Saturday, October 26, 2013

Stop Being Afraid of Being Loved or Falling in Love

Are you afraid to fall in love? Or does the thought of being loved by someone scare you? Does the idea of love make you feel suffocated. too deeply entwined, or is the whole concept just plain uninteresting to you? Love scars can lead you to avoid love altogether, for fear of being hurt again. And yet, while love is an uncertain and sometimes chaotic journey, it has the potential to be wondrous too. And if you're not prepared to put in effort, then you're not going to get love back. By relying on hope and giving yourself the permission to try love again, you can find a way to fall in love or let others love you that won't result in pain or disappointment.

Understand that the feeling of love is permissible. Let yourself be overcome by feelings of affection, care, intensity, and warmth. These feelings won't destroy you -- they are good, positive feelings. And if you let your own feelings of love show, it is so much easier for the other person to feel safe about reciprocating their mutual affection. Sometimes it is ass much about you making it obvious that love has a place in your life as it is about expecting others to take care of your fragile heart -- you're not alone in feeling worried about love!

Rid yourself of past shadows. When you start feeling great affection for someone but the ghost of love gone wrong in the past starts fluttering by, tell yourself that this is a different situation and a different person. Remind yourself that you're a wiser, more emotionally healthy self too. Emotionally healthy people learn from the lessons in the past, then move forward leaving the past behind. Make good now and trust this new beginning, as it is going to be worth it for both of you. If you find that the past colors everything you're doing in the present, then it might be time to get some talk therapy with someone you trust. Sometimes it takes talking it through to form a clearer picture of your fear and sense of loss. Some people are not inhibited by the past so much as by the future. Such people constantly worry about how their future instead of living in the now -- this can put the brakes on love too because unnecessary energy is spent on "what ifs", such as "what if this doesn't work out and I've wasted all my energy on building this relationship?". If this is you, remind yourself that time spent building a relationship is never wasted, even if the person passes through your life, it still matters at the time and teaches you things about yourself and others.

Face your fears. If you feel a sense of suffocation, loss of self, or disillusionment about love, then you probably have a tougher road ahead than a person who fears a repeat of the past. For you, the fear is about losing yourself, your individuality. Think about the past and anyone who may have made you feel this way, suffocated, watched over, criticized too much. Put that memory into its place and recognize that the person or situation is very different from a love in which two people at an equal level care about one another and make mature decisions together. When fear of love grips you, it helps to set very clear but friendly ground rules about yourself from the start of a loving relationship. Let the other person know that you will always feel a need for space, time alone, and opportunities to do things separate from your relationship but that this does not impact your love and care for this person. Rather, make it clear that this is a healthy way for a couple to be together, always growing and being individuals as much as being part of a couple. In relationships you can have alone time and you both need to have the understanding that nothing is wrong with having time to yourself.

Take the plunge slowly. You're never going to be the type who sees fireworks and feels love at first sight -- you're too cautious and need to reflect. However, this is a positive, not a negative -- only fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Take your time developing your loving relationship, and be mature, honest, straightforward and open with your partner. The love that flourishes from this slowly-does-it approach is often an enduring and respectful one. Moreover, slowly developed love tends to be more forgiving of the other person's ways than a lightning bolt love that unravels when all the habits and foibles of the other person begins to show. 

Don't give up your other passions. Being in a loving relationship means being in a supportive one. It is not about being changed by another person, or trying to change someone. If you fear that the person you love might end up wanting to change something about you, deal with this early on. Always make it clear that you come with the fox terriers, the summer vacation hunting trips, the night-out-with-the girls once a week, the desire to never have children, the weekends locked away reading a book. If you have passions that define you, a partner who seeks to take them away from you will leave both of you unhappy and if this is what is stopping you from falling in love, return to the mantra of being open, clear, and up front from the start. Now that all this is out of the way, you can start open up and to fall in love and finally enjoy the journey to self-discovery that includes discovering someone else who cares for you. Good luck leaving fear behind!

Remember that love is a multi-colored, many splendid thing that is hard to confine to one-box-fits-all or to a singular definition. It just may be that your problem is how you define love; change your perspective and you might just lose your fear. Love can creep up unawares, dressed in the clothing of friendship, a shared passion, a regular meet-up, a weekly conversation in the pub - it doesn't have to be anything spectacular or overwhelming and it can be as simple, or as complicated, as you want it to be. Maybe seeing it this way can lessen your fear of the amorphous, overly romanticized notion of love and help you to understand that at its most basic, love is companionship with somebody who means a great deal to you.


Be careful that you aren't mistaking "Love" for loneliness. Don't think you are putting someone in your heart, when all you really want is someone in your bed. No matter who it is, there is always a chance of being hurt, even if you eliminate the fear. Choose heartbreak over fear of heartbreak; choose doing over doing nothing.

  

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