What is the greatest enemy of love? Most people would say hate. I disagree. I think fear is the most powerful and insidious enemy of love. We think the opposite of love is hate, but there are very few people that walk around this earth with burning hatred within them. But many of us walk around with fear–crippling, heart-stopping fear.
Marianne Williamson once said “Love is what we were born with, fear is what we learn.” Truer words have never been spoken. We are each born beings of love and light, but with time, we all learn to become guarded. Fearful. Doubting. We learn self-hatred, which is really nothing more than the fear of self–the fear that we aren’t good enough, that if we show someone our true selves, they will be disgusted and turn away. Ouch. Deep down, that is what each one of us is so afraid of. Baring our souls. Being vulnerable. Saying “This is me. I am not hiding. I have no guards up, no walls or mechanisms to keep the world at a distance.”
What a terrifying notion. After all, the thing about fear is that it serves a purpose. Fear keeps us from taking risks that would harm us, such as jumping off a cliff or trusting a stranger when our gut says to run.
However, most of us suffer from an overwhelming amount of fear. There becomes a point where fear no longer serves us and instead we serve fear. We don’t smile at strangers on the street because we are worried they might not smile back. We don’t travel because we are scared to leave our comfort zone. We don’t chase our dreams because we don’t want to risk failure, or even worse, embarrassment. We try to stay small and inconspicuous.
As I wrote about in my latest book Quantum Love, I find this to be a very prevalent problem among people looking for love. If you have been hurt by a lover in the past, it can be incredibly difficult for you to allow yourself to risk that pain again. “I would rather be alone with my cats my whole life than ever face that pain again,” you might think. Or maybe you think, “What is the point in trying? All men do is lie and cheat!”
And then you shut down. You might as well have a “CLOSED” sign on your forehead. You radiate bitterness, mistrust, and anger. Instead of seeing love and possible suitors all around you, you see predators.
This can even be true if you are already in a relationship. I see so many couples who haven’t truly opened their hearts to their partners. They are too scared to. In Quantum Love, I wrote about how I had a woman admit to me: “I didn’t trust my husband for the first six years I was married to him. I smiled and played the part of a loving spouse, but in my head, I was thinking ‘This won’t last, he won’t stay with me.’ It wasn’t until he nursed me through a horrific illness that I realized he meant his vows. He was giving me his whole heart and soul, every day, and I would only give him crumbs because I was so scared of being hurt.”
Sadly, stories like this are all too familiar. The fear of emotional pain is so crippling that people would rather sacrifice everything rather than face it. But here’s the funny thing: The pain you are so afraid of (the loneliness, the emptiness, the hurt, the betrayal, etc.) is the very pain that you are living each and every day when you refuse to let love in. You are betraying yourself and your birthright–love. You are choosing isolation over connection, self-hatred over self-worth, cowardice over vulnerability.
What would the world look like if we were all brave enough to love? If we were able to look our fear in the face and say “Maybe you are right. Maybe I will get hurt. But nothing, absolutely nothing, is more painful than the prospect of a life without love.”
So here is my challenge for you: Do one thing today. big or small, to serve love today rather than fear. Maybe that means walking up to your next door neighbor and striking up a conversation. Maybe it means joining a dating site. Maybe it means smiling at every person you see. You will know best what parts of your life are most crying out for love.
Not sure you know how to get started? Go listen to my “Guided Open-Hearted Meditation.” This meditation is less than 13 minutes but it will give you all the tools you need to get started. Once finished, you can check out some of my other meditations as well.
And, as always, make sure you are checking out my radio show. My recent interview with Sandy Rueve: “The Optimistic Astrologer”is a must-listen for anyone dealing with pain, fear, and uncertainty.
Remember, love conquers fear…if only we realize the battlefields are all in our head, and the victory has already been won.