Your heart and soul have a deep desire for intimacy and love with someone, but if you are afraid, you will likely do your best to put it aside despite your best efforts. Over and over again, you find yourself stuck in the game of tug of war: “Come closer, disappear.” Why? Why be afraid of love , of getting close to something you want and yearn for so deeply?

You want to be deeply seen, understood and known. You long for the delicious pleasure of connection from the exquisite flow of love that occurs between two open hearts that are deeply joined to each other. There is nothing happier and more enlightening than intimacy, love. On the other hand, there may be nothing to fear.

The two main fears of love

Take a moment to remember, when you were growing up, the times that you felt very close to someone – a parent, a brother, a friend.

Did they do something that hurt you? Does the person you loved reject you with anger, judgment, criticism, or rejection? Did the person abandon you or die? The fear of love is not, in your heart, fear of love. It is the fear of insurmountable loss.

Was the person you loved controlling, enveloping, or suffocating? Have you had to give up on yourself to keep them?

Is your fear the fear of losing another person you love, or of losing yourself in a close relationship?

These fears are substantial enough to potentially paralyze you as soon as you experience romantic connection.

Healing the fear of love

When you were growing up, you may not have received from your parents or caregivers the role model on how to handle rejection and entrapment in a healthy and loving way. But it is never too late to learn.

If you knew that you could show yourself, now, as a strong, capable adult, would you fear love less? If you recognized yourself as an emotionally healthy person who could recover from potential rejection and loss, and set limits to avoid entrapment, would you still fear love? If you knew that you were strong enough to choose to lose a partner rather than lose yourself to him, would you fear love?

The key idea here is that fear of love is not, within your heart, fear of love . It is the fear of insurmountable loss. If you don’t believe that you are capable of recovering after the loss of a loved one, you make yourself very vulnerable to losing yourself. And that, in itself, is terrifying. Avoiding love may seem like the smartest way to minimize the risk of hurting yourself.

But when you do that, a deeper headache results. Love is one of the most beautiful experiences in life.

Being strong enough to love means becoming strong enough to lose love, and knowing that it will be okay.

6 steps to heal the fear of love

So how do you develop that strong being? How do you develop that version of yourself that knows, without question, that you are capable of surviving loss and rejection? This happens, of course, as you take steps to learn to love yourself. Here are 6 steps that can guide you through that process.

1. Be willing to feel pain and take responsibility for your feelings

All feelings are informative, letting us know if we are loving or abandoning ourselves, or if other people are being loving or controlling.

The first step is to consciously follow the breath in order to be present in your body, and compassionately embrace all feelings.

It is about moving towards your feelings instead of walking away from them with various forms of abandoning yourself, such as having a lot of mental noise, judging yourself, getting into an addiction to run away, or blaming someone else for your feelings.

2. Move to the intention of learning to lose fear of love

In an inner join, there are only two possible intentions at any one time:

  • Protect yourself against pain, avoiding taking responsibility for it through various forms of addictive and controlling behavior.
  • Get information about what you are doing or thinking that might be causing your pain – or what may be happening between you and another person or situation – so that you can move on to taking loving action on your own behalf.

3. Get information about your false beliefs

The third step is a deep and compassionate process of exploration – of learning about your beliefs and behaviors, and what happens to a person or situation that may be causing your pain.

Ask yourself in truly reflective moments: “What am I thinking or doing that is causing those painful feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, jealousy, anger, loneliness, or emptiness?” Let the answer come from within your feelings.

Once you understand what you are thinking or doing that is causing these feelings, then explore with those hurt feelings, the false fears and beliefs that lead to self-abandoning thoughts and actions.

If you feel lonely, heartbroken, or helpless over someone, ask yourself what is going on between you and another person that is causing these painful feelings.

4. Start a deep dialogue with that great being within you

It is not as difficult to connect with that great being within you as you may think. The key is to be open to learning about loving yourself. Answers can come immediately or over time. They can come in words or pictures or even in dreams. When your heart is open to learning, the answers will come.

5. Take the affective action learned in step four

You have opened up to your pain, moved into learning, started a dialogue with your feelings, and connected with the great being within you. In the fifth step, affective action is taken that over time, heals the shame, anxiety and depression that have been the result of abandoning yourself.

Sometimes people think that “loving yourself” is like a feeling that has to be evoked. A good way to look at loving yourself is by emphasizing the action, “What can I do to love myself?” instead of “How can I feel love for myself?”

6. Evaluate your action

Once the loving action is taken, check to see if the pain, anger, and shame are healing. If not, take steps back until you discover the truth and acts of love that bring you peace, joy, and a deep sense of intrinsic worth.

Over time, you will discover that loving yourself improves everything in your life – your relationships, your health and well-being, your ability to manifest your dreams, and your self-esteem. Loving and connecting with yourself is the key to being able to love and connect with others and create loving relationships without fear of intimacy.

Loving yourself is what allows you to increase your frequency and co-create with the great. Loving yourself is the key to creating a passionate, fulfilled, and joyful life.

Once you have completed this process, you will no longer be paralyzed by the fear of rejection. Love creates the emotional safety net you need to keep your heart open to love and intimacy – even when it’s scary.

When you heal your relationship with yourself and have made yourself strong enough to give and receive love, you will experience the incredible joy of fearless love.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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