Under the guidance of my therapist, I slowly learned to challenge fear and call its lies out onto the mat. In a life-changing session with him, I learned that fear was actually distorting my perceptions of my partner. This was astonishing to me! Fear was so powerful that it could actually alter the way I was physically seeing him! I learned that when we see life through fear-tinted glasses, it’s like walking through a fun-house where everything becomes distorted. Except that it’s not fun at all; it’s torture. Fear wanted to convince me to run because in fear’s mind, love is dangerous. Love means loss. Love mean losing myself or losing the other person. Love means risking my heart and breaking down the layers of control. Real love means that I have to be accountable and vulnerable and, since I had never met someone with whom I felt safe enough to do this, almost every fiber in my body and soul wanted to run.
But I didn’t run. Thank God, I didn’t run. I worked my tail off every day and wrote hundreds of dialogues between the various characters of my mind, with the voice of my Higher Self or God responding. There were many moments when fear would dissolve and I would see my partner through clear eyes, standing before me with the beauty of his soul radiating out like the rays of the sun. I would see his kindness that runs through him like a river and emanates out of his warmest eyes. I would see his acts of caring, which are too numerous to list here. I would see his creativity, his soulfulness, the poetry of who he is. I would see that he’s everything I’ve ever wanted and needed, and I would be flooded with love and gratitude. Fear might rear its ugly head the very next hour, but those windows of clarity are what gave me the inspiration and the knowing that I had to keep battling through the fear voices and fighting for love.
It’s now one of my greatest joys to help others work through their fear voices and learn to choose love. When clients email me their daily dialogues, I analyze them line by line, helping them see where fear has taken hold and how they can challenge it. I hold out a lifeline for them, a context that says, “I know it’s horrible right now, but if you stay with this you won’t regret it. There is nothing more worth fighting for than a shared life with a loving partner.” If it’s possible for me and the thousands of people I’ve counseled, it’s possible for you.
I’m in awe of fear but I no longer allow it to rule my life. I won’t lie to you: Fear still occasionally takes hold and I still have to work with it until it releases its grip. But it doesn’t happen daily or even weekly. For the most part, I live my life with immense amounts of gratitude and a solid knowing that none of this would be possible – not our two boys, not our home and land, not my thriving counseling practice, not the inner hum of peace that permeates most of my days, not the sweet and enduring love in our marriage - had I not said no to fear and yes to love.
Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her bestselling books, her Home Study Programs and her websites. She has appeared several times on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, as well as on “Good Morning America” and other top media shows and publications around the globe. To sign up for her free 78-page eBook, “Conscious Transitions: The 7 Most Common (and Traumatic) Life Changes“, visit her website at http://conscious-transitions.com.