How to be Happy by Overcoming Fear of Intimacy, III

Have you built a protective wall around your heart? Do you fear abandonment so much, or experience such fear of intimacy, that you simply can’t (or won’t) let love in?

I was thinking this morning about the last article and the expanding my threshold for intimacy exercise and it suddenly hit me. There was a time in  my life when I was too afraid of losing something (or more importantly, someone), to ever risk letting myself become even more attached. Oh my gosh! No way! I’m wearing a big smile on my face, just thinking about it.

It all seems ridiculous to me now, but I know that it’s a very real (and confining) fear. What I want for all of us is to feel free to love, to feel free of fear and to live our lives to the absolute fullest; to live to our highest potential, to experience joy, peace and contentment. EVERY day. It is possible. I’m living proof.

I still have some bad times. Personal growth is an ongoing process. What I’ve found though, is that the more I open myself up to love and say “no” to fear, the easier it becomes to do. At first it was really frightening and it took a long time to move past a bad day, or to move past hurt to peace. These days, it all flows in and out so much easier. I’m feeling less blocked to love, so any fear or hurt I experience flows in and just flows back out – like the tides of the ocean.

Sure, the walls I built around my heart kept some of the hurt at bay, but the pain I felt stuck with me; those walls are like a dam. They also kept the love at bay. Some of you may know my story – that I lost my mom as a teenager, and my dad abandoned us while she was still sick. I promised myself the night my mom passed that I’d never love anyone enough to feel hurt like that again. It took many years for me to realize that my mom simply would not have wanted me to live my life like that. I was keeping myself from experiencing pain, but more importantly, I was keeping myself from feeling love. I was living in fear of being hurt, but more importantly, I was living in fear of myself.

Life without love is empty. It’s scary and lonely. I would venture out of my shell sometimes and let someone get a little close to me, but the people I was letting in were a reflection of who I was. They couldn’t really let me into their heart either. Or perhaps I was simply projecting onto them, or teaching them to treat me that way. (Yes – I believe we teach others how to treat us – more on that in another article). Either way, what was happening was a vicious cycle of me wanting to let love in, not being able to really let it in and then building bigger walls. Because it HURT.

The day I realized my mom would be so hurt herself, watching me do this to myself, is the day I began my journey to self-discovery and freedom. Thus, I find myself here, encouraging and hopefully inspiring others to do the same. Today my heart is… probably not yet wide open, but it’s a lot more open than it used to be. I’m experiencing the love, joy and freedom I always longed for and no lingering pain. Big surprise. I would like to inspire you to do the same. I wish someone had been around to tell me, “once you open your heart, the hurt and fear flow out. Yes, it’s still there, but it doesn’t last. What lasts, is the love.”

So how about you? Do you fear letting yourself get too close to something or someone, caring too much because it will only hurt more when you lose it. Chances are, you WILL lose it at some point, especially if it’s a pet. Try opening yourself up a bit. Speaking from experience, the joy, peace and love you will feel, far outweigh the pain. The pain passes. The joy, peace and love stick with you.

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