Love can be terrifying.
Love isn’t just hearts, rainbows, and soft pinks and reds. It’s more like fireworks –thrilling, aggressive, surprising, and frightening. Love requires trust. It asks us to open ourselves up and become vulnerable. It necessitates giving up the control that makes us feel safe. And there is always the risk of heartbreak; when we successfully love, we have to accept the fact that we may end up getting hurt. And all that is scary.
But love wasn’t always scary – as Marianne Williamson wrote, “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.” We weren’t scared when we first learned to love a parent or childhood friend. Love is our natural state. It was only after rejection that it became tinged with fear.
Like fireworks, love is also beautiful, dazzling, and unforgettable. It is one of the greatest joys we can experience and worth the fumbles and falls along the way. The more we can give ourselves over to love without letting fear interfere, the more gloriously wondrous the fireworks display will be.
1. Just be yourself. We want to be loved for who we truly are, so start out by being yourself from the very first moment (not by being what you think the other person wants).
2. Keep yourself open. A huge part of the fear surrounding love is our uneasiness with being vulnerable; we worry we’ll look foolish or worse, get hurt. But it is only by being vulnerable that we make true connections to others. It is not only a risk worth taking – it’s crucial to forming deep bonds.
3. Talk it out. We often keep quiet because we don’t want to rock the boat or offend a partner, but communication is vital to a healthy relationship. If something’s on your mind, find a neutral moment to talk about your feelings.
4. Welcome the imperfections. Holding out for perfection is a direct path to unhappiness. It’s like waiting for a unicorn to show up in your backyard – it’s just not going to happen! Instead, try to appreciate the bumps, knowing that when you get through a rough patch together, you come out stronger on the other side.
5. Don’t be afraid of anger, but don’t act on it right away, either. Too often we worry that expressing anger to a partner will only have negative consequences. But anger is a valid emotion – it tells us volumes about a situation and our reaction to it. The key is to examine our anger, find the root cause, and express it in a way that is neither antagonistic nor apologetic.
6. Take responsibility. We are accountable for our own feelings and actions. Recognizing this restores our power and agency.
7. Love yourself first and foremost. Self-love is the first step to creating any loving relationship with someone else, be it partner, child, or friend.
For me there is no greater way to learn about myself than by being in an aligned, connected relationship with another. I see the bumps and falls and twists and turns as a gift that the Uni-verse has given me to get closer to love and farther from fear, and for that I am grateful.
Weight Release & Body Image Expert Laura Fenamore supports women around the world to love who they see in the mirror. Having overcome her own battle with addiction, obesity, and eating disorders, Laura released 100 pounds 25 years ago. She has chronicled this journey in her new book, Weightless: The Be Good To Yourself Diet. Learn more about Laura’s programs, or invite her to speak by visiting her website at OnePinky.com , her Facebook Pages and connect with Laura on Twitter.