Love is Letting Go of Fear


Love Is Letting Go of Fear
We at the Post Institute decided to spend time examining the very fleeting experience of Love. Why do I say fleeting? Truth is love is not that common. To really know love, experience it, share it, sit quietly within it, is something that I believe eludes most of us most of the time. We are familiar with the all too common “I love you” and the quick “love you too” response that is more of a knee-jerk reaction than a truly heartfelt expression of what the words really mean. We all strive for it, hope to raise our children in it, and would like to be seen as very loving. In fact, in the day to day life we probably even believe that for the most part, we are loving. But let’s take a closer look, shall we?

I believe that in order to truly understand something, we can best grasp it by understanding more fully its opposite. I was twenty-seven years old before I first realized that I was fearful. Not fearful on a moment to moment basis, but fearful in a way that it was a controlling factor throughout my life. I looked back on my earliest experiences, the anxiety, the shyness, the vigilance and realized they were all rooted in fear.

I have started this year with a resolution of getting fit. The other day, as I was exercising, a flash of stress entered my body. At first, I could not place the source of my stress and anxiety. When I sat with it for a moment I realized the history of the stress trigger was in my fear of failure. You see, I played college football for a couple of years until I finally came to the realization that my dream of becoming a professional football player was more to get me to college than it was to play football. My first college football exercise was to run a mile in under twelve minutes. I was young, strong and in shape. Not really a big deal until I started running. I became filled with anxiety. I couldn’t catch my breath, my heart was beating fast, soon I started to fear that I wouldn’t make it and would have to run extra during the rest of the season. After a few laps, I noticed that several teammates had finished and being a freshman, I wasn’t particularly worried about anyone watching me, so somewhere in the mix of things I feigned completion and stopped alongside the rest of the guys. I never finished my mile; my fear got the best of me.

Such experiences were a significant part of my athletic life throughout school. Though I was by most accounts a dominant athlete, occasionally my fear would take over and I would be almost helpless. I didn’t realize this until years later while in therapy. Though the therapist was not particularly impressive, she did point out to me that I seemed to have a tremendous amount of fear. It did not become fully conscious until another year or so passed and a client asked me what I was afraid of and I was about to reply, “I’m not afraid of anything,” when suddenly it hit me like a lightning bolt, “I was afraid of everything and had been so for much of my life.” After sharing with my client the light bulb she had just turned on for me, I began another round of therapy to examine deeper the fear that I had been carrying throughout my life.

Now you might ask, “Well Post, if you are writing on love why exactly are you going into this diatribe on fear?” The point is that if you don’t know what you are afraid of, you will never become conscious of whether the place you are standing in is one of love or one of fear. It is imperative and much easier to be honest with our fear, more so than our love, because our fear is much more pervasive in our lives. Now if you find yourself taking offense to that last statement, ask yourself why? Why is it that we become immediately defensive with things we do not like, rather than just opening and accepting? It’s because of fear. We are always fearful of encountering new things. It’s actually a scientific finding that when we encounter new things we perceive them as threatening and fearful until we deem them otherwise. If we were holding a space of love we wouldn’t judge, wouldn’t become so reactive, and defensive. We might laugh in our observance of the statement, find it amusing and then move on to the rest of life. But, we don’t. Just like our children’s behaviors.

We are so fearful of our children doing wrong, we seldom see the right things they do. It is much easier to see fearful behaviors or actions because our brains are always looking for a threat, as opposed to seeing attempts to survive or to do better, or perhaps to just do as we’ve been conditioned. (Take a moment to read that last sentence again. I think there is something significant there, which probably deserves another article at some point.)

Love is simple. There have been songs, movies, poems, books, and monuments built to honor it. However, love requires none of these things. Because it just is. My most sincere suggestion regarding love is that you look closer at the roots of your fear. If you can find it, connect to it, understand it, and don’t judge it, but seek to really see it and how it plays out in your day to day experiences, you will then find the space of love. Remember love and fear cannot co-exist. Where one is the other is not. Your ability to see your fear makes it possible to then put it aside and return to love.

Renowned world over as the founder of Attitudinal Healing, Dr. Gerald Jampolsky’s book title may just say it best, Love Is Letting Go Of Fear.

– Bryan Post
“A humble seeker of love.”

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