I’m re-reading a beautiful book called When Love Meets Fear by David Richo. In a section called “Letting Love In” (p. 135) he writes:
Our work on our fear follows a simple path:
admit you are afraid,
allow yourself to feel the fear fully,
act as if fear were not getting in your way.
Allow the one who loves you – and whom you want to love but cannot – to draw an inch closer for a minute longer than you can stand… My desire to be loved is stronger than my fear of it. Love does that; it puts you in a position that makes you no longer so careful about limits – my stony limits that no longer hold love out.
This work involves a willingness to be awkward, to be amateur. To feel the fear and still let yourself be loved is doing the very opposite of what the wall does. The wall protects the fear. Now you leave the fear unprotected, allowing yourself to feel it, thereby acting as if you were not feeling it. The daily moment and the daily inch impacts exponentially as time goes by because you are teaching your body one cell at a time: “You do not have to be so afraid anymore.”
Your partner hugs you. You start shivering and scrunching up. You just cannot stand it, and, to get away, you say: “You know, I have to get to work, I can’t stay right now, I have to leave.” To work on that fear, you let yourself stay in the embrace for one more minute than you can stand. It is awkward and feels painful, but in that one minute your body is finding out: “You can stay and still survive.” A message of safety has gone through every cell. Next time you add another minute. And before you know it you can hug as long as you want. Repeated acts of love diminish the fear response both in ourselves and in others. When each partner risks doing something one more minute than each can stand, they are standing together, i.e., intimate.
Love is a risk, and somewhere deep in our cells we all know this. But it’s also the reason why we’re here, and each time we find the courage and resolve to break down a brick of our fear walls, we taste the sweetness of the sweetest nectar available to our hearts, the love-nectar that gives meaning, richness, and fullness to our lives.
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. And if you’re suffering from relationship anxiety – whether dating, engaged, or married – give yourself the gift of the Conscious Weddings E-Course: From Anxiety to Serenity.