A friend made this statement to me just yesterday and it gave me cause for pause. After a short contemplation I realized just how much truth it holds. This statement is true for both romantic and non romantic relationships. We tend to operate within our relationships out of a state of fear. There is fear of disapproval, fear of rejection, fear of loss, fear of abandonment, fear of repeating prior mistakes, fear of making a mistake. Fear, fear, fear!!! And within the realm of this fear, it does indeed define the relationship. We may tell ourselves that we are operating out of love when in truth that is the farthest thing from reality.
Let’s take a closer look. When we operate out of a place of fear we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. We may know, primarily because they have shared it with us, the other person’s history of “kicking others to the curb.” We do not wish for this to happen to us, so we walk on eggshells. The same can be said if the other person has a bit of a temper that we don’t wish to encounter. In doing this eggshell walk we are holding back. We are inauthentic in an effort not to rock the boat. What we sometimes don’t realize is that in doing the eggshell walk we are withholding a part of ourselves.
When we fear abandonment either through infidelity or termination of the relationship, we also hold back. No need to love this person completely only to have them leave me is the mindset. Is it not? Then there is the fear of making a mistake. What if this person is not the right one for you? You have invested time and given your love only to have made a mistake? This fear can not only define a relationship but prevent one from participating in one. The fear becomes greater than the basic need to be loved. But what if you have made a mistake? So what!!!! It is a learning experience. One through which you have spread love to another person who may have been in desperate need of it. They may not have been the one for you, but perhaps the universe needed them to encounter you for their learning. We don’t have all the answers, but isn’t that part of the joy of life?
The granddaddy of them all is the fear of repeating past mistakes. You will see this often in relationships that occur soon after a major breakup like a divorce. Often times the divorced person “wastes” several potentially good opportunities by staying stuck in the past. They are so busy analyzing the mistakes of the marriage, embittered by the experience, and definitely fearful of reliving the same results again that they don’t offer themselves anywhere close to fully to a new relationship. They spend a lot of time in conversation about “what went wrong.” Well your potential mate does not need to hear all of this for a myriad of reasons. First, you may have been the one who made the mistakes that led to the demise of the marriage. This new person, in hearing all of the gory details, more often than not may become fearful that those same mistakes may be repeated with them. You have now put a cloud where there was sun. More importantly, you more than likely have grown from the prior experience and are not the same person. The new person you are dealing with is certainly not the person you were married to. Why taint your new relationship? If you have decided you would like to reenter the dating arena, then do so boldly. Offer your very best and expect to receive the same in return. Even if each person is not “the one” I assure you the quality of dating partners will increase as a result of this attitude.
So the obvious question is if most of our relationships are defined by fear what does the opposite look like? Well the simple answer is that it is relationship defined on love. If I spread love in as unconditional of a manner as I can, then I will receive it in return.
I can almost hear some of your brains engaging as you read this. 🙂 You contend that you are not operating out of fear, you are simply “being smart.” Um hmm… smartly fearful. Fear is a natural way of relating for most of us. It is how we were raised. We were afraid to disappoint our parents for fear that they would not love us as much. Some of us were afraid to “step out of line ” for fear of corporal punishment. We have all had the experience of loving someone with all of our heart only to have the relationship end badly.
So what do the opposite look like you ask? What does a relationship defined in love look like? Well, let’s take a look. If I offer love in as unconditional manner as I can in my familial, friend, and love relationships, I have trust, honesty, caring, support, encouragement, strength. Others don’t have to worry about whether they will be “punished” because I am disappointed in them. They know that I accept them fully, their strengths and their shortcomings, and will love them anyway.
This does not mean that everything another person does will be acceptable to me or that I receive any and all treatment of me as good. It means that I am open to all of the love they have to offer and offer it in return. When that is not the case, I will still love them but maybe not from the same level of closeness. This distancing will come from a place of love though and not hurt, anger, and betrayal. We may just not be the best fit for one another at the moment.
I promise you this is easier to type than execute. I also promise you that when we operate within our relationships from a place of love instead of fear, the quality of said relationships will increase exponentially. It goes back to the Law of Attraction. We will receive that which meets our expectations. Expect the best for and from one another. Stop living in fear. It is boxing you in, stifling your growth and pushing love away.
Spread love… peace and blessings.