Fear is the problem and the root of fear is separateness. We transform separateness through compassion and love. So fear is an invitation to engage in practice and to be more loving. ~ Ram Dass in Walking Each Other Home, page 87
Linda: Intimacy in a loving relationship not only feels good, but it’s good for you too! Why then do so many of us have so much fear and anxiety when it comes to something that we long for so strongly? Why is it so elusive? How can we bring more of this extraordinary quality into our lives and our relationships? Is it simply a matter of finding the right person who isn’t “intimacy-phobic” or is there more that we can do regardless of our partner’s degree of openness or resistance?
Looking into the question of whether I am afraid to love is an important use of our time. To the degree that there is any fear in the way, the amount of love that we can experience is limited. There are many fears associated with loving fully. They all fall under the umbrella of the big fear of having our heartbroken. Consider which of these may apply to you.
Fear of not being loved back
Fear of being rejected
Fear of being abandoned
Fear of being vulnerable
Fear of seeming foolish
Fear of being seen for who we are
Fear of being dependent
Fear of being exploited
Fear of being betrayed
Everyone has emotional wounds from childhood and some people have many. And there are wounds from adulthood too, where people weren’t there for us in a caring way. Promises were broken, agreements not kept, decisions made that left us at a disadvantage, and we may not have been properly valued. There is a potential that our present relationship can mend the broken places with care and tenderness.
When we apply ourselves to recovering from any fears that are holding us back, we are using that potential wisely to heal our fears. For clearing out that which is in the way of becoming a deeply loving human being leads to a rich and fulfilling life.
Such is the power of authentic intimacy. It can be nothing less than transformative in its potential. In our heart of hearts, we all know that this is true. We know that we are not only enriched by deeply loving experiences but that we can be fundamentally changed by them; changed in a way that makes us more available to the world and to our own experience than we had been before.
Once we become courageous enough, to tell the truth first to ourselves about our broken heart, and then to our trusted confidant, we are positioned well to understand the pain of others. We become the best of who we can be. Our tender, broken heart helps us to mature into a more conscious lover. Rather than the superficial beauty that originally attracted us, there is an appreciation of their inner beauty. Our conversations contain the richness of our experience from the ordeals we have lived through together, the struggles we have been forced to develop to meet life’s challenges, and the wisdom we have gleaned from our loving combat while negotiating our differences.
We can continue our valiant attempts to be dignified, graceful, and authentic while we learn to love well. Our very injuries that broke our hearts become a source of compassion for the suffering of others. With time and effort, our weaknesses can become our strengths; our embarrassment becomes our gifts, and our faults can become our beauty.