Fear is sneaky because we don’t always recognize it when it’s at work inside us. But, oh is it there. We all have fear, to varying degrees, in one way or another. The truth is, it prevents us from taking chances, and so it keeps us from living our lives fully. When it comes to relationships, the fear of rejection is common.
Our fears add fuel to the possible horrors of an imagined future, which prevents us from living in the present. And it’s full of conditions. We create an image of what we want others to be and when they don’t live up to that image, we judge them and find them guilty. Many times we even feel ashamed of them, or annoyed by them. We lose patience and pretend kindness. All of this is rooted in fear. Fear is just terrible!
Of course, there is such a thing as healthy fear. Fear of fire, speeding cars, and wild gorillas keeps us safe. But when fear blocks our ability to live, it’s quite unhealthy.
Fear of change is another big one, and a really difficult one to overcome because the world is constantly changing. There’s no way to change or avoid that fact. The trick is not to identify with the changes, and remember you’re a human being whose very state of existence will always be flowing.
So where does all this fear come from? Often, it stems from desire. We want to be loved. We want to be happy. We want to be fulfilled. But do these basic desires, which we all share, send us down the right path? A good way to determine this is to ask yourself some simple questions in the face of your next desire:
What is it that I really need?
Why do I need to be appreciated? [and Do I appreciate myself?]
Why would I need someone’s approval?
Do I really want this?
Answering these questions honestly helps get to what really matters to you. And if you realize you don’t actually want whatever it is you thought you wanted, because you don’t need someone else to fulfill that for you, the fear of not getting it vanishes. How great is that? Imagine the relief.
A really common obstacle to this, though, is something a lot of gay men have – an insistent yearning for something “out there.” But “out there” is an illusion. It’s our ego playing a game with us: If only he loved me. If only I were more muscular. If only I had more money. If only, If only, If only. The ifonlyness can quickly go off the charts, if we let it. But if we accept ourselves, others will too.
So how do you clear your path to lasting romance of all this blocking fear? With a leaf blower full of some effective coping techniques:
• Stop viewing fear as an enemy that must be dominated. That only feeds more fear. Instead, just draw your attention to what’s arising and allow it to dissolve.
• Strive to “let it be.” The Beatles had this right. Feeling fear is a part of being human, so accept that. Some people call this making friends with fear because having awareness allows you to be open to making a shift.
• Recognize fear for what it is: the ego trying to control you and others.
• Remember that fear gets all its power from YOU. But if you can be still [let it be] and refuse to be moved [back off, Ego!] that power fades and fear goes away.
So the next time you’re faced with a fear around love, instead of running from it just stop. Do your best to reframe it using some of these techniques. I think you’ll be amazed at what you learn about yourself.