Love Me As I Am: Basic Human Fears

Just as every human has some basic needs, every human has two simple fears that drive their needs into a hyperactive state if they’re unmet or facing some form of torment. When you access your fear response, it’s important to come to a place of balance in yourself through deep breathing, meditation or exercise – whatever makes you most calm and focused.

You’ve worked through the questions in article one and have faced squarely how you feel about your life and what your needs are.  Don’t be concerned if they are “out of order.”  If you experienced high trauma or drama in your life, you may be wired to put a need for connection higher than anything other than physiology.  You may have a strong desire for importance or for variety…especially if you are highly visual.

So what is behind all of this emotion that you have in your life?  The confusion, the feeling of lack, or even being immobilized in “non-feeling?”  Maybe you’re self medicating with an addiction to food, cigarettes, etc?

When we’re born into the human race we’re one of the few animals in the world that are entirely dependent on another human for survival.  Babies can’t live on their own.  We learn early in life that there is that risk of our own demise hinges on … love.

That’s right.

It all comes back to the moment you figured out as a kid, before you were even conscious of it, that without Mom you were in a deep heap of trouble.

Enter fear number one: that you will not be loved. 

If you are left as an infant, you will die.  That is the thought that is bred into every little baby mind, the reason that the human female was made with special hormones that make her maternal, willing to fight to stay with her little baby.  Without that concept, we’d have a lot of abandoned babies.  Your fear that you will not be loved is not just for affection, but for the threat of failure for basic physiological needs…warmth, cool, food, air, shelter, etc.  When that is threatened, you’ll feel it deeply in your soul.  I often wonder if this is the threat that unconsciously keeps abused people in a horrific relationship.  That and….

Why? Enter fear number two: that you are not enough.

You may not measure up, you hear in the back of your mind.  You’re not worthwhile you are _______. Fill in the blank.  What is that fear that haunts you?  I fear failure.  Not making a difference in the world before I lose the battle with my neurons. Not letting go of the past and pressing on to the future that God intends for me.  I fear giving my heart to anyone in any form…and with good reason.  I fear my own choices at times.  Why?  They all prove that I am not enough. Its is a common, unhealthy and unrealistic self talk.

Where in your life do those two fears drive your need to unhealthy places? Once you pair those two phrases together and you have explained why so many people languish in ho-hum lives, in stagnant relationships with “the wrong person,” and why eventually those people will try to break free of the unfulfilled life they lead in search of what fulfills them by doing something wild and out of character.

Relationships are the key area where these fears will manifest, although you also see them in every field of endeavor, from your job to your relationship with Mom and Dad.  While every parent might have concern over being a good parent, it’s the unhealthy mind who obsessively tries not to be their Mom or Dad that winds up creating the same monster in their child’s life.  How so?

Life Principal: Where your focus goes, your energy flows.

You pattern what you focus on and bring it into reality.  If your fear drives you, you will live in that fear.  You will act into it and create your own drama or blame game from it’s aftermath.  You will create positive and negative anchors that leave you feeling more conflicted and alone. Given that we know we have these two primal fears, what are we able to do about them?

First, take out a sheet of paper and make a list.  How do these fears play into your life? This is just you and I, so get real with your list and ask yourself – what am I feeling consistently?  What do I need to do/change about what I believe to accomplish the dreams I dream for my life? Here is an example from my own life: I am afraid of being unloved.  It’s hard for me (although with much less frequency) to talk honestly with my husband about the times of hardship in our marriage relationship.  We communicate very differently, as do most men and women.  We’ll talk about renewing and reigniting relationships a few articles from now, but for the moment, lets focus on communication.

I have a pattern from my early childhood of growing silent when stressed, of shutting down and not articulating how I feel.  This pattern continued into adulthood.  Now when it is important to talk with the hubster about all things Alison and really convey how I feel, I have to recognize that the tightening in the deep of my chest is….fear. Logically I know that the man I am married to loves me.  He’s proven it often enough – and reminds me all the time through his words and actions. He’s stood by me when “normal” guys would run for the hills, and forgiven me for being a fault riddled human.  We have a deep and abiding friendship that underwrites all that we love about each other.

So what drives this fear?

I fear that I may not be enough – even after a decade of living together and raising our kids.  Yep, in the end I am still the four year old girl waiting for her father to reappear in the window. Here is important note: it’s not my parent’s fault that their divorce plays through my head, for it is truly my belief that their brokenness as a couple would have been far worse to endure in person.

Life Lesson:  It is better to be from a broken home than in one; still, it’s better to learn to communicate with your significant other to learn to fulfill your own needs in contrast with making unhealthy decisions for those people you love in your life. 

Healthy is always better. Those emotions we bury alive, that we hide in our rocket like success or lose in our drama filled teen relationship to that person you married to “save you” from it all…all of those buried things are part of our unconscious subroutines that we know as “rules.”  The rules are how we have learned to play our part in the “game” of life.  You can change the game all you want – if you continue with the same rules, you will get the same results, even if you change players.

Remember, no matter where you go: YOU take YOU with you.

You can’t sell on confidence that you do not have, even if you’re good at faking it for a while.  My confidence was undermined by that second fear, the mother of all things troubling – if I don’t succeed, no one will want me.  My rules were about transactional relationships not authentic love. Transactional relationships are based on take and give as currency, not love without obligation.

A transactional relationship might work well for a person with low self esteem because it requires a tangible form of currency.  If you find yourself clinging to an unhappy union because it fulfills your need for safety, it’s doing so at the currency of happiness.  Facing your fear that you’re not enough, that you will be unloved, will free you to love the person that you’re with on a non-transactional basis – giving into the relationship instead of continually taking.

Life Principal: Relationships are where you give, not take.

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