Fear will stop your love; Love will stop your fear
Posted Jul 26 2008 10:19am
“Fear will stop your love; Love will stop your fear” (Morcheeba)
This quote is so powerful and it really resonates with me, especially after the workshop (www.gettingtheloveyouwant.com) that my husband and I attended last weekend. The workshop’s basic idea? That we all long for connection, validation and understanding (”love”) but often times, in our relationships, something triggers an old fear or vulnerability. This fear, if not understood, can create distance or longing or struggle instead of connection and understanding.
However, by really truly listening to the other person, keeping our own fears aside for a minute, we promote understanding and connection (and love). And similarly, when we feel heard and understood and validated (rather than criticized, judged or ignored), we too feel safe, supported and loved (rather than afraid).
I got to thinking about how this concept applies not only to romantic relationships, but to all relationships, including our relationship to ourselves (specifically, how it applies to our relationship to food, eating and body image).
Let me explain.
Fear will stop your love.
Very often in my practice, I work with women who are struggling with food, self-esteem, and self-care. They wish they looked differently. They wish their body was different. They wish they ate better. They criticize themselves, often relentlessly. They believe they are not good enough mothers. They wonder if they are good enough friends. They berate themselves for not doing more, being more, having more.
I get it - I really do. I’ve been there, and I still am there sometimes! We worry and we wish and we wish and we worry because, very often, we are tuning into our old, unresolved thoughts - thoughts that are full of judgments, beliefs, expectations…and most of all, fears.
These fears (fear of being rejected, fear of not being good enough, fear of being seen, fear of not being seen, etc.) and the resulting criticism, judgment, negative thoughts and hurtful actions are in direct opposition to what we really need. What we really need is some variation of love: support, understanding, care, validation, empathy.
But rather than offering understanding, validation and empathy to our own struggle, we do the opposite: we stress, criticize, minimize, maximize, ignore, or berate…and very often we disconnect from ourselves and our feelings (often using food)…all of which just perpetuate the struggling. We believe that if we just lost 10 pounds, started exercising, stopped eating sugar, got thin…we would finally be HAPPY. We would finally LOVE ourselves.
Most of us do this so often, unconsciously, that we don’t even realize the power of these thoughts. But power they have. And unfortunately, not the power we want them to have.
Growth and change and health - whether individual or relational - do not happen with negativity and criticism and judgment and disconnection. Growth and change and health only happen with support and safety and love.
Love will stop your fear.
So what if we were to apply love and support and non-judgmental listening while in the midst of feeling frustrated or unhappy? (This is just what we want from our partners, right?) This would involve listening deeply to our thoughts and feelings as they arise, without judgment, and offering ourselves support and understanding. What if we were to allow our disappointments to emerge without trying so hard to change them; what if we were to allow our selves to just BE, without judging? If we allowed our HUNGERS and our CRAVINGS and our PASSIONS (for food or otherwise) to exist, to just be what they are, we could further understand them. And it is from here, this place of understanding, compassion and love, where change is possible.
Love will stop your fear. And fear will stop your love.