It seems frustratingly paradoxical: We spend our lives longing for someone with whom can share intimacy, connection, and love and when we find it and understand that the person isn’t going anywhere, something inside of us wants to run away.
Why is love so scary?
I’ll answer this from two perspectives: the psychological and the spiritual.
On a psychological level, love is scary because what we learned of love early in life wasn’t really love. A pure expression of love feels free and spacious and invites us to grow into who we really are. Instead, we receive “love” that is conditional; “love” that only appears if we behave in the “right” way; “love” that is demanding or punishing, invasive or violating. Of course this isn’t love at all, but how confusing it is for a young child who hears the words “I love you” only to be followed by actions that didn’t feel loving at all. The wires become crossed and the love scripts become ingrained deep in psyche, scripts that say:
Love means loss.
Love means losing myself.
Love doesn’t last.
Love means heartbreak.
Love means betrayal.
It’s safer to be alone.
On a spiritual level, love is scary because when we open our hearts to another human being we not only take the risk of being hurt but we must be willing to dissolve the ego boundaries that protect our fear-based, small selves from what it perceives as a loss of control. This fear of losing control may have its roots in early primary relationships where caregivers usurped your natural and innate self-trust and boundaries, but it may run deeper than that and effect even those raised in the healthiest of environments. Addressing fear seems to be part of the journey of being on this planet, and while early humans faced physical fear and actual danger that threatened their lives, we have evolved to the point where we’re being asked to face spiritual fear and the actual threat to our ego selves.
Fear shows up in two primary ways: through thoughts and through the body. The most common fear-based thoughts that erect a wall around the heart are:
I don’t love him.
I don’t love her enough or in the right way.
I love him but I’m not in love.
If I was with the right person, I wouldn’t be feeling anxiety and fear.
Am I settling?
Am I just convincing myself that I love her?
I must be making a mistake.
The body erects walls through pulling away physically, shutting down sexually, tightening in the chest or legs, and a variety of other ways. Once you understand and can name the physical and mental ways that fear manifests, you’ve accomplished the first step to dismantling its power.
Love lives on the other side of fear, which means that if you want to experience love, you have to be willing to walk through fear. This is why I’ve devoted the second week of my new program, “Open Your Heart: A 30 day program to feel more love and attraction for our partner,” to exploring effective ways of working with fear and resistance.
If fear has made an appearance in your relationship, you’re being invited to become a love-warrior. Every warrior knows that the absence of fear is not fearlessness but courage. Growing your love and attraction doesn’t mean eradicating fear; it means finding the courage to dismantle it enough so that it’s not ruling your actions and choosing to move toward love anyway. It means learning to call fear by name and learning to recognize your own personal fear-walls. For it’s when fear is in the driver’s seat of your mind that your perception is altered and instead of seeing your partner’s beautiful heart all you see is fun-house distortion. This is what I’ll be teaching in the Open Your Heart program.
Do you want to learn to be a love warrior?
Do you want to learn how to dismantle fear so that you can grow your love and attraction for your partner?
Do you want to be guided and supported through a 30 day program that will help you grow your courage so that you can grow your love?
“Repeated acts of love diminish the fear response both in ourselves and in others,” writes David Richo in When Love Meets Fear. Acts of love don’t mean that you necessarily feel loving toward your partner to act in loving ways. It means that the commitment of repeatedly showing loving actions, both to yourself and your partner, diminishes fear. This seems logical enough, but if you don’t have the roadmap that will teach you which actions to take, you’ll feel lost in the wilderness of fear. It’s these Love Laws and Loving Actions that I’ll be teaching in my new Open Your Heart program.
There are three spots left in the program and registration closes on Wednesday. If you’re interested in the program but now isn’t the right time, I’ll be offering it again in October/November.