me truly unhappy though. Any advice on how ro identify and deal effectively with the fears? I dont know what it is. Thank you

  • Anetij

    Dear Sheryl, could you please write a guide to those who are stuck in RA for numerous years. I know there’s a beautiful post on forum, but it would be so helpful to understand what the difference is between those who manage to get on the other side and those who cannot. Thank you

  • Julia

    Hi Sheryl, This was so beautiful and so timely. I’ve been working on my self, my wounds and thought processes that have blocked me for a long time; and work with a great therapist who introduced me to your work. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and even though I am single, and have been, this still resonated with me. And just this week even, I felt like this space opened up, this loving and abundant space opened up, and I could finally see me; my true inner essence with all the beauty that she embodies.
    Especially as this was a huge week (days of crying and wrestling my wounded self and shame story), and it is beautiful to see that this is loving. I am able to truly work through these projections and ‘mind gremlins’ and see, hear and love my little inner self.
    As I said, I am not currently in a relationship, so I work on my anxiety through friendships and my deepest connections, as I build up my own true and deep understanding of myself and my desire for connection and love to share with others.
    Thank you!

    • This is so beautiful, Julia, and I’m sure very inspiring for my readers who are single. We can do the work of shrinking fear and growing love in all of our relationships, including the relationship with ourselves!

  • diva

    Sheryl – Question!

    I find that one of the biggest challenges – certainly in long term relationships – is having one partner eager, seeking, willing. And the other partner just a satisfied #2. Meaning they are a loving partner, but without the same expectations of their partner. So then you work with ONE of the partners on creating this incredible intimacy, love for their partner, etc – and it may not be met with the same fervor.

    Even in my 2.5 year amazing relationship, I wonder if i would settle into a pattern of satisfied couple hood and not always pushing our relationship to the limits of ultimate satisfaction, that he would oblige. He’s responsive to me – very… but that’s why I’m asking about longer term relationships. Or what I may see evolve in the future when things are more settled between us. (settled is both, well settling… and frightening)


    • AnneO

      Diva, I completely agree with what you are saying. I’m wondering if Sheryl could elaborate on this? I’ve been with my bf for the past three years, and the quality of our connection isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be. I have gotten to the point where I am seriously considering leaving, because we just don’t spend quality time together unless we are watching TV or something. I’ve mentioned that I want to work on our relationship in the past, but he is just content having things be the way they are. I am working and also going to school, and it just feels like I don’t have the energy to put into this relationship the kind of attention I know it needs to progress and thrive. We have definitely stagnated. I am not sure what to do.

      • An essential quality in a partner is their willingness to work on the relationship. It’s okay if one person is the wave and initiates the growth process as long as the other person is willing to ride the wave.

        • AnneO

          Thank you for your response Sheryl; I have been following your blogs and I really appreciate all of the work you do 🙂 I have a question (that I know ultimately is an answer only I can give myself), but what if I don’t want to work on it even if my boyfriend was willing to ride along with the wave of growth? I think about your posts a lot, and wonder whether I am living in the calloused area of my heart. But there is something inside of me that says “I want out.” Not a frenzied, panicked part, kind of a more melancholy sad part of me. Is it okay to give up on a relationship just because you don’t want to do it anymore/because you want to be alone? I know it is kind of silly to be asking you because it is my relationship! But I appreciate your insight. Thank you 🙂

  • MSwonderful87

    Thank you for this Sheryl. a reminder of the wonderful man I married. I compare alot but god has really blessed me with someone amazing. and deep i know I love my husband. I know that with everything with me.

  • Caitlin

    Hi Sheryl, I’m very interested in taking your Open Your Heart course as I feel that it will help me immensely. Is this possible if I live in the United Kingdom? I’m just wondering in terms of how the group calling would work, what with the time difference and all. Speaking of which, are the group calls private phone calls with yourself, or kind of like a group chat over Skype?

    • Hi Caitlin: At least half the participants live outside the US, and the group calls are scheduled accordingly. There will be two group calls and both are with me at times that should work for you in the UK. If you’re not able to make the calls (only about 1/4 of course participants are generally able to make the live calls), you will be able to ask your questions beforehand and listen to the live recording afterwards.

  • Lizzie

    For anyone out there who is struggling with this, I can truly say keep working and putting in the effort and you will get there. I have recently come through into a new place of clarity and certainty within myself which is the most liberating wonderful feeling. I feel awash with love for my partner -and my confidence has grown hugely. It took me 2 years of doing the Break Free course along with having therapy – when you turn that corner you realise it is ALL worth it.
    Thank you so much Sheryl for all your work and guidance – it is truly appreciated.

    • Thank you, Lizzie. The hard work does pay off in spades!

    • Laura

      Hi Lizzie! So wonderful to hear and it gives me hope. I’m just wondering if you could share more of your story (if you feel comfortable) I feel like I’ve been battling this for about 8 months and it seems to be feeling heavy and sad. It would be great to read through somebody’s experience!

  • Lydia

    I noticed mostly the feeling of love for my partner appears when I feel good with myself , as if all of mistakes that he has been made its no longer relevant, it was all because I didn’t feel good within me, but Im still really curious about whether he’s good for me or not, because there are some red flag (sometimes he disrespects me and very tight around money)

  • Angela

    I recently joined an online OCD support group and was trying to help a girl understand her ROCD. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve struggled, but talking about it got my fear mind going: what if it comes back? I’m afraid of relapse. Is it normal that talking about it brings up old pain?

  • Erin

    Hi Sheryl,

    I’m in the midst of your Break Free course and it has been a whirlwind (in a helpful way). It has already helped so much and for that I am eternally grateful. I have a long way to go, though!

    I’m trying to weigh the pros and cons of taking this course right now – I definitely want to take it while I’m still working with the Break Free course but finances are a little tight. When is the next time you’ll be offering it, so I can determine if I want to wait or not?

    Thank you!!

  • Angela

    Beautiful, just beautiful, just lost for words.
    Love always

  • Emma

    I have alot of anxiety with all kind of relationsships that are close to me. Lately i’ve had it with my best friend, wether i’m.a good enough friend or not, if i don’t tell her everything, if I keep secrets from her, if other people say things about her. The other day, I asked a guy she’s seeing if he likes her, and he seemed unsure, something that stressed me because I feel like I have to tell my friend. My boyfriend says that it’s not my responsibility and that whatever I think about it may not be true. It eats me from the inside as I’m afraid he’s using her and that I’m letting it happen. I always feel alot of responsibility, both for my own thoughts and for other peoples actions. What would you say about this Sheryl? Also, I’ve liked this guy before and I know he’s had an interest in me, so I’m getting all sorts of anxious feelings like “what if i’m trying to ruin it for them” “what if i’m making he like me more” etc.

  • Brooke

    This is my biggest hope in OCD recovery, to learn to love and accept being loved in return. To not trust “feelings” in terms of love but learn to accept a value based relationship, with feelings as a good byproduct. Thank you for another lovely post.

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