By: Jamie Martin
We all experience it. We all can rattle off the name of our fears quickly. Afraid of heights. Afraid of spiders. Afraid of flying.
Did you know there are fears we have that we aren’t aware of?
They lurk just under the surface. Far enough below the surface to not be named, but present enough to do more damage to our lives than any other fear does. This fear is one that requires us to dig deep into our hearts and minds to get to know.
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What’s it like to live with this kind of fear?
Take me as an example. I’m very intimate with this type of fear. It’s what kept me single for most of my adult life.
During my 20s, I didn’t know it, but I was afraid of being in a relationship. I was afraid of the intimacy. Afraid of letting go of my independence. Afraid to open up to someone.
One of my dreams was to meet someone and have a family, which meant I tried everything I could. I tried online dating: eHarmony, Match.com, OkCupid. I tried a matchmaker. I tried taking classes to see who I could meet. I tried joining a running group. I accepted blind dates from people. The list goes on.
I never met anyone that stuck longer than two months. Okay. That’s generous — it was very rare it went beyond the first date.
I called my friends in frustration. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I meet someone? The answers always encouraged me to keep my head up and keep trying.
I just couldn’t meet someone I liked who liked me back.
That’s where things got interesting. I was putting the action out there, but my energy wasn’t the aligned. I was in protection mode and didn’t realize it. I was protecting myself from all the things I was afraid of about a relationship. The energy I put out ensured I never had to face those fears, by making sure I never met someone I could have a relationship with.
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Lucky for me, I was working with a counselor, who gave me the opportunity to explore deeper. We realized that I was afraid of having a relationship. I was my own roadblock to finding love. It was so far down in my being that I had no idea it was there. Once we found it, we were able to work toward allowing me to face it and release it.
Once I did, it wasn’t long before I had a relationship longer than two months, and shortly after that one I met my husband. With him, I was able to see the fear creeping up, ready to sabotage my future, and I was prepared. I knew I needed patience from my future husband and he gave it to me. His patience and my ability to face my fear head-on was what gave us the opening to build a long-term relationship.
As you can see, fear isn’t always so obvious. It can hold us back for over a decade! But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can find our hidden fears and face them.
How do you start?
First, you need to look for that thing in your life that you have been dreaming about, but no matter what you do, you can’t seem to make happen. You don’t know why, because you keep putting yourself out there.
Next, you need to ask yourself the tough questions and be willing to be honest. How does your gut react when you are honest about how things have turned out in this area? What fears are coming up as you think about it?
It’s here you want to start to explore and see what fear is hidden. Keep asking yourself, because the first and likely the second response isn’t the one you are looking for. Remember, it’s your hidden fear for a reason.
Once you find your fear, now it’s time to face it! Take on the challenge to put yourself right in the path of your fear and see what shifts in your life.
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Jamie Martin is a life and leadership coach who helps women who have been going and going and going for so long that they feel like they’ve lost themselves. She helps her clients give themselves permission to put themselves first, create a plan, and go after their dreams.
Originally published at https://www.ellevatenetwork.com.