It’s a choice to open your heart.
It’s a choice to cast fear aside, to say no to the demons that try to keep you separate from love.
It’s not an easy choice, and battling the demons of fear is a courageous pursuit, but it’s a choice nonetheless.
Imagine you’re sitting beside your beloved and you can’t feel your love for him or her. Fear says, “You must not really love him. You must be making a mistake by marrying her.” Fear says these things because fear wants you to leave. In that moment, it’s a choice to brush – or sometimes bush-whack – away these voices. They can be loud and convincing, I know. But it’s still a choice: to allow fear or love to drive the car.
You may think you don’t have a choice, but imagine this: someone walks into the room and says, “You have ten minutes to be with your parter. After that, we’re taking him away and you’ll never see him again.” Would you choose to stay walled off and protected, or would you cast off fear’s heavy cloak and open your heart to your beloved? Now do you see that it’s a choice?
There is nothing more scary than committing yourself body, mind, and soul to another person, risking love and thus risking loss. And there is nothing more worthy than taking that risk, asking yourself to grow beyond your comfort zone so that you can learn, at increasingly deeper layers, about what it means to love and be loved.
Sheryl Thank you for your post. It gave me a little extra strength to keep battling the fear!! I want to take the risk of love and opening up and giving all of me but the fear is there and sometimes its so strong I just want to give up. What if my love is not enough? What if I’ve lost part of me and this is all I can give? It’s so frustrating…when will these feelings go away? will they go away?
The feelings will shift but the first step is to allow for them, make room and space for them, recognize that they’re important and part of a learning process. Pushing the fear away without doing any conscious work around it will actually make it grow stronger. I know it’s counter-intuitive, but there needs to be a softening around the fears and other difficult feelings that the anxious thoughts are protecting you from. Does that make sense?
Most of the fear for me around choosing love has to do with my understanding of what that means. For most of my life, loving someone was a command to caretake and allow myself to be used. And since loving someone also meant never attending to my own needs and wants (as this would be evidence that I wasn’t being loving), I was always operating from a depleted position. It took a lot of “staying with the fear” for me to recognize this, and even just reading this article stirs up the fear all over again. “Oh no, now Sheryl is telling me that I have to love (ie allow my husband to drain me).” But now I can see the choice and I am actively learning a different meaning for love.
This post came at the perfect time for me. Consciously I know that it is a choice and that is the best way to approach it. The problem is when you start questioning if it is fear or intuition? I don’t know how to tell the difference when anxious.
Kim i think about that all the time. Can one think of themselves first and attend their needs first? Is that being selfish? And can you be selfish and still be a good partner? I also relate to you Lyn- its so hard to tell what is “the truth”. I ask myself,am I just scared or is something telling me something is wrong? Is it my gut feeling or my fear! Its so hard to diferentiate.
Lyn/GMJERSEY your questions hit home. When these fears are so strong, it’s difficult to know when is this anxiety and fear, and when is this intuition. I am trying to understand the fear now, but still wonder how it can be this all-consuming if it is not intuition? Makes me feel sad for myself, but my wonderful fiance, my best friend.
Well, this is the number question for people who contact me for counseling. It’s not always easy to distinguish between healthy transition fear, anxious-fear, and true intuition. One of the keys is honestly asking yourself if there’s anything currently glaring in the relationship that needs attention and would warrant this much fear. Fear that’s based in the present moment deserves attention, and could be your intuition speaking to you. Examples of this would be addiction or abuse issues, or a deep-down sense that you’re not ready to get married because you’re too young, haven’t lived enough live on your own ,etc. If, on the other hand, the majority of your fear-based thoughts start with the phrase, “What if…?” then you’re in the future and this is ALWAYS a sign that your anxious mind is in the driver’s seat. I happen to know from working with two of you over the phone that your fear is stemming from the anxious mind and is NOT your intuition. The work at that point is doing Inner Bonding where you learn to provide your own reassurance through the re-parenting model and some kind of meditation practice that helps you come to a place of acceptance about the level of uncertainty that getting married engenders.
This spiked my anxiety “deep-down sense that you’re not ready to get married because you’re too young, haven’t lived enough live on your own”. this is exactly the problem I have in my relationship, I am 18 and have been in my relationship since I was 13. We have an amazing relationship and can have a good future together, but I never had those in love feelings because in the beginning of our relationship I stayed for wrong reasons. But the love ended up growing and today we have, like I said a good relationship. We are best friends, he would do anything for me, he is committed respectful, smart…and many more amazing qualities. Although we aren’t getting married the fact still is that I am afraid of never living those butterflies/attraction if I stay in our relationship which will at a very serious level since we have been together so long. And I am also afraid of staying for the wrong reasons, like making my mom happy ( who really loves him). Please, anyone comment on this, I really appreciate the insight.
This is a great post and I love, love, love that everyone that comments on this blog is so open and honest – I think it’s a rarity on the web.
Anyway, I think the differentiation between “what if” fears/thoughts and actual issues that arise in your life is good to keep an eye on. “What if” thoughts are horrific – they never go anyway, except in circles, chasing themselves, and they never get tired of the spiral. I’ve had a lot of those in my life and am now only learning the difference.
Right now, a lot of things are popping up for me in my new-ish marriage. Things that were on the periphery for a while, but that I was not able to handle or answer before. I am angry that I was not strong enough or courageous enough to deal with them then and am not struggling today – sometimes unfairly at the cost of my beautiful husband’s feelings. The scariest “what if” for me is “what if these issues I am having mean that I need to get divorced? how can I hurt him like that?”
Ironically, I don’t know how to categorize that “what if” question – is it anxiety or not?
Marisa – Yes, this is the place to be honest about difficult feelings and break cultural taboos around life transitions! As far as distinguishing between anxiety and truth, I highly recommend you consider The Conscious Weddings eCourse: From Anxiety to Serenity, as I created it primarily to address this exact question. And if you want to connect with people who are willing to share EVERYTHING, the eCourse forum is the place!