It happens in an instant: your partner comes to you for a kiss or sends a flirty text and your body tightens and recoils. Your habitual, culturally-conditioned mind interprets your physical response as “truth”: “This is my body’s way of telling me that something is wrong in our relationship. I’ve been told my entire life to trust my body, that my body doesn’t lie, so if this was the right relationship surely I wouldn’t have this negative physical response. Everyone tells me to ‘trust my gut’ and here it is. My gut is clearly telling me that this must be wrong. And now my panic button has been hit and I feel like I can’t breathe.”
If we understood how fear works, we would be able to offer another interpretation, which might sound something like this: “My body is registering fear right now. From what I know about fear, the best antidote is to move toward, not away. So if I’m irritated with my partner and I interpret the irritation as evidence that I’m with the wrong person, I will create more distance between us, which will only add fuel to my fear-mind that wants to prove that this is wrong. But if I quickly douse this fear with truth and instead move toward my partner, the fear will dissipate. Oh, right, I can feel it now. I can my body relaxing. I remember that I do deeply love this person and I love being close to him/her. Phew!” Deep exhale.
It’s these micro-moments that determine what happens next and next and next, and it does happen in the flash of an eye. If we respond to the recoiling in the first way, we will entrench the belief that our body’s response is evidence that we’re in the wrong relationship. This interpretation will, of course, send up warning flares to your already terrified self and cause more walls to jut up around your heart. When we’ve longed to be seen and loved our entire loves and someone is standing in front of us offering just that, our body, which is the messenger of the unconscious, doesn’t know what to do with it. Meeting fear with fear will only solidify the beliefs that are causing you to contract and protect against love.
There are many dangerous lines when it comes to navigating through the fear-fields that arise in love. There’s “you should just know” and “don’t settle” and “if you’re not immediately physically attracted then it’s not the right person”. But perhaps the most damaging is “trust your gut.”
Every time I hear “trust your gut” or “your body never lies”, I cringe. Even well-meaning and more spiritually evolved people like yoga and meditation teachers will often say these lines, and a part of me wants to stand up and shout, “Woah! Hold on a minute! Yes, your body never lies. That’s true. But our interpretation of what our body is telling us changes everything! Your body is likely registering fear but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to bolt!” How different our relationships would be if we understood the inner workings of fear! How many loving relationships end because we fall prey to the cultural injunction of “trust your gut” without understanding that it’s our interpretation of this injunction that is faulty.
Clients often will say to me something like, “I’m a highly sensitive and intuitive person and my gut has served me well my entire life. I’ve been able to trust myself around so many situations, why is this different?” To which I respond, “Love has its own rules, and nowhere does fear show up more than in the realm of love, which means that nothing in your life presents the same level of risk. You can leave a job if it doesn’t work out. You can move to a different city. But with love, you’re handing your heart to someone with the implicit understanding that it can get hurt. Loving is the biggest risk we take as humans.”
These small but essential pieces of truth are what I teach in Open Your Heart: A 30-day course to feel more love and attraction for your partner. It’s the roadmap of fear and love that you never received, and I’m delighted to lead another group of passionate learners and Love-Warriors through these essential Love Laws and Loving Actions that, when implemented, change the entire landscape of your capacity to love and be loved. The program begins on March 10, 2018, this is the last week to sign up, and spots are filling fast. I look forward to meeting you there.