“Our world has known too much of fear, defensiveness, and mistrust, I think we could use a healthy dose of unmitigated, mistake-making loving.”
~Gerald G. May
It is so easy to fear. It takes zero effort. Not only is it easy to slip into being afraid; it easy to slip into being afraid of everything. I can make up a hundred things I should worry about. Some of them may happen, but most are so ridiculous and far fetched that spy movies can only compete with them. Most fears are not real life.
However, real life can bring real fears. Real life can bring fears from the past into the present. If you had an alcoholic parent, you could grow up liking control. When life feels out of control, it can scare you. This isn’t today’s fear; this is yesterday’s fear. If you had a narcissistic and controlling parent when you were young, you could feel manipulated when people ask things of you. You are afraid they forget your needs. This is not today’s fear; this is yesterday’s fear. If you experienced cruelty and harshness in a friendship, you could find cruelty in the kindest of words. The pain that has marked your heart can easily be touched, even sometimes by love. This isn’t today’s fear; this is yesterday’s fear. If your husband leaves you and tells you are no long what he needs, you can stop believing in love. You stop trusting and basking in love and all its splendor. This isn’t today’s fear; this is yesterday’s fear.
And so it goes. We all have things we carry with us: past hurts, heartbreaking trauma, forgotten dreams, self-inflicted wounds from self-hate. All of this pain has been with us for so long; we can count on it. Sometimes pain and trauma can be the only consistency our heart has known. It is hard to give up on the one thing we have always known, even when it is damaging to our soul. Fear isn’t the brave emotion here, love is.
Love says that you can trust other people to be in control, and they will take care of you and have your best interest in mind. Love says you can give to others freely, and they will not take advantage of you. Love says that friends can be counted on, and their hearts will hold all the messiness of you without using it against you; or worse, leaving you because you are too much work. Love says that real men stay and fight for your love, and you can swim safely in their love without fear of abandonment.
I am sure the thought of trusting people again can bring fear right back to center. After all, this is what fear was made for; to protect us. But sometimes we need to reprogram our fears. Sometimes the life that taught us what to fear is no longer the life we are to be living. We need to be brave and do the thing that scares us most so that we can move towards love and healing. In our bravery, we must be wise and find safe people. They are out there. There are a lot of us. We also have these fears, but we have chosen love over fear. We were brave and let people in and now know how gentle we must be with others when they are brave and let us in. We don’t always do it perfectly, but we don’t ever stop trying to love better.
I know the pains of life, but I cannot live in fear of them and be completely myself. I only have one choice here. To love. Love is the bravest thing I will do today. Love can be the bravest thing you do today.
So do it.
Let others love you.
I double dog dare you.
My dear friend Lindsey is also talking about bravery today on her blog.