Love has inspired more songs, poems and stories than any other feeling, yet it is one of the most complex emotions to understand. In fact, it’s so complex that at least once in our lives we all have asked to ourselves this question: What is Love?
From a pure biological point of view, we could say that love is a survival mechanism of the species, in which dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin, oxytocin and many other hormones and neurotransmitters, play a role in bonding.
From a psychological point of view, it is the balance between intimacy, passion and compromise – according to the Triangular Theory of Love by Sternberg.
Our brain reacts according to its past experiences, the environmental circumstances of the moment, and its own chemistry, leading to an infinity of ways to love, however… what happens when fear takes place in our lives when we try to love and to be loved by someone?
First of all, it is necessary to clarify that no feeling is a bad feeling; fear is not a negative thing, it actually is a defense mechanism that helps us to prevent accidents, such as being burnt by a candle for example. Fear is necessary; therefore what we need to do is to control it.
The limbic system is the one in charge of regulating emotions, avoidance of pain and in general, all functions of conservation of the individual and species. It’s the one in charge of fear and love, altogether.
Being afraid is natural, fearing a little bit is ok; the problem lays when fear is constant in a relationship, altering not just our environment, but also our health since it is a direct impact to our limbic system and it affects not just our emotions or our relationship, it affects our bodies too. Fearing your husband may be having an affair because he came half an hour late, fearing your wife will ask for divorce because you don’t feel attractive enough, fearing your boyfriend may leave you after you decide to take that job is nothing but a lack of trust and it blocks you from your natural state of feeling love.
People tend to have a utopian point of view when it comes to love thanks to the media constantly sending wrong ideas of what love truly is to our brain. These wrong ideas lead to insecurities and false idealizations that make us fear, while in reality there is nothing to be afraid of. Maybe your husband came late because there was a lot of traffic, maybe your wife likes your belly, and maybe your boyfriend will find a way to stay in touch with you no matter the distance. In the end, not every time we fear something means that there is a problem, and if there is a problem there probably is a solution; also, if there is no solution to the problem, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world, it could be the beginning of a brand new adventure.
Relationships are always going to have ups and downs since no relationship is perfect and this is something we must understand. Perfection is not a synonym of happiness as well as imperfection is not a synonym of sadness.
Fear stops you from loving entirely, from enjoying your food, your favorite TV show; in fact, it stops you from enjoying life itself. Human beings are rational. To overcome your fears in the relationship it’s necessary to talk. If you feel there is a problem, if you feel insecure or if you just feel something isn’t right, talk about it with your partner in a calm manner when the two of you can talk about the issue alone.
Always keep in mind that you and your partner are an entire person each, and that you deserve to be entirely loved, that includes your flaws also; try to understand his/her concerns and insecurities, since your partner must have them too.
Don’t let fear take over your relationship or your life, be assertive and find ways to clarify things and keep alive the flame of love. Overcoming fears and problems could make your bond stronger and deeper, making you experience love in a healthier way.