Fear. Sometimes it stops us in our tracks. We are going along in our daily lives, all doing things we normally do, working, playing, loving, and we suddenly encounter something primal, deep and unknown. It scares us, causes us to want to turn around and run in the other direction, close ourselves off from the potential that it might actually be something good. We are afraid of letting ourselves go, afraid to be vulnerable, afraid to take risks. We fear emotional or spiritual pain. Afraid of letting go, we fear closeness and love. Sure, everyone enjoys the feeling of romantic love, who doesn’t, with its dopamine driven emotions, pheromones gone wild? Many also fear love in non-romantic relationships and often have a difficult time having meaningful connections with others in their lives.
Why is this fear so great for some? Yes, there is the fear of getting hurt, but at a deeper level, it’s truly the fear of abandonment. Abandonment causes hurt, it makes us feel like we are not good enough, because we lack self-love. If you love yourself, then that is enough. You don’t need others to give you love. A difficult place to get to, but never impossible. When they say that love conquers all, what “they” really mean is that self-love conquers all. Conquers fear, insecurity, and yes, pain.
Some use excuses for not loving others. They are really just fearful of the pain that comes from abandonment. Love is not easy, romantic or otherwise, and often as you grow and evolve in a relationship, there can be pain, as you learn and grow as individuals or as a couple. In romantic love, we have all had our hearts broken and most of us pick ourselves up and move forward. Sometimes it takes a long time – years in some cases – to get over the pain. It takes a while to trust again. Maybe you think you can’t ever trust again, but hopefully, you can because without this trust and vulnerability I believe you cannot experience life and truly be a whole person. You will always be missing something, a connectedness that is rare and beautiful. Learn to love yourself first, then have faith, and trust will come.
How do we let ourselves trust? It comes from faith. Faith that everything will work out as it should. I didn’t say everything will work out. I said everything will work out as it should. It may mean that your heart will be broken, maybe several times, but if you have faith that (are you ready for the cliché’s?) everything happens for a reason, if something was meant to be it will happen, then everything will work out how it’s supposed to. It may not be the fairytale ending you had hoped for. If you learned things about yourself from the experience and actually grow as a person, that is a very positive result. Even though the pain you suffered might have brought you to your knees. Which is actually a great place to be, because on your knees is where you are able to finally surrender to the universe and trust that sometimes you can’t control everything around you. You just let things BE. The worst pain can sometimes bring about the deepest faith. There are simply things you cannot control, including other people’s actions and feelings. Then, when you are done mourning, you pick yourself up and move forward.
In times of pain or sadness, it’s helpful to remember the Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”
God can be any spirit, divinity or force that forms your beliefs. If you have the understanding that there are things you cannot change, especially if you are someone who likes to control or fix things, then you should accept those things as out of your control. They just are. There is nothing you can do to change them and you have to let them play out. This is where faith comes in. You need to have faith (religious or not) that those things will resolve themselves in a way that is meant to be. Might not be a happy ending, but they will come to a resolution. This is the hardest aspect of the serenity prayer. Because we all feel like we need to desperately do something to fix things. It could be a loved one who is a drug addict. We try to help, but at a certain point, we can’t make this person fix themselves. There is only so much we can do. Only they can help themselves. Or it could be someone we love, who doesn’t love us back. We can’t make that person love us no matter what we do. Some keep hopelessly trying, trying to win the other back, trying to change the other person to make them reciprocate the love. Accepting things for what they are, that is the healthiest and most soulful step you can take to being at peace and moving forward positively in your life. Perhaps that person will change, perhaps they won’t, but you simply have to let go and trust in the universe.
Courage, true courage, the kind needed to make a positive change, is also very difficult to GATHER. Making a positive change can be painful sometimes, although these changes are necessary for our well-being. The courage to leave an abusive relationship, the courage to let ourselves love, the courage to end a relationship even though we will be broken hearted. Those are things you can change, that requires you to be strong and take some action. You can leave the abuser, you can trust, and you can end a flailing relationship when it isn’t working out. All things that might be painful and difficult, but things that are important for your own well-being. All of these experiences, good and bad, will make you a stronger person. We become who we are because of them, we learn important life lessons.
Wisdom comes from all of our experiences. Sometimes we make poor decisions, we suffer, we learn. However, these are really choices, not decisions. We have choices in our lives and each choice takes us down a different path. We are then faced with more choices. Sometimes the road is rough, sometimes it’s easy, but those choices all lead us somewhere, where we can experience life, in all of its joy and pain. Are there wrong choices? No, for the most part, unless those choices involve significant harm to others physically and emotionally. They are just choices. We choose and we go from there. Remember the phrase “Choose Wisely” from Indiana Jones? That’s what we should all do. But you need the wisdom to make a wise choice. Some make choices based on intuition without logic, and some rely on mostly logic. The best is a combination of both logic and intuition. Go with your gut, and unless it seems completely insane, use some logic also. However, if you learn to trust your intuition, you will see that those gut feelings are almost always the ones you should trust, even in the face of pure logic.
Trust in others and yourself creates openness – the willingness to feel emotions, the willingness to just let things happen, the willingness to take risks, to fully ENJOY your life on earth. If you don’t trust, you are closed off, walled up, you can’t really live life to the fullest. You are only half living, fearful to love and be loved, fearful of taking risks. Too many negative things may have happened to you when you took risks. So you pause. But hopefully for just a short while. Sometimes it’s necessary to create barriers, temporarily, perhaps to deal with pain or loss. But those barriers need to come down. Imagine how much you will miss out on if you close yourself off indefinitely. Yes, there is pain, there is anguish, there is heartbreak, but you eventually pick yourself back up and you keep living, taking in the joy, happiness, and love. What’s the point of being a human otherwise? You might as well live a lonely life of solitude if you stay disconnected from your emotions.
Oh, and the pixie dust…that’s magic. Life is full of it, if only we open ourselves to it, have faith in ourselves and situations and trust in others. Everything will work out how it should. So throw a little pixie dust on yourself and believe you can fly!