"Afraid of Love"
On many occasions people struggling with trust in the process of finding Real Love have said to me, “I’m afraid of love.”
No. Nobody is afraid of being surrounded in the warm, soft, enriching embrace of unconditional love, but we do have fears associated with some aspects of love.
Fear of Deceit
We don’t fear being loved unconditionally, but we are terrified at the prospect of allowing ourselves to believe in such love, only to discover that it was not unconditional, that it was false.
Fear of Betrayal
We have all known the horrific feelings that result from thoroughly trusting someone—in love, in business, and more—but then being betrayed. Most of us trusted our parents and others to love us from early childhood, but that nearly always proved to be a lie—however unintentional—and so we have learned to protect ourselves from further betrayal.
Fear of the Loss of Real Love
Although most of us doubt the existence of unconditional love, we nonetheless hope for it and often engage in a desperate search for it. Once we have found it, however, we fear that somehow we will prove ourselves unworthy, or the giver will become fickle, and then that great prize which once we found will be lost. The grief would be intolerable.
Fear of the Loss of Imitation Love
In order to fully embrace Real Love, we have to give up the overwhelming distractions of Imitation Love. We can’t fully enjoy both, so before we can truly feel Real Love, we have to let go of the Imitation Love that has allowed us to survive the pain of our lives. Between the time we let go of Imitation Love and the time we find sufficient Real Love is a terrible period where we often feel like we have nothing at all—and we fear that.
Fear of the Truth
Finding Real Love requires our telling the truth about ourselves. Most of us have diligently hidden our flaws from the world for so long that the very thought of being honest is intolerable. We are so accustomed to living in the shadows that we can’t face the idea of no longer hiding who we really are.
Fear of the Requirements of Real Love
We can’t feel the full benefits of Real Love until we completely trust those who offer it to us. This faith requires a vulnerability that is terrifying to most of us. We have to give up the lifelong protecting behaviors that enabled us to survive. And in order to maintain the benefits of Real Love, we must continue with this faith, with an avoidance of Imitation Love, and with a dedication to truth. Many of us are unable to commit to these requirements.
Fear of Change
Living in a condition of receiving and giving Real Love is so different from what most of us have known all our lives that it’s like moving to another planet. Although this move gives us life, it’s also so very unfamiliar as to be nearly unthinkable.
So How Do We Overcome These Fears?
When we find and feel Real Love, we become aligned with the infinite powers of the universe. We are never alone. We have nothing to fear. We never feel worthless or small. We realize that we were never broken or defective, only distracted and distorted by pain and fear. We are never the same again. The glory and freedom of discovering who we really are is worth whatever we give up—or whatever fears we endure—to accomplish that end.